U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) praised a new partnership between Huntington, W. Va.-based Marshall University and a division within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that she supported to strengthen the ability to combat the opioid crisis. 

Marshall University finalized an up to $4.25 million contract with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within DHS, the senator announced on Aug. 28. The university, with help from the Marshall Digital Forensics and Information Assurance program, will develop and implement a tool to aid HSI in investigating and thwarting criminal activity related to the opioid epidemic. 

“This partnership in cybersecurity and forensics is a promising one for West Virginia as we continue working to fight the opioid epidemic, and I’m confident it will also benefit other states and communities across the country by improving our ability to monitor and interdict illicit activity on the internet,” Sen. Capito said. 

In July, Capito, who serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, toured the Marshall Forensics Lab with DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan to learn more about their partnership with local law enforcement. She also hosted a roundtable discussion with McAleenan and other federal, state, and local officials to show how West Virginia is developing innovative solutions to fight the opioid crisis. 

“I’m proud to have helped make the connections within the department and provide funding for what I hope will be a long-term partnership between Marshall and HIS,” said Sen. Capito.