FORT PIERCE — Indian River State College on Tuesday announced the establishment of the Institute for Cold Case Investigation an applied-learning initiative that gives students enrolled in its Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree program real-world experience as they work with local law enforcement agencies toward resolutions on open, unsolved criminal investigations. The Institute is the first of its kind for a college or university in Florida and the only higher-education-led cold case investigation institute in the southeastern United States.
The Institute for Cold Case Investigations is housed at the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex at the IRSC Main Campus in Fort Pierce, one of the most comprehensive, technologically advanced public safety training facilities in the nation. The initiative emerged as a result of a proposal by Dr. Kimberlie Massnick, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, who was recently named an endowed teaching chair in support of this program. Dr. Massnick holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, a Master of Human Services, and a Doctorate in Criminal Justice all from Nova Southeastern University.
“Part of preparing our students for success is giving them an opportunity to take what they learn in the classroom into real-world situations,” said Dr. Ed Massey, President of Indian River State College. “The Institute not only offers our criminal justice students a unique professional experience, and it has the potential to bring long-awaited resolutions to victim’s families in our community. It truly is an innovative applied learning program.”
With this week’s announcement, the IRSC District Board of Trustees approved an agreement between the College and the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, recognizing Martin County Sheriff’s Office as Institute for Cold Case Investigations’ first law enforcement agency partner.
“The concept of including criminal justice students into cases that have gone cold allows us to expose the investigation to a broader subset of minds,” said Sheriff William Snyder. “Often times, these cases hinge on one detail which has been overlooked, and requires that fresh perspective. This joint effort stands to benefit the students, our seasoned detectives, and the victims’ families, who have already waited, in some cases, decades for closure.”
Under the agreement, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office will provide actual cold cases, agency expertise, and opportunities for students to participate in field research and investigations, among access to other experiences and investigative techniques that allow students to actively solve local cold cases. Students will work side-by-side with law enforcement professionals such as detectives and crime scene investigators and deeply examine sections of the cold case and share knowledge regarding process, procedure and legalities of the case.
“The Institute for Cold Case Investigation provides students an experiential learning opportunity that aligns with learning outcomes,” states Dr. Massnick, IRSC Assistant Professor and ICCI founder. “We are delighted that our students can get right to work alongside the law enforcement professionals in the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and further develop their own professionalism, advance their critical thinking skills, and enhance their ability to work with diverse populations. We look forward to adding more cases, more students and additional agency partners over time.”
Indian River State College is a public, comprehensive college with a statewide and national reputation for excellence. A premier institution for higher education, IRSC is a key partner in the continuing development of Florida’s Treasure Coast region and is cited nationally as a model for innovative use of technology in education. It expects that the addition and uniqueness of the Institute for Cold Case Investigation will be a key factor in and attracting new students to its growing Criminal Justice Program and preparing graduates for future careers.
For more information about Indian River State College, its criminal justice program, or its Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Facility, visit www.irsc.edu.
This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.