ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety is partnering with Claflin University on a forensics lab that aims to solve crime. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorated this milestone on Monday.
“I’m really excited about the benefits that will be shared between Claflin University and the City of Orangeburg," said Director of Public Safety Charles Austin. "It certainly will help us because it will expedite the processing of evidence that we collect at various crime scenes, and I believe it will be as helpful with Claflin.”
The FBI-accredited facility processes evidence from crime scenes, conducts fingerprint examinations, and DNA analysis. This kind of data could help either convict or exonerate a suspect.
The facility has access to Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) which is a national database that allows analysts to compare a DNA profile to millions of others across the country.
Biotechnology students will have research opportunities and help work on mock criminal cases.
“I think this is one of the pros about being an intern here. I don’t know if you’d be as hands on in any other circumstance, but you’re really involved and hands on here, so I really like it," said forensics lab intern and Claflin University junior Nahndi Edmond.
They will work alongside other DNA analysts in the facility.
“I think we’re gonna be able to do some really good things for the community in the area and hopefully the fact that we’re local and can immediately address local cases will help us to identify subjects more quickly and get them off the street," said Forensics DNA Analyst Jennifer Clayton.
The ultimate goal is to regionalize the facility to serve all of Orangeburg County as well as Calhoun, Bamberg, and Barnwell counties.