HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Bureau of Justice Assistance gave a $1.75 million grant to Marshall University (MU) in West Virginia to create a forensic training center for digital and genetic evidence.

The Law Enforcement Training Center in Forensic Sciences (FTC) will provide free forensic science education to authorities. Specifically, the center will offer technical training for forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) cyber forensics tools.

The FTC will also function as a center for MU’s Institute for Cyber Security (ICS) and build data for forensic laboratories in Huntington and throughout the state.

Marshall says the FTC’s modern training will be an important asset as more crimes are solved through computer evidence and DNA technology. Recently in national news, both digital and genetic evidence identified Bryan Kohberger as the suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I can attest to the investigative power that digital evidence can bring to a case. It can often be the determining factor in proving someone’s guilt or innocence. As such, it’s imperative that our state and local officers be well versed in the identification, preservation, collection, and analysis of digital evidence.”

John Sammons, Associate Director for the ICS

The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s grant extends through March 2024.

The project includes partnerships with the West Virginia State Police Forensics Laboratory, Mountwest Community and Technical College (MCTC), and the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center.