Lee Institute of Forensic Science receives federal grant to support police training

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced federal funding of $120,000 that will enable the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven to provide hands-on police training focused on hate crime investigation and shootings.

April 21, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Left to right: Dr. Henry C. Lee, US Senator Richard Blumenthal and Dr. Danielle Wozniak, President and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Makayla James ’23 and her classmates in her criminal law class recently had a unique opportunity to learn more about the impact the University of New Haven is having on the law enforcement community. Specifically, they learned how a federal grant will support the development of a new immersive training opportunity.

The criminal law students and their professor, Daniel Maxwell, MPA, attended a press conference at the University’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science where U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced federal funding of $120 $000 for a new police training initiative. The grant will provide funding for the Institute to provide hands-on forensics training and workshops for state and local police.

“As a student, it was a great opportunity,” said James, a psychology student with a concentration in forensic psychology. “It will be a great way to expand trainings and relationships between the community and law enforcement.”

“Accept scientific evidence”

The grant will support the training of Connecticut police departments to investigate hate crimes and shootings. Addressing students, faculty, staff and the media, Senator Blumenthal said science plays a vital role in the investigation of such crimes.

“It’s increasingly science that leads to good law enforcement,” he said. “It’s the training in law enforcement science that will allow this great center of learning to do even more. I am thrilled that this continues to make the University of New Haven and The Lee Institute a leader in law enforcement and forensic science.

World-renowned forensic scientist Henry C. Lee, Ph.D., discussed the importance of addressing and investigating hate crimes, noting that there were thousands of reported cases across the country last year alone. He hailed states’ efforts to address it by creating laws, allocating funds and creating special task forces, calling Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s recent announcement of the creation of a task force “wonderful.” special working group on hate crimes.

“Each case is like a ticking time bomb that can explode and destroy our country,” he said. “We need workshops for this type of training. The crime scene and the physical evidence are the most important, and we need the community and the public to accept the scientific evidence.

Students from Professor Daniel Maxwell's criminal law class joined faculty, staff and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at the press conference.
Students from Professor Daniel Maxwell’s criminal law class joined faculty, staff and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at the press conference.
“It shows that people care”

Obtained through the Omnibus Appropriations Bill 2022, the grant will enable the Institute to provide training in the prevention of community conflict and hate crimes, as well as topics such as safety and the preservation of crime scene, crisis management and forensic laboratory capabilities.

“It’s good for the University of New Haven and good for the community,” said Adam Althen ’23, a criminal justice major and James’ classmate. “This will be a great opportunity for criminal justice and forensic science training. Also, I had never met Dr. Lee before, and it was inspiring to learn more about his work.

Dr. Lee said he hopes the workshops will be offered in a hybrid format so that in addition to the hands-on experiences attendees will have in person, there are opportunities for additional virtual learning. He also hopes students can observe the training, and he discussed the importance of training the next generation of law enforcement professionals.

It was a message that Rebecca Harrington ’25, also a member of the criminal law class, was thrilled to hear. A major in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology and a minor in legal studies, she was grateful for the opportunity to witness real-life crime-fighting efforts.

“It was amazing,” she said. “It has made my time at the University to meet Dr. Lee. I also hope that this training will lead to better police work. This grant is important because it is not just about words – it shows that people care. It means a lot.”

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