More than 80 business, community and law enforcement leaders in the Tampa Bay area had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get first-hand experience in working a crime scene at the National Forensic Science Technology Center’s (NFSTC) CSI Night on Thursday, January 28th.
This invitation-only event educated community leaders about NFSTC, its projects, partners, and activities while also giving them a look into the world of forensics that most people never get.
“Let’s face it, many business are heading into 2010 coming off some difficult times,” said Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “Right now, because of the emerging importance of forensics and biometrics technologies, it is just the opposite for NFSTC. We’re growing and we want to share some of the contributions we are making in the Tampa Bay business community as well as the global forensic community.”
Invited guests received their credentials, case file and evidence bag and participated in interactive activities giving them a rare opportunity to see how the real forensic professionals work. Each learning center debunked a commonly-held myth about an area of forensic science, including:
- DNA collection
- Crime Scenes
- Digital evidence
- National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs.gov)
“With the popularity of shows like CSI and all its progeny, there is an increased awareness and interest in the world of forensics,” said Lothridge. “What better way to show the community how we influence this industry than to let them see and experience it first-hand.”
NFSTC, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, was founded in 1995 with one staff person, $1500 and a charge to ‘do good things’ for the industry. The organization has grown to (an estimated) $13.1 million in annual sales in 2009 with nearly 50 employees who provide assessments, technology transition, training and support for the justice, forensic and military communities. The organization manages the Forensic Technologies Center of Excellence, directing special projects and support for forensic science conferences and Technical Working Groups. NFSTC receives funding through grants, 15 cooperative agreements with the National Institute of Justice, and contract services, always with the goal to ensure quality forensic services nationwide.