Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has added new state-of-the art electronic equipment to its criminal justice forensics lab, exposing students to the top-notch tools and giving Pitt-Bradford more opportunities to provide training for professional law enforcement.
“This lab will advance the criminal justice program to heights that have never been seen,” said Dr. Tony Gaskew, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the program.
Several new pieces of advanced forensic equipment have been added to the lab: a Deployable Device Seizure, a Police Body Camera with GPS, a CYCLOPS Imager, a Forensic Digital Optical Video Magnifier, a Video-Based Optical Comparator, a CSI Metal Detector, a Forensic Alternative Light Source Detection Kit, and a new KRIMESITE Imager.
The Deployable Device Seizure can access all information kept on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. About the size of an iPad, it can be connected to a phone or laptop, break passwords and conduct logical as well as physical data acquisitions, dumping the contents of the other device onto itself. Things that students might find in doing a download from one of the planted dummy phones or laptops used in the lab include incoming or outgoing calls, emails or text messages, photos and a record of what websites have been searched. Gaskew used it in teaching a new special topics course this spring, Investigating Cyber Child Predators.
While they’re conducting their investigation, students can use another piece of new equipment for the program, a body camera like those being used in an increasing number of police departments. The police body camera has video, audio, digital camera, infrared nighttime and GPS integration capabilities. The body camera will be worn by students responding to crime scenes, allowing Gaskew to expand his mock crime scene and on-site performance evaluations from the campus’s Crime Scene Investigation House to any location on campus, day or night. “This is a tremendous tool for training students to become first-responders managing violent and complex crime scenes,” Gaskew said.
A third item, the Cyclops Imager is a hands-free RUVIS Imaging System specifically designed to search large areas within a crime scene for latent impression and biological evidence. The Forensic Digital Optical Video Magnifier and the Video-Based Optical Comparator will allow students to conduct laboratory-grade examinations and comparative analysis on a variety of forensic-related items, and digitally record and download their findings on a computer.
The CSI Metal Detector is an all-terrain, both ground and water, electronic device used to detect, pinpoint, and discriminate from a wide body of metals including guns, shell casings, knives, or any metallic object that might be part of a crime scene investigation.
The Forensic Alternative Light Source Detection Kit is a handheld device that will allow students in the field or in a laboratory setting the ability to search for microparticle, physiological, or impression evidence such as hairs, fibers, bite marks, patent and latent fingerprints, certain narcotics and drugs, and physiological fluids (semen, saliva, etc.).
The final piece of new equipment is the KRIMESITE KSS60. This Reflective Ultra Violet Imaging System is one of the most advanced and integral pieces of equipment for any crime scene investigator today, Gaskew said. This equipment will not only allow students an enhanced ability to search and locate a variety of forensic impression and biological evidence at the scene of a crime, day or night, but will also simultaneously provide them the ability to record and digitally preserve the items to maintain the chain-of-custody.
“You’re not going to find other college programs with this type equipment,” Gaskew said, adding that an increasing number of criminal justice students are looking beyond local law enforcement to state or federal agencies where such equipment is more likely to be made available.
Students will not be the only ones benefitting from the university’s investment. Local state and federal agents also use resources at the Crime Scene Investigations House and Criminal Forensics Lab, primarily in training exercises.
Pictured, Matt Bedekovich, a criminal justice major from Monaca, uses a new KRIMESITE Imager to find fingerprints on a glass jar in the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s forensics lab. The KRIMESITE Imager is just one of the state-of-the-art devices recently acquired by the criminal justice program.