Kids take over CSI

Published 7:41 pm Monday, August 16, 2010

A crime scene in the parking lot of the Health and Human Services Building was a flurry of activity last week.

Investigators Kendall Hicks and Meagan Patterson were measuring the distance between pieces of evidence near a recovered stolen vehicle. Michael Cook carefully photographed each discarded cigarette butt nearby. Skyla Williamson sketched the entire scene, while Christy Jordan took careful notes on what each of her teammates was doing.

Later, Jabren Barclift gingerly lifted each piece of evidence into a labeled envelope, under team leader Tommy Lowry’s watchful eye.

Email newsletter signup

Watching Jabren’s methodical changing of gloves between each piece of evidence, Skyla became increasingly concerned with the environmental effect of all those rubber gloves going into the landfill. Forensic technician Bert Nurney, however, explained it was necessary to prevent cross-contamination.

Nurney, a member of the Suffolk Police crime scene investigation team, was teaching the seven 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds how he does his job. The children were among 19 students in the city’s Junior CSI Camp last week.

“I decided I wanted to do something for the youth in the city,” said Joan Jones, crime scene unit supervisor. The camp, now in its fifth year, was her idea.

“I just wanted to show them what real CSI is, because a lot of them think what they see on TV is cool and cute,” she continued. “So far, it’s been successful.”

During the recent three-day camp, students spent a day and a half learning how to secure a crime scene, sketch and measure evidence, lift fingerprints, make shoe and tire impressions and more.

Kendall Hicks, 13, said she wanted to come to the camp “so I can learn how CSI people do this kind of stuff and solve cases.”

After their classroom training, the 19 campers got to go into the field, splitting into three groups to investigate a recovered stolen vehicle and other crime scenes.

Most called the mock crime scenes their favorite part of the camp, and several also said they were interested in law enforcement as a potential career.

“I would like to serve my community where I live when I grow up,” Skyla, 13, said.

Christy Jordan, also 13, echoed Skyla’s sentiments.

“I always had an interest and wanted to go to school for criminal justice,” she said.

Tommy Lowry, 13, said he knows forensics on television is not the real deal. He wanted to know how it’s really done.

“I watch the TV show ‘CSI,’” he said. “I just wanted to learn how they really do the real thing.”