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PSU NEWS: University, KBI to Partner on Regional Crime Center and Lab

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By Pittsburg State University

 

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University will partner with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to create a state-of-the-art regional crime center and laboratory that would serve law enforcement and at the same time provide educational opportunities for the next generation of forensic scientists and criminal justice professionals. 

The KBI’s current regional office, located on North Broadway in Pittsburg, opened in 1999 in a rented property built in the 1950s. 

“The Bureau has faced numerous challenges in its current location and must transition to a reliable facility that will address our current and future needs,” said KBI Director Tony Mattivi. 

“Our goal is to not only meet the requirements of the KBI, but also fulfill needs of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in the region. We also hope this facility will encourage additional interested students to pursue criminal justice careers.” 

Enter Pitt State. 

Modeling the success the KBI has had in Topeka by co-locating their facility with criminal justice and science classrooms at Washburn University, the goal of the KBI and Pitt State is to create a new facility to help battle the fentanyl epidemic, violent crime, and the explosion of internet crimes against children. 

The facility, still in the planning and funding stages, is targeted for the Pittsburg Research Park just off of South Rouse Avenue. The area already houses research and testing laboratories for PSU and is a short drive from the main campus.  

It would offer space for the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pittsburg Police Department, the Office of the Kansas Attorney General, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Pittsburg State University Police Department. 

The new facility would house KBI agents, an evidence control center where regional law enforcement can submit and return evidence, a drug chemistry section, and a child victims unit.  

It would include secure evidence space, a garage for collecting evidence from automobiles connected to criminal cases, an indoor shooting range, a state-of-the-art training room, classroom space, collaboration space, a crime scene simulation for students, and a secure space for classified or law enforcement sensitive matters. 

The university will expand its education offerings in the Criminal Justice field with the expected goal of doubling the number of graduates. 

The estimated cost is $40 million, which would be provided from a mix of state and federal funds. The timeline calls for groundbreaking in January 2025, and completion in July 2026. 

But before a long-term solution can be reached, the Bureau needs a short-term solution.  

Until that facility can be completed, KBI and Pitt State will work together to create a temporary space for the KBI in the Tyler Research Center, home to the National Institute for Materials Advancement, which is located on South Rouse near the targeted site for the crime center’s future home. 

Modifications have begun on the temporary space with an anticipated move-in next Spring. 

Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Howard Smith is excited about what it will mean for students. 

“It will provide great opportunities for our students to be able to learn from real-life scenarios, and we’re really appreciative of the fact that the KBI is interested in working with us,” he said.