Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: University of Central Oklahoma's Forensic Science Institute

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: University of Central Oklahoma's Forensic Science Institute

Article excerpt

The sun gleaming through the bank of windows behind him, University of Central Oklahoma President Roger Webb temporarily donned a pair of shades in keeping with Hollywood's portrayal of the suddenly cool world of forensic science.

It was a lighthearted gesture that brought a laugh from a normally somber set of judges, law officers and lawmakers who gathered Thursday to celebrate the pride and promise of UCO's new, $12 million 35,000-square-foot Forensic Science Institute.

"Days like this when we can commemorate a dream becoming a reality are very special to me," Webb said, sans shades.

Once a lawman, Webb said his respect for both the justice and law enforcement communities led him on a long quest to assemble the best faculty and the best forensic science program in the United States.

"The idea came from understanding that scientific evidence is so critical in understanding right from wrong and is such a critically important aid to law enforcement officers," Webb said. "That's why it has haunted me that we couldn't provide this kind of training in the state."

Webb now has a new facility, which is conveniently located across the street from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center on E. Second Street, and a faculty that has more than 200 years of forensic science experience.

He said the combination will help push UCO to the top in forensic science education and training.

Funded by a higher education bond issue, the state-of-the-art facility features a 165-seat auditorium, four classrooms, an evidence recovery training bay and the AT&T Digital Evidence and Cyber-Security Laboratory, which features $1 million in sophisticated crime-solving equipment.

The classrooms feature user-friendly podiums for instructors, movable tables, white board walls, ELMO document cameras and smart technology.

The cyber-security lab will harness the expertise of OSBI experts and local law enforcement personnel, as well as faculty, and the evidence bay will provide students with hands-on crime scene preservation training. …

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