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Criminal justice students gain critical experience in mock crime scene

Posted: Jan 15, 2013

Crime Scene
Detectives from the Bourbonnais police department gave students hands-on training and advice for investigating a crime scene.
Students walked into a familiar room, but saw unfamiliar events unfolding before them. What appeared to be a murder was, in fact, a mock crime scene laid out for students majoring in criminal justice.

They worked side-by-side with the Bourbonnais police department and learned more about their future role in this field. Junior Brad Palmer, criminal justice major, helped formulate the idea.

“My professor was looking to have a mock crime scene for the crime procedures class. She asked my class if we were willing to set up the crime scene,” Palmer said.

With the help of Palmer and his peers, the event proved to be not only a beneficial learning experience for students, but also a way for the criminal justice department and Bourbonnais Police Department to connect.

“It was great for the criminal justice department and Bourbonnais police department to come together,” Palmer said.

Students were led through the general crime scene procedures by going to different learning stations. Working together with seasoned detectives and a police chief, they learned how to better connect with witnesses, evaluate crime scene photography, lift fingerprints and make use of DNA evidence.

Director of Public Safety Roger Newsome also contributed his knowledge and experience to the events. After graduating from Olivet, Newsome started as a patrol officer with the Pontiac, Ill., police department and then advanced to sergeant, and later to commander, after working with the investigations division. In 2005, he became chief of police, supervising 22 sworn full-time and four civilian employees.

The experience of Newsome and the Bourbonnais police gave students legitimate hands-on experience, prior to graduation. Sophomore Taihla Eddins saw it as a great opportunity.

“If you’re thinking about police work or investigative work, you don’t have to wait until senior year to do something like this,” Eddins said.