Together with the Attorney General, Texas State University tackles cold cases

Students have the rare opportunity to gain insight into the field of criminal investigations by assisting in the resolution of unresolved cases through a groundbreaking program at Texas State University. The Criminal Justice program at the university is poised to merge theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience in an effort to rehabilitate decades-long unsolved crimes, in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.

Cold cases are those in which, despite investigators’ best efforts, the offense remains unresolved for more than three years. In the hope that new information or technology will result in an innovation, these cases are periodically reevaluated. Texas poses a significant challenge and provides an optimal learning environment for criminal justice students, given its inventory of more than 20,000 cold case homicides.

This partnership provides students with a chance to gain practical experience and offer novel insights into stalled cases, according to Attorney General Ken Paxton, who instituted the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit in 2021. This endeavor is consistent with the broadening utilization of emerging forensic technologies and investigative methodologies, which have reignited widespread curiosity in unsolved criminal cases.

Particular candidates will be granted academic credit and be immersed directly in ongoing investigations during a two-semester internship beginning in the autumn of 2024. By exposing them to the complexities of criminal investigations in a practical setting, this method is anticipated to be extraordinarily beneficial for students.

This new partnership will likely contribute to the enhancement of Texas State University’s already-prominent Criminal Justice program’s standing. Contingent on its efficacy at Texas State, the initiative may potentially extend to additional academic establishments. Particularly in complex disciplines such as forensic science and law enforcement, such expansions might revolutionize the way in which academic institutions serve the public.

This exceptional scholarly undertaking highlights a substantial paradigm shift in the manner in which public service and higher education can converge, providing concrete advantages for both students and the community. In addition to utilizing their knowledge, these pupils bring finality to the lives of families who have awaited answers for decades as they assist investigators in resolving cases that have long baffled them.

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Should the Texas State program demonstrate efficacy, it has the potential to establish a precedent for other Texas and international universities, thereby fostering substantial progress in the resolution of unsolved cases by utilizing the inquisitive thoughts and renewed perspectives of criminal justice students.

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