Gulfport Police Raise The Bar

If you walk into Forensics at the Gulfport Police Department, you'll find highly trained officers working to solve crimes. Officers like Lieutenant George Chaix.

"Our primary responsibility is both processing the crime scenes and maintaining an identification bureau," says Chaix.

Lieutenant Chaix has been with Gulfport Police since 1994. He recently completed ten weeks of training at the National Forensic Academy in Knoxville. It's training that will allow him to bring a new level of expertise to the department.

"Management has identified a need to further our crime scene investigation skills. If you look at TV, you see shows like CSI and they solve a crime in an hour with all sorts of technology. Juries want to see that too. Juries want to see: Are we collecting physical evidence? Are we making matches with physical evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, trace fibers, so management has identified that,' Chaix said.

Only 60 officers from around the country are selected for the program, but Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford is pushing to get the same training for his entire forensics team.

"You have one chance to get that piece of evidence and we owe it to our citizens and we owe it to our victims to get it right," Weatherford said.

Along with a new building, Gulfport Police will also get new technology to improve its Forensics Department. Chief Weatherford says the department is also increasing its forensic department. The department just hired two new employees from the University of Southern Mississippi, and both have degrees in forensic science.