U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced $120,000 in federal funding that will enable the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven to provide hands-on police training focusing on investigating hate crimes and shootings.
April 21, 2022
Makayla James ’23 and her classmates in her criminal law class recently had a unique opportunity to learn about the impact that the University of New Haven is having on the law enforcement community. Specifically, they learned about how a federal grant will support the development of an immersive new training opportunity.
The criminal law students and their professor, Daniel Maxwell, MPA, attended a press conference at the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University during which U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced $120,000 in federal funding for a new police training initiative. The grant will provide funding for the Institute to offer hands-on forensics training and workshops for state and local police.
“As a student, this was a great opportunity,” said James, a psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology. “This will be a great way to expand the trainings and the relationships between the community and law enforcement.”
'Accept scientific evidence'
The grant will support training for Connecticut police departments to investigate hate crimes and shootings. Speaking to students, faculty, staff, and the media, Sen. Blumenthal said that science plays a critical role in investigating such crimes.
“It is science, more and more, that drives good law enforcement,” he said. “It’s training in the science of law enforcement that will enable this great learning center to do even more. I’m pleased this will continue 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 cases reported nationwide last year alone. He praised states’ efforts to address them by creating laws, allocating funding, and creating special task forces, calling Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s recent announcement of the creation of a special hate crime task force “wonderful.”
“Each case is like a time bomb that can explode and destroy our country,” he said. “We need workshops for this type of training. Crime scene and physical evidence are most important, and we need the community and the public to accept scientific evidence.”
'It shows that people care'
Secured through the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, the grant will enable the Institute to offer training on the prevention of community conflict and hate crimes, as well as topics such as crime scene security and preservation, crisis management, and forensic lab capabilities.
“This is good for the University of New Haven and for the community,” said Adam Althen ’23, a criminal justice major and James’s classmate. “This will be a great opportunity for criminal justice and forensic science training. Also, I’d never met Dr. Lee before this, and it was inspirational to learn more about his work.”
Dr. Lee said he hopes there will be opportunities for the workshops to be offered in a hybrid format so that, in addition to the hands-on experiences that participants will have in person, there will be opportunities for additional virtual learning. He also hopes students will be able observe the training, and he discussed the importance of training the next generation of law enforcement professionals.
This was a message that Rebecca Harrington ’25, also a member of the criminal law class, was excited to hear. A psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology and a minor in legal studies, she was grateful for the opportunity to witness real-world efforts to combatting crime.
“This was amazing,” she said. “It made my time at the University to meet Dr. Lee. I also hope this training leads to better policework. This grant is important because it isn’t just talk – it shows that people care. It means a lot.”