- Associated Press - Saturday, April 19, 2014

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - In a dark hallway on the University of Colorado campus, Boulder Police Detective Jack Gardner described the circumstances of a homicide to a group of students.

Though he spoke very seriously, Gardner was describing a fictional homicide for students in the Criminology Buffs club. The students were split into three teams tasked with correctly and accurately collecting evidence from the staged scene as part of a crime scene investigation competition earlier this week.

Inside classroom 2 in Guggenheim Geography, the fictitious murderer had scattered evidence everywhere. He or she had left blood on the floor and on several pieces of paper around the room, overturned desks and left half-eaten fruit on several chairs.

Graduate student Amanda Shigihara, who also helped coordinate the CSI competition, volunteered to act as the victim of the crime, even going so far as to smear on fake blood.

Criminology Buffs started in the fall of 2012 to give students a chance to learn more about the world of criminal justice, juvenile criminal justice, the prison system and career paths in law enforcement, said sociology researcher Sarah Goodrum, who’s a faculty adviser for the group along with associate professor Hillary Potter.

Part of the goal of the 32-member club, Goodrum said, is to dispel some of the myths created by television shows and movies about crime scene investigations and law enforcement careers.

“It’s meant to be serious and to give them real-life understanding of the criminal legal system and how details are so important to the resolution of a case,” Goodrum said.

Sophomore Ali Wasserman is a member of the club and is considering a career in the criminal justice system, perhaps as a police officer or on the legal side.

During the CSI competition, Wasserman looked through the 186-page investigation handbook given to the members of the club and said she appreciates the club’s attention to the real details of crime scene investigations.

“People are more exposed to what we see on ‘Criminal Minds’ and on ‘CSI,’” she said. “And it’s not exactly how it is. It would have been really easy for (the organizers) to set up the yellow tape and be like, ‘Who dunnit?’”

The club also fills a void at CU, which does not have a specific criminal justice major or department. Many students major in sociology or psychology, two subjects that include the study of crime, deviant behaviors, drug policy, the minds of criminals and other relevant topics.

This month, the club is hosting two panels on criminal justice careers. Guest speakers include detectives, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation official, a probation case manager, juvenile justice officials and others.

“Part of what we try to do as a group, too, is give students exposure to people who are working in the field, to help them for opportunities for internships, to learn about what they’d be getting into in the field and to give them some real-life insight into what it’s going to actually be like for them if they were to pursue this as a possible profession,” Goodrum said.


Information from: Daily Camera, https://www.dailycamera.com/

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide