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Two Florida leaders in CSI-style forensic training join forces

At the National Forensic Science Technology Center in Largo, students from the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement practice photographing footprints. The NFSTC is merging with Florida International University's International Forensic Research Institute, the organizations announced Thursday. [Courtesy of NFSTC]
Published Oct. 6, 2017

LARGO — A 22-year-old non-profit specializing in forensic training "CSI"-style for law enforcement and military customers is partnering with a major South Florida university well established in forensics education.

Largo's National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) and Florida International University (FIU) announced Thursday they are joining forces to make a bigger impact in the field of forensic science. The partnership will expand the university's diverse offerings and bring NFSTC's wealth of training skills to a broader audience in this country and abroad.

The union brings NFSTC under the larger FIU umbrella. The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, should bring more resources and possibly more related forensic science jobs to Tampa Bay. And it will establish Florida International's footprint in this metro area.

"NFSTC has a vision to bring quality forensic services from the crime scene through to the courtroom. We have trained hundreds of professionals in the skills needed to provide these services," stated longtime NFSTC CEO Kevin Lothridge. "We are looking forward to working even more closely with FIU's International Forensic Research Institute to elevate education and practice worldwide."

gt;PAST COVERAGE: http://web.tampabay.com/news/business/national-forensic-science-technology-center-in-largo-serves-growing-need/1163253.

With about 50 employees, NFSTC — whose slogan is "science serving justice" — will remain in Largo at 8285 Bryan Dairy Road, where it operates state-of-the-art laboratories and training facilities.

For FIU provost and executive vice president Kenneth G. Furton, he sees rich and practical rewards for both sides of the new partnership. "Industry-university collaborations are crucial for the 21st century," stated Furton, an analytical chemist who founded the International Forensic Research Institute 20 years ago.

"Forensic science is a discipline that has real world implications and applications," he said. "Together, we not only have an opportunity to broaden NFSTC's services globally, but now our faculty and students will work with NFSTC and their partners to get their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace."

Details of the union are expected to be finalized by the end of 2017.

Contact Robert Trigauxc at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

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