Suited with protective gear and gloves, forensics students at WVU tech were at Word Park in Beckley before sunrise — putting their investigative skills to the test.
Sgt. Morgan Bragg with Beckley PD said, “We are actively participating in this mock crime scene for the students. We feel like it’s an opportunity for them to learn. It’s also an opportunity for us to help them through this process.”
Beckley police officers created the mock crime scene for the students. It was all designed to look and feel like a real murder scene. Students were put into groups, like a forensics team, and were tasked to collect evidence.
Sophomore forensics student, Cameron Davis, said, “We’re going through the whole process of how we would process a scene and as of right now this is the most accurate scene so far. We were told to be here at 4 a.m. as we can’t really pick what time to be here.”
Students worked the scene starting with a walk through, sketching, searching, photographing and documenting. They also interviewed Beckley police officers who were acting as first responders and witnesses.
“I think having the police here really just adds a seriousness to it,” said Davis. “It gets your blood pumping and really makes you feel like you’re doing it.”
Their professor, Roger Jefferys said this exercise gets them out of their comfort zone. He said working outside in a public space at 4 a.m. is a lot more challenging than working in their mock crime scene house.
“They’re going to first have to talk to first responders such as police officers, paramedics and the fire department to get the initial information that’s going to give them a context of the scene,” Jefferys said.
He said students will be evaluated on scene documentation and how they handle themselves in the field.
Bragg said overall, he was impressed.
“They’re being very thorough, they’re taking a very cautious approach to this,” said Bragg. “I’ve been listening to some of their conversations, they’ve done a really good job with planning and strategizing so that they are not missing anything.”
Next week, the students will present their findings in a mock trial where they will be cross examined.