West Virginia University’s Forensic Science Initiative, the research effort of the university’s forensic program, is hosting two national meetings in Morgantown this week for professionals in the field that employs high-tech sleuthing techniques to solve old-fashioned crimes.

Forensic science uses everything from dusting for fingerprints to DNA analysis to reconstruct the events at a crime scene.

A business committee from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors is working here this week to plan two international meetings in 2004 and 2005 for the organization of crime lab directors from across the United States and 18 countries.

Faculty from WVU ’s College and Business and Economics are also sitting in to help the organization with long-term business planning, budgeting and other goals.

“This is the start of a very productive relationship,”Forensic Initiative Director Max Houck said.

Chairing the meeting is ASCLD president Dr. Roger Kahn, Deputy Superintendent for the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and Indentification.

Kahn agreed with Houck, and said he appreciated WVU ’s efforts in the process.

“The expertise of WVU ’s College of Business and Economics will be crucial to the planning of our annual meeting,”Kahn said.

While that committee completes its work, a second group from International Association for Indentification is also meeting in Morgantown with WVU forensic professionals to harmonize their national certifications in the field.

IAI has 5,600 members from 70 countries, and offers six certifications in fingerprinting, crime scene investigation and blood stain pattern analysis.

“IAI is very grateful to WVU for the opportunity to meet in Morgantown and to continue to build the relationship we have had with WVU ,”said Joe Polski, the organization’s chief operations officer.”The work we’re doing here improves the quality of our certification programs and is vitally important to the quality of forensic science.”

Hosting two high-profile meetings in the same week, Houck said, delivers a verdict of credibility for WVU and its role in the forensic sciences.

The university’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is one of WVU ’s fastest-growing degree programs. It coordinates its activities with the Forensic Science Initiative.

The Initiative is housed in the WVU Research Office and is funded by federal monies procured for the project by ranking U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. Funds for the operation are administered by the National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Department of Justice.