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At CSI Camp, kids look for clues

Thu Jul 31, 2008, 05:49 PM EDT

Ipswich -
Recently, a group of youths crossed the yellow tape at crime scenes to experience what it's like to be a detective.
It was part of the week-long crime scene investigation, or CSI, program put on by the Ipswich Police Department in partnership with the Recreation Department. During the course of the program, the 10 participants got an overview of the Police Department, instructions on crime scene investigation and an introduction to the court system.
Campers learned about the many pieces of equipment used by the officers and even had a chance to run radar on one of the town's streets.
Several of the department's officers gave lessons on techniques used during the course of an investigation. Students learned how to collect fingerprints, analyze handwriting, interview witnesses, sketch suspects, execute search warrants and how to preserve and photograph a crime scene.
Campers were later given a chance to test out their new crime solving skills. Two groups worked on different mock crime scenes. The participants had to act as detectives, investigate the crime scene and collect all evidence. They then had to review the evidence and locate their suspect.
At the end, they produced a police report documenting the crime scene, the techniques they used, evidence they collected and who they believed committed the crimes. The suspects for the crimes were volunteers from the Council on Aging and employees from the Town Hall who supplied fingerprints, handwriting samples and other evidence for the mock crime scenes.
On the last day of CSI Camp, the group went to the Ipswich District Court. They witnessed actual court proceedings, were given a tour of the courthouse and an overview of how the court system works. And, they were addressed by Judge Alan Swan, who explained his role in the criminal justice process and explained the proceedings they observed in the courtroom. The group was then given an opportunity to act as prosecutors and present their cases from the mock crime scenes to the judge.
The program was coordinated by the Ipswich Police Department's Community Resource Unit as a part of their continued commitment to the youth of Ipswich.

Photo by Courtesy of Ipswich Polcie Department
Detective Michael Thomas shows a camper how to dust for fingerprints during the Recreation Department's CSI program.
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