Forensics camp signups open

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Local students will have the chance to learn about forensic science and how it is used in the courtroom during the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s fifth annual Forensics Camp this summer.

“From an educational standpoint, it’s a very positive experience for these kids,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson.

The free camp for students ages 12 to 15 is happening June 20-24. Close to half of 50 the spots are already filled, and the others are expected to fill up by the end of the week. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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“TV kind of glorifies CSI,” said Joan Jones, community outreach coordinator in Ferguson’s office and a former crime scene technician for the Suffolk Police Department. “They can learn what forensics really are. They can learn a little bit about the law, but also science.”

Students in the camp will learn about the basics of forensic science, hear from prosecutors about how they use forensic evidence in trials, and investigate their own mock crime scenes — a burglary, a robbery, an assault and a recovered stolen vehicle.

Students will learn about the different jobs involved in forensics, from collecting evidence at the crime scene to testing it in the laboratory to using it in the courtroom, Jones said.

“It allows them to be educated on a topic they may or may not get in the school system itself,” Ferguson said. “It gets them thinking about what they want to do.”

Students whose parents give permission will also be fingerprinted by the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office Child ID program.

“Those fingerprints will be given to the parents to keep in a safe place,” Jones said.

This year, young people who have been through the program in past years are volunteering to help lead the students in the mock crime scenes, Ferguson said. They will receive credit for their community service toward their graduation requirement, he added.

Ferguson said all of the staff involved in the camp volunteer their time.

“The educational part makes it more than worthwhile,” he said.

The flier and application can be downloaded from Once downloaded and completed, the application can be emailed to, mailed to 150 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434 or faxed to 514-4400.