Recent Graduate’s Innovative Research Helps Develop Police K9 Training Program

Through her work with the Connecticut State Police K9 Training Unit, Meredith Narowski ’18, ’20 MS helped create a groundbreaking training program that can help police train dogs to detect used firearms and casings. His work has now been shared with forensic science professionals around the world.

July 31, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Meredith Narowski and Tessie, a K9 explosives detector with the Connecticut State Police.

During an internship with the Connecticut State Police Last summer, Meredith Narowski ’18, ’20 MS focused on the K9 Training Unit, studying how police canines learn. She attended a variety of canine training sessions, including arson investigation, search and rescue, and narcotics detection, learning the process of dog footprinting.

Since firearms are implicated in so many crimes, the Connecticut State Police also wanted to be able to train dogs to detect firearms and bullet residue after a shot was fired. Narowski focused his research on developing a new protocol for training police dogs to do just that. His goal was to determine which post-discharge organic compounds should be chosen for training dogs.

“I think this research will have a huge impact on canine training,” said Narowski, who recently earned his master’s degree in forensic technology. “These dogs will assist in the search and discovery of gunshot and firearm residue, and they can help solve cases and locate suspects. This research can also be used as the basis for further canine training that could use organic compounds.

Narowski studied the organic compounds found in gunshot residue, including those that are unique to gunshot residue when matched. She determined the vapor pressure of each compound, noting which ones would provide a higher scent profile. Since dogs are trained to detect specific scents, the higher the vapor pressure, the stronger the scent and the better for training.

“I learned so many things from this research project, but one of the most important things was how unique each gunshot residue sample is,” she said. “Each type of gunpowder that can be used in firearms will produce different organic compound profiles of gunshot residue after the gun is fired, and that’s really fascinating.”

“This research is crucial”
Meredith Narowski '18, '20 MS
Meredith Narowski ’18, ’20 MS

Professor Lisa Dadio MS, MSW, coordinator of the University’s master’s degree in forensic technology program and internship advisor to Narowski, said that when the first class of gunshot detection dogs graduated from the Connecticut State Police Training Unit last October opened the door to other agencies. train police dogs to detect bullet residue.

“This search is crucial to the work of law enforcement, as it allows police dogs and their handlers to locate evidence related to violent crimes involving a firearm that may go unnoticed by the eye. naked,” Professor Dadio said, are tired New Haven Police Department Lt. “The work done by Meredith and the Connecticut State Troopers can be shared with other agencies across the country. It was amazing work by a dedicated and hardworking student. The energy, passion and dedication that Meredith put into this project was inspiring.

The first class of four dogs that graduated last fall are now working in the field, and Connecticut State Police say the training program is the first of its kind in New England. Dogs can detect and alert their handlers to spent firearms and casings.

Brooke Kammrath, Ph.D., D-ABC, associate professor of forensic science, served as Narowski’s research advisor. She says Narowski’s research has already had a significant impact in the field.

“Meredith’s internship focused on the development of a science-based protocol for training police dogs to detect firearms before and after discharge, which has already been successfully implemented to train several classes of K9,” said Dr. Kammrath, who also served as deputy director of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Sciences. “Meredith exceeded all expectations for this internship, not only with her hard work and intelligence, but also with her enthusiasm and the positivity she brings to every effort.”

Book published by Meredith Narowski
Meredith Narowski’s work was published in a recent publication IDentification News by the International Association for Identification.

Narowski’s work has now been published and shared with forensic professionals around the world. His research poster was published in a recent International Association for Identification Publication Identification News, which is sent to members of the forensic association.

“I was so excited,” Narowski said. “I think the project is groundbreaking in the field of dog training, and that means the research has not only been noticed by IAI editors, but now it can also be noticed by a whole community of people. in the field of forensic science. I was truly honored.

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