It’s finally here! Crime Scene. Our crews have been waiting a while for a real investigation. Most crews thought forensics is all about crime scene when we first started Summer Explore. As we’ve taken a forensic journey together, all along the way some of our crews have thought forensics is boring since we started with “lab” experiences. From fingerprints to drug analysis. From pattern evidence to blood. From DNA analysis to bones. Everything sounds very academic, but without these “lab” experiences, forensics could have never been complete.
Early in the morning, Jacki our program manager and I started setting up the crime scene at the parking lot by the playground. We had two damaged cars ready to be searched with all sorts of evidence inside two cars plus fingerprints all over. Around 9:20am, our forensic crews started coming in but they had not noticed anything yet. We spent the morning session reviewing what we’ve done past two weeks and going over our kit box. I first had gloves on my both hands and asked the crews, “Why do you think the gloves are most important above all?” “We don’t want to leave our own fingerprints,” said Oliver. “If you do, then you become a suspect,” added Dakari on what Oliver has said. “Yes. You don’t want to be either a suspect or the killer,” I explained.
Almost time to investigate the scene!
It was over 90 degree outside, but the humid day didn’t stop us searching through the evidence. Ms. Lisa joined us again to help give us instructions on how to investigate the crime scene. Before everyone would go into search, we would first need four people—a local police, a narrative-recorder, and two photographers. The police officer Zion claims the crime scene line with the yellow crime scene tape so no one would be allowed to step in without permission. Our amazing writer Jocelyn is the narrative recorder who goes into the crime scene first before everyone else and documents general view of the crime scene. Darius and Tanaya, the photographers who document the evidence with camera before collected. For the first 10-15 minutes, only these people were allowed in the scene. Once these people were done, Lisa called everyone to collect all the evidence into a brown bag and guided them how to document each evidence on the bag. Oliver and Dakari were very excited lifting each and every fingerprint from both cars.
For nearly an hour, our crews have investigated the scene. The collected evidence, bagged it, and documented all of the observations they made. For the next couple days, the students had the opportunity to put together a timeline of what had happened to create the scene they observed. Using information from the CPD (or so the students thought), they decided who their suspects list included, and put in information requests for test results and forensic evidence to further their analysis. They even had the opportunity to lift fingerprints from some of the evidence found in the cars at the crime scene, with the help of Mr. Pete Hill, who returned on Friday!
Our forensic investigators also received some professional help in their analysis activities. On Thursday, two Special Agents from the FBI Evidence Recovery Team joined us to speak with the students. They shared their experiences with the team and how they go about doing their work at real crime scenes. The Special Agents even helped the students to better understand how long all the tests, analysis, and results actually take. Many of the students were surprised, since most of what they know of forensic analysis comes from 40-minute television shows!
Here’s some pictures of this week’s experience!