Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crime Scene School gets down and dirty to prepare students for real-world crime scenes


Class is in session at the Kansas City Police Academy, and the final exam is to analyze a bloody murder scene.

Instructors from KCPD’s Regional Crime Lab are teaching 17 students from law enforcement agencies across Kansas and Missouri to process crime scenes, so even if they don’t have their own CSI team, they can still knowledgeably and thoroughly gather and analyze evidence. Students will have to analyze mock crime scenes complete with blood (real human blood from the Community Blood Center that had expired), bodies, fingerprints and more.

“The whole goal behind the school is to get outlying agencies to feel more comfortable processing their own crime scenes,” said Ashley Vogelaar, a KCPD Crime Scene Technician and course instructor.

The students are primarily detectives from other police agencies and two new KCPD Crime Lab employees who are going to the school as part of their training. The teachers are KCPD Crime Lab scientists and crime scene investigators. The three-week class includes two weeks in the classroom and one week of hands-on work. Topics that are covered include: digital crime scene photography; crime scene processing; evidence identification, collection and preservation; report writing; diagramming; courtroom testimony; bloodstain pattern recognition and documentation; DNA capabilities; shooting reconstruction; crime scene management; latent fingerprint processing; firearms and toolmark identification; and footwear and tire track impression evidence.

KCPD’s Crime Lab has taught the course for more than a decade, and in so doing, have equipped police across the Kansas City area and around the Midwest to effectively process crime scenes.

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