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Forensic camp good investment

Editorial

Exposing youngsters to a variety of different careers, including those that often fly under the radar, is a good strategy to ensure they dream big when it comes to their future.

Naturally, children are wont to consider as a possibility only those careers they can see around them — teachers, firefighters and the like — or the “shoot-for-the-stars” careers like professional athletes or astronauts.

But if they learn early on about the wide variety of careers available — these days, anything is a possibility, and new careers are coming into existence constantly due to changing technology and culture — then they have wider horizons when they look at what lies ahead.

Many children and teens know about what police officers do, and, thanks to many television shows, they know about the crime scene technicians and scientists who work behind the scenes to help solve crimes.

But these shows do not portray the stark reality of these careers, and that’s one of the reasons the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s forensics camp is an important outreach that the office has conducted for five years now.

Students heard from experienced crime scene experts on how they preserve crime scenes through photography, note-taking, sketching, collection of physical evidence and more. They heard from prosecutors specializing in robbery, assault and burglary on how forensics can make or break a case.

On the fourth day of the weeklong camp, the students put their newfound knowledge to work by investigating one of several mock crime scenes. They took photographs and notes, measured, sketched, collected and analyzed the evidence.

The camp exposed the campers to the realities of forensic evidence. It doesn’t solve a crime in a 60-minute time slot. Sometimes, it doesn’t solve a crime at all. Sometimes, there’s simply no forensic evidence to be had. Lawyers and witnesses don’t talk in the courtroom in real life like the dramatic, witty banter on television.

These are all good things for young teens to know as they prepare for adulthood, including a possible career in law enforcement.

We appreciate the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and others who participated who gave their time to encourage these youngsters. The investment will pay dividends down the road.