LARGO, Fla. - Many of us are fascinated by shows like CSI and Law and Order, but did you know there’s a forensic center in Largo developing new techniques to find DNA left at crime scenes?
The National Forensic Science Technology Center is now helping crack cases across the globe.
Thursday, 14 crime scene investigators from across Central America looked for clues at a mock crime scene, dusted for the tiniest trace of a fingerprint on a golf ball and used paint to pick up a DNA sample off a piece of tape.
The investigators are from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. They're spending several weeks in Largo at NFSTC learning how to solve crimes in a state-of-the-art lab with high tech equipment. They'll take the skills they learn back to their home countries.
A $1.5 million federal grant from the Department of State: Bureau of International Narcotics is paying for the CSI teams to train here in Florida.
The goal is to combat international narcotics and crime together. The better the teams in Central America are trained, the more they can work with United States investigators to solve crime.
The CSI leaders are also taking high tech equipment back with them to their home countries.
Romeo Riverol, a CSI technician from Belize is grateful for the opportunity. “I feel very happy to get this opportunity to be here in the U.S. to learn so I can apply more of the techniques being used here,” he explained with a smile.
Riverol has solved plenty of cases, put dozens behind bars, but never with state of the art equipment and training like he's getting now.
“I can’t wait to go back to my country and show my colleges these new techniques,” Riverol added.
Largo is now in the international spotlight. The National Forensic Science Technology Center is helping investigators across the globe solve even the toughest crimes.
Dave Sylvester, NFSTC'S Chief Projects Officer explained, “As we say this is science serving justice.”
The goal is to get these investigators up to speed to help combat international narcotics and crime together.
“I think it goes without saying that we all want to feel safe. It’s no different in Belize, Costa Rica or El Salvador than it is here in the United States,” Sylvester added.
The forensic science center is also finding new ways to analyze DNA evidence quicker, catching suspects in record time and keeping your family safe, as well as Riverol’s 3,000 miles away.
Are you interested in CSI? You can check out these classes online here.