CSI campers get hand-on with solving cases

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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Summer campers were on the case and learning how to solve crimes last week as Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney offered her second year of the Forensics/CSI Camp for Kids.

The four-day camp offered children a chance to learn more about the field of crime scene investigation, often referred to as CSI, from Commonwealth’s Attorney Narendra R. Pleas, her office’s Community Outreach Coordinator Joan Turner and various law officials. Campers received instruction on how to sketch, take photos and observe evidence in mock crime scenes.

The four-day program ended with graduation Friday, June 23 at the city’s social services offices where campers received their diplomas.

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CSI campers Shane O’Neal, Jeremy Draper and Javontae Copeland shared some of their experiences from the camp. 

Copeland said that his mom had him attend last year and since it was fun he came back for another year. When asked if this year was just as fun, he responded with a simple “yes.”

The campers said they came away with education from the program.

Draper said he wants to be a police officer when he grows up, while O’Neal dreams  of becoming a U.S. Marshal.

Kendall Selby her love for forensic science brought her to CSI Camp. 

Selby said her uncle works with CSI, which is what got her interested in the field.

She chuckled when adding that when she grows up that she wants to be “a CSI.”

Suffolk Police Department Forensic Tech Julie Vevers participated with the program as an instructor. 

She explained that the entire week was teaching the youngsters to take photos, sketch, take notes and measurements in criminal investigations. 

Ending the camp with the graduation ceremony, Turner said she hopes that they learned a lot in this class.

“This was a really good class,” she said. “They were a great group, they were awesome.”

Turner said she hopes the students learned that CSI on television is different from real life, pointing out that there is “a lot of paperwork.” Likewise, she believes the camp provides a safe format for the children to learn about the field before deciding to select it as an adult.

“We hope that this camp has provided a safe way to explore your career,” Turner said.

Kendall’s mother Bettina Selby, of Suffolk, said with her daughter’s interest in the field that they’ve been waiting all year to take part in the camp again.

“She always had an interest in CSI, and this drove it home,” Selby said.

She said she is happy to see her daughter doing what she loves.

“The way she could speak about her case, the details that she has, it was just neat,” Selby said. “I was very proud.”

Suffolk resident Tonya Baker praised Turner for her continued work with the community and her love for this camp.

“I have two older kids that’ve been through this camp,” Baker said. “This is a great camp and a great opportunity for kids and teenagers.”