Editor’s note: Mayor Patrice Douglas writes an occasional column for the Edmond/State section. Thirty years ago, criminal cases did not have DNA evidence.
You never saw it on Perry Mason. Ballistic evidence and fingerprinting were state-of-the-art, and hair evidence was cutting-edge. Not anymore. Science has changed the world of criminology, and has changed the way we teach forensics. Now, Edmond is on the cutting edge. We are known nationwide as a hub for forensic science. Accidental or intentional? Very intentional. And like a complicated crime scene, the puzzle has to be put in place one piece at a time. As the first element, we looked at what resources Edmond held. The University of Central Oklahoma was Oklahoma’s top university in the degree field of forensic science. Under the dynamic leadership of university President Roger Webb, we knew a partnership was possible. Next was the collaboration between the city of Edmond, the state of Oklahoma, local and state law enforcement, and the federal government to fund the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Edmond. With the redevelopment of this land, located very intentionally across the street from UCO, the 86,000-square foot OSBI lab became the catalyst for the next piece of the crime-solving puzzle: the Forensic Science Institute. Front and center, next to the main entrance of UCO’s campus, the new 30,000-square foot Forensic Science Institute is home to some of the brightest minds in forensics. Led by Dwight Adams, formerly of the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., experts are brought to the institute to research cutting-edge methods and technology, and to teach forensic science. The synergy of the two is apparent. The OSBI laboratory holds the technology for analysis of crime scenes, blood, ballistics, and much more.