Without a doubt, science and technology have transformed law enforcement and criminal investigations over the last century; however, against a backdrop of an ever-changing world filled with increasingly complex threats, society has placed demands on law enforcement and the criminal justice system to continue to advance in unprecedented ways. The solution requires collaboration and continuing research to develop new and improved methods, fill gaps in industry knowledge, skills, and capabilities, and revolutionize training for practitioners in forensics, security, and tactics.

Florida’s Forensic Institute for Research, Security, and Tactics (F1RST) represents such a collaboration – a partnership between academia, practitioners, and the private-sector to develop a state-of-the-art research enterprise that will inform, innovate, and offer cutting-edge training. Through F1RST, our mission is to empower leaders around the world with the knowledge necessary to ensure safer communities by transforming public safety through research, education, and innovation.

To accomplish this, we’ve created a network of sites, containing both indoor and outdoor research and training facilities. The first site, located in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, contains the Thomas Varnadoe Forensics Center for Research and Education, two outdoor forensic anthropology fields for research and mock training, and an intelligence center that will be the hub for the innovation, evaluation, and promotion of new methods to assist with impacting crime, enhancing response to manmade and natural disasters, and ensuring safer communities. The Land O’ Lakes site is also home to the Helen A. Rich K9 Training and Research Campus centered on advancing the field of working dogs in public safety, a hangar for the research, development, testing and evaluation of unmanned systems, as well as a leadership training center to focus on refining and revolutionizing the skills, tactics, and capabilities of first responders across the country. Lastly, the site supports a cyber research and education facility to continue to prepare leaders for responding to threats in a digital world.

A collaboration between academia and practitioners to develop a state-of-the-art research center that informs, innovates, and offers the most cutting-edge training in forensics, security, and tactics.

The second site is located nearby in Spring Hill, Florida and contains an outdoor shooting range, sniper tower, shoot house, leadership reaction course (LRC) and obstacle course.