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Free Forensics Camp accepting students

The Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s eighth annual Forensics Camp will be held in June for free, and local families that want fascinating, hands-on learning for their students this summer need to apply as soon as possible.

The summer class will be held from June 17-21 for students ages 12 to 15. These sessions will be held each day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Human and Health Services building, 135 Hall Ave.

The class will be limited to 50 students to make sure that each child has an opportunity to participate in the hands-on lessons, Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson said. There are already 10 students registered as of Wednesday, and the camp typically fills up fast each year.

“They should not wait to sign up if they want to attend,” Ferguson said.

Students will learn the realities of forensic science used in crime scene investigations and hear from prosecutors about how that forensic evidence is used in trials. Guest instructors will include Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Shia, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Carmen Cabrero and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Vaughn Breedlove.

Students will put what they’ve learned to the test by investigating their own mock crime scenes. Their measurements, observations and other critical-thinking exercises at these scenes also coincide with the “STEM” subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — according to Community Outreach Coordinator Joan Turner.

Ferguson said it’s a great educational opportunity that has inspired future careers for students.

“We’ve had young people who have attended this and thought that they would like to use these skills for either a career in law enforcement or as a prosecutor,” he said.

Students that have taken the class often come back as assistants to earn up to 20 hours of community service towards high school graduation. Older students can do the same this year to earn nearly half of the community service hours they need to graduate, as long as they’ve completed the program first.

“We want them to know what this program is about,” Ferguson said, “that way they can help the younger students.”

The time is now for those that are seriously interested in signing up for this program, he said.

“We take applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, so if someone is interested in signing up, they need to contact Joan and sign up,” he said.

There is no fee to attend the camp. The flier and application can be downloaded from suffolkva.us/228/Forensics-Camp.

Completed applications can be emailed to jrturner@suffolkva.us or mailed to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney at the Godwin Courts Building, 150 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434, with attention to Joan R. Turner.

Visit suffolkva.us/204/Commonwealths-Attorney or call Turner at 514-4379 for more information.