Forensic science graduate student collaborates with VCU Police

May 18, 2022

VCU Forensic Science Master's student, Jamie Zaleta, was interested in undertaking research on fingerprint development, which is the use of chemicals to find unseen (latent) fingerprints on different surfaces. During the summer and fall semesters of 2021, Zaleta visited with VCU Police Sgt. David Nigro, a firearms instructor. Nigro would hold each unfired cartridge before loading it into the firearm, then fire them so they could be collected. “For consistency, the same person’s fingerprints must be used during the loading process and the same firearm must be used,” Nigro said. 

Zaleta’s project advisor, Stephanie Walcott, is an instructor in the Department of Forensic Science. She said VCU Police staff have generously shared their resources to help enrich forensic firearms analysis graduate and undergraduate courses. “Providing my students with a safe and controlled environment for their research efforts has been not only valuable to our department but also critical for maintaining the scientific integrity of these projects,” Walcott said. 

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