A camper studying forensic science with a camera and blood spatter

Campers Learn Crime Scene Investigation Skills

Dusty shoeprints decorate the floor. Pieces of paper with blood splatters are taped to walls and other surfaces. Chairs lie toppled on the floors. These are all elements of mock crime scenes staged on the final day of CSI Camp, held June 26-28, 2012, on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

Thirty-four sixth through ninth graders registered for the first-ever CSI Camp, offered by Precollegiate Programs, a department within University Outreach. Campers gained hands-on experience with crime scene investigation and spent three days with professionals in the field, gathering the full perspective of what being an investigator is really like. Tiffany Smith, who teaches police science and CSI courses at OSU-OKC, and Elizabeth Schroeder, the forensic technician for the Norman Police Department, served as instructors.

Campers learned skills such as interpreting blood stains, drawing sketches, taking field notes and analyzing fingerprints and shoeprints, among others. Based on questions they asked, Smith said it seems the participants learned a lot during camp.

“We did everything in small pieces before we put the whole thing together,” Smith said of the mock crime scene exercise held on Thursday.

Photo by Chelsey Kraft

Ashlie Blanton, who lives in Norman and is entering the 8th grade at Noble Public Schools, said her favorite part of camp was getting her own fingerprints off a piece of glass. For the crime scene exercise, Blanton took notes for her group, logging information about the evidence.

“We are looking at a crime scene like you would if you did work for CSI. You take notes, swab the blood, get fingerprints, take pictures, stuff like that,” Blanton said.

Since she is interested in forensic science and CSI, Sierra Brown, 8th grader at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond, attended the camp. She enjoyed testing the Bluestar, which is a chemical that will turn blue when it detects blood.

Wyatt Ables said he came to camp because he likes the TV show CSI and is interested in science. The 7th grader from Locus Grove said he most enjoyed casting a footprint at camp.

The CSI Camp program is a collaboration with the Norman Police Department and OSU-OKC. Precollegiate Programs, a department within University Outreach, reaches 5,000 youth each year with its array of academic enrichment and leadership programs. For more information about opportunities through Precollegiate Programs, visit youth.ou.edu.

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