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CSI partners with Cold Case Investigative Research Institute

Helen Johnson

Students in FSU Panama City’s crime scene investigation program will begin to collaborate with over 600 forensic professionals and 5,000 students to examine cold cases through a new partnership with the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI).  Students have previously worked with the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) and program administrators joined CCIRI in April, allowing students to further assist more families and law enforcement with crimes that are still unsolved pending the discovery of new evidence.

“We consider cold case work a vital component to our experiential learning program,” said Charla Perdue, faculty advisor for the FSU CCIRI chapter. “Our students have really gotten excited knowing they have a real impact in a case. It is a driving force that is lacking in a mock scenario.”

“The CCIRI is honored to have Charla Perdue and the CSI students at Florida State University Panama City join our institute,” said program founder Sheryl McCollum. “The level of expertise has been raised. Their willingness to investigate cold cases is a game changer and will no doubt help families and law enforcement gain answers and solvability factors.”

The CSI major, which is part of the public safety and security program within FSU’s College of Applied Studies, includes coursework and labs that include forensic methodology for pursuing crime scenes in active or cold cases. CCIRI will offer students access to a network of industry professionals whose passion to solve the unsolved will help strengthen these investigative concepts to aid case resolution.

“Through the cold case process, real-world experience is gained, students have the opportunity to work a case from start to finish, call on experts in specific forensic disciplines, request newer forensic testing or even do their own crime scene reconstruction to determine if the theory of the case is supported by the facts in evidence,” Perdue said.

The Bachelor of Science in Crime Scene Investigation began in fall 2015 with seven students. The program currently has 56 students enrolled. Authentic case work experience has helped graduates find careers in law enforcement organizations such as the Panama City Beach Police Department, Bay County Sherriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Department of Juvenile Justice. 

An undergraduate degree in public safety and security offers broad preparation for positions in law enforcement agencies, crime laboratories, medical examiner’s offices, public and private security, Department of Homeland Security agencies, the intelligence services, community and residential corrections, court services, probation and parole, and may serve as a foundation for law school or graduate school.