Forensic research enhanced
The newly opened Roger Lewis and Michael Liddy Forensic Crime Scene Training Centre will have a prominent role to play in Deakin’s research activities, as well as for undergraduate teaching.
“It will play a huge part in research collaborations between Deakin University and the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department,” said Dr Xavier Conlan, who is one of the forensic program leaders and a talented researcher in his own right.
“Projects will be developed in replicated crime scenes and will address real world problems faced by a forensic analysis such as blood pattern analysis, entomology, finger print (enhancement and collection), DNA (aging and contamination) and analysis of tool marks.”
The Forensic Crime Scene Training Centre is situated on Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus - an inconspicuous building set to be the site of some grisly scenes.
The building has been converted into a purpose-built facility to provide both Deakin’s forensic science students and its researchers with a real-life experience of working a crime scene.
The facility includes a kitchen, lounge room and bedroom with a bathroom to be fitted shortly.
All all ready to be staged with the gruesome elements forensic investigators are confronted with, from body fluids and blood to finger prints and fibres and weapons.
“With this new facility we will add a dose of reality,” said Dr Conlan.
“We have the flexibility to stage a wide range of crime scenes such as a clandestine drug lab or fatal stabbing.
“Working the scenarios will provide a holistic experience of what is involved in working a crime scene from the correct way to identify, collect and store evidence, to in the lab analysis and presenting the evidence in court.
“As well as research projects and undergraduate training, the facility will also be used as part of our secondary student outreach program, the Forensic Detective.”
Guests at the recent opening of the facility were welcomed by a homicide scene that involved a clandestine drug laboratory.
The scene had been processed by the ‘investigators’ and gave the visitors a real feel for the atmosphere in a gruesome forensic crime scene.
The facility has been named The Roger Lewis and Michael Liddy Forensic Crime Scene Training Centre, in recognition of two people who have been instrumental in the establishment and running of the program.
Lt Col Roger Lewis (OBE) has developed the legal aspect of the program offering up his expertise as a barrister in the British army with a rank of lieutenant colonel.
After many years with the Victoria Police Forensic Services Mr Michael Liddy brought his extensive expertise as a forensic chemist which added greatly to the scientific program.
Deakin’s forensic science program is offered at the University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus and equips graduates for a wide range of careers in areas such as forensics, insurance investigation, risk analysis, research science, government institutions and within chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries.
“Our program is well respected within the forensic science community and our undergraduate students have opportunities to mix with real world forensic practitioners,” said Dr Michelle Harvey, a forensic program leader.
“We train the ultimate problem solvers. They leave us with outstanding analytical skills making them extremely sought after by employers."