Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A future crime scene team to watch for

A future crime scene team to watch for, A class of criminal justice students gathered together on Monday at Volunteer State to discuss blood, stomach contents, and latent prints – the usual CJ topics. It was part of a presentation to an established and esteemed crowd, to include the Director of TBI, a Metro Police Department Captain, and Tennessee State University and Volunteer State Community College directors, deans, educators, and staff.

It was a project of the Police Administration and Criminalistics Investigation classes of the TSU 2 + 2 program at Vol State. The students created, processed, and worked a mock crime scene. Their work and findings was the subject of Monday’s presentation, along with a luncheon, called “Deadly Education: Crime Scene Investigation in Higher Learning.”

Using actual forensics, police reports, and equipment, the students “submitted” paperwork, photographed and bagged evidence, lifted latent prints, and interviewed “witnesses” and “suspects.” Professor Richard Jackson explained, “They put it all together and just dragged me along.” The students, he said proudly, “Are geniuses at work.”

The impressive slideshow presented the crime scene, from first responders work to evidence collection, lab results, and the outcome of the case. TSU Junior Jordan Moura loved the class. “All of us putting together work as a team, maintaining professionalism, and an academic presentation as a result” made the assignment “fun and educational.”

Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Director Mark Gwyn commented afterward, “This is very encouraging. I admire these young people. TV shows are now making it harder to convict because a jury expects more” based on what they see on the shows. Gwyn stressed correct crime scene investigation is vital to gaining convictions and assisting victim’s families. He was “very, very impressed” by the presentation.

Moura and fellow classmates Casey Dunnam, 
Kinsey Gregory, Ashley Hart, Helen McBride, Karen Piper, Will Replogle, and Holly Taylor each presented on the case: the crime scene, evidence collection and processing, and the political and departmental challenges they faced (their “victim” was a college professor married to a judge). A bulletin board featured crime scene photographs, a complete report was generated, and a crime scene search – a – word and gift was given to all attendees. “We learned a lot,” the students agreed; “it was a lot of fun!” Ashley Hart ensured the slide show was educational and entertaining. “I worked for two hours on one slide alone,” she explained.

Judging by the presentation and the audience reviews, Moura, Dunnam, Gregory, Hart, McBride, Piper, Replogle, and Taylor will, one day, be adding titles such as “Officer” or “Investigator” to their names. You will read about them as they solve crimes, bring offenders to justice, and assist victim’s families. With this education and experience, they will have an advantage in this profession. They certainly have the heart.

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