Law Enforcement Connects to Growing Forensic Pathology Programs at State Universities


Universities across the state are increasingly interested in forensic science, often referred to as “CSI effect, by offering expanded programs in these areas.

University programs are uniquely positioned to provide strong candidates for jobs to often understaffed law enforcement agencies as science helps solve crimes.

The growing popularity of these programs brought soldiers from the state of West Virginia and a forensic instructor from the state police academy to Concord University in Athens on Tuesday.

Jessica lilly

The West Virginia State Police Crime Scene Mobile Unit was available for visits in Athens on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

The soldiers offered tours of the State Police’s Crime Scene Mobile Unit and chatted with students taking a criminology course. State police officers have explained that a good avenue for crime scene investigations is to join their ranks in law enforcement after graduation.

Inside, officers stood in front of a flat-screen TV that displayed a crime scene as they spoke with students.

Many of the students came from Concord’s criminology program.

“He’s in this house, dead on the sidewalk, shot six times,” said Dave Castle, forensic instructor and state police crime scene coordinator.

Castle is also an instructor in the Forensic Science program at Marshall University, and he said it was important to engage the next generation. Marshall’s program recently achieved the nation’s highest collective score on the forensic science assessment test.

“People love it mainly because of TV, but when they get involved in it and see that there is science behind it, and that they can back up conclusions with science, a lot of people don’t care but a lot more people are thinking, ‘this is for me,’ Castle said.

Castle has been investigating crime scenes, mostly murders, for over 30 years. He takes work as the mission of his life.

“I don’t know what else I would do,” Castle said. “It’s just my identity. This is who I am. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I don’t lose sleep over the things I have to see and do,” he added. “For me, this is a problem that needs to be resolved. And I might be able to help solve it, maybe not, but I will do my best. I really just want to help the surviving family members.

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Jessica lilly

State Police Forensic Instructor and Crime Scene Coordinator Dave Castle (left) and a West Virginia State Soldier spoke with Concord students about the scene investigations crime.

Castle is working with the State Police to obtain accreditation for crime scene investigations from the American National Standards Institute ANAB.

He said the standards would create a new level of consistency and credibility across the state, where forensic programs continue to be in high demand. These include the University of West Virginia, where bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are offered in the field, and Fairmont State University.

While at Concord, Castle also demonstrated a system called Faro, a crime scene tool that uses millions of data to create a 3D image. It can reveal evidence that was initially invisible.

“There may be some evidence that you didn’t notice,” Castle said, “while you were actually there on the stage that you see later in the footage from Faro. It’s very detailed.


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