Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility
STAFS is a state-of-the-art research, education, and training facility designed to advance academic and technical knowledge in the application of forensic science disciplines to crime scenes and criminal activities. STAFS’ predominant focus of study is the application of forensic sciences to the human body and the vast amount of evidence that can be gleaned from the careful recognition, collection, and preservation of that evidence. Bodies donated to the STAFS facility are a valuable component of our research. The skeleton of each donation is also very valuable and is permanently accessioned to the STAFS Donated Skeletal Collection for further research, education, and training by investigators, students, law enforcement officials and forensic practitioners
"Finis coronat opus"
This Latin phrase means "the end crowns the work." But what does this really mean? At STAFS, the crown is the manifestation of what one did in life, activities that are recorded on the physical body. It may be an illness like tuberculosis, that can leave lesions on the skeleton, or a broken collarbone from playing high school football. At the end of life our experience is crowned, in a sense, on our physical bodies.
As scientists we examine the end product, the crown, of that individual’s life and we can obtain some very useful information. This research can help identify a "Jane or John Doe" brought to a medical examiner's office, or unknown victims of genocide. These individuals were valued and loved by people at some point in their life and every attempt should be made to identify them and return them to their loved ones. We can become better at doing this by continual research and training.
Criminals also may leave a crown or evidence of their crime through the exchange of some type of matter with the victim, such as DNA, fibers, or deliberate markings (a gunshot or stab wound). Research can help us better identify those clues to bring the criminal to justice.
At STAFS, the crown of one's life, the human body, is highly valued and is treated with dignity and respect. These crowns of a human life are essential to the continual development of advanced techniques in forensic science and without them our work cannot be completed. The Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility is dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge in forensic science, anthropology, biology, geology, chemistry, and criminal justice. Our commitment to humanity and to victims without a voice is to continue our research, hone our skills, and perfect our knowledge so the crown of our work may bring a voice, a comfort, or peace to others.