Date: July 19, 2007
Contact: Lindsay Gladstone
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, July 19, 2007 – The popularity of the CSI television shows highlights the immense fascination that forensics, the gathering and analysis of evidence, has for the general public. To see a crime solved by a fingerprint, a single strand of hair, or the imprint of a shoe may stretch credibility in the average viewer, but not to a forensic expert.
Governors State University’s recently established Center for Law Enforcement Technology Collaboration (CLETC) will offer a new course in forensic photography during the upcoming Fall 2007 trimester. The course will focus on the importance of collecting photographic evidence correctly and effectively from a crime scene.
“Forensic photography is a tool in forensic science aiding in investigation and prosecution,” explained Tim Eley, the course instructor. Eley, a former FBI special investigator, was trained by the Bureau as a member of the Evidence Response Team in Chicago for more than 10 years.
In the new course, students will learn how to take photographs and how to testify about what the photographs show in court.
“The integrity of the photograph is very important,” Eley added. “Crime scene photographers do not interpret evidence. They establish its validity. They must be able to say this is the way the evidence was found, that it was not doctored or manipulated.”
Hands-on coursework will cover several facets including different types of crime scene photography and the correct way to document photographs. Students will learn how to correctly use the camera equipment, provided by CLETC. They will practice night photography and take photographs of latent fingerprints, footprints, and tire impressions. A field trip to the morgue will enable students to learn how to photograph the different stages of an autopsy and victims of violent crimes. Guest lecturers will discuss additional evidence gathering techniques, interview techniques, and profiling. A mock trial will give students the opportunity to learn how to testify.
“Our goal is to generate student proficiency so they have the skills to take photographs and testify three years later to their validity in court,” said Eley. “I will impress upon them that the integrity of their work and testimony are primary.”
Cheryl Chamberlain, Coordinator of the Kankakee Sexual Assault Multi-Disciplinary Team, notes that professionals responding to instances of sexual assault need forensic photography skills. “A nurse or physician well trained in collection and documentation of forensic evidence will aid the victim in physical and emotional healing by responding to the victim in a less traumatic way. They will also be better prepared to testify in court on behalf of that victim.”
According to Dr. James “Chip” Coldren, Criminal Justice Program Coordinator and Co-Director of the CLETC, “The forensic photography course is only one new component of the degree and certificate programs offered in criminal justice, computer science, and related programs at Governors State University,” he said. “CLETC integrates computer science and criminal justice in response to growing need for training and research regarding crime scene and computer forensics.”
For more information about this course and related programs, call (708) 534-4010 or visit www.govst.edu/cas.