June 5, 2006

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William King
William King (left) demonstrates crime-scene processing to Trinidadian detectives

BGSU forensics expert helps Trinidad and Tobago police force

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has seen a frightening jump in homicides over the last five years. In response, the government has turned to a team of crime experts from American universities to help address the problem and transform the police service.

Dr. William King, criminal justice, is the forensics expert on a roughly 20-member team coordinated through George Mason University that comprises specialists in guns, gangs, drugs, crime mapping and community relations.

Trinidad and Tobago is home to about 1.3 million people. “In 1999, there were about 100 homicides a year in Trinidad and Tobago,” King said. “In 2005, there were 386.” The situation has overwhelmed the police, who do not have the management structure or the training necessary to deal with the resulting volume of investigation and crime-scene processing.

“The police have been very receptive to our help,” he said. King began his work in October with two weeks of training homicide investigators. “We’ve noticed that the quality of their homicide investigations has improved with only a little bit of training,” he said.

Now spending about one week of every three in Trinidad, King’s approach has been two-pronged.

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