Crime scene camp at sheriff's office
|Mandee Allen takes a photo as Ashley Stilson holds up the ruler to give a measurement of the entrance wound on the mock victim at the crime scene.|
The Emery County Sheriff's Office held a forensics/CSI camp for area students on July 21. The camp was one in a series of camps sponsored by the education committee for the Emery County Economic Development council.
Other camps have included an archaeology camp, dino camp, paleontology camp and a theatre camp.
The CSI camp began with Capt. Kyle Ekker speaking on how to investigate crime scenes. Sgt. Norm Vuksinick, Det. Sgt. Robert Blackburn and Det. John Barnett were also involved in instructing students in investigating a crime scene from start to finish.
Emery County Sheriff LaMar Guymon spoke to the campers about a career in law enforcement and told them about the sheriff's office and how things work there.
Kyla Bunnell who graduated from Weber State University in criminology also spoke to the students about a career in forensic investigation.
Students were taught the basics of securing a crime scene and gathering evidence. The students were taught to make a plaster cast of a footprint to be entered as evidence. They sprayed the foot print with hair spray to set the print and then mixed the plaster. It is the same ingredient dentists use for impressions for dental work. The students began investigating the mock crime scene by taking photographs of the entire area and the victim. Victims should be checked first to see if they are alive or dead. The crime scene was sealed off and all unauthorized people were not allowed into the crime scene.
Deputy county attorney, Brent Langston spoke to the students and stressed the importance of keeping a crime scene clean and accurate. He said the gathering of evidence is crucial for prosecuting a case. A crime scene is kept clean by not allowing people to walk all over and damage evidence. He said it is the duty of law enforcement to preserve the evidence and find the truth about what happened at the crime scene.
"Some people think we can solve every crime, but that is not necessarily true that we can solve every case. Sometimes DNA evidence and fingerprints are hard to find at a crime scene. The county attorney's office and the sheriff's office work together on gathering the details for a case. Right now we are working on the evidence for an armed robbery," said Langston.
Det. Vuksinick said, "The officer who arrives first is in charge of the scene. They will check the victim first. They are in charge until the sergeant and detectives arrive. If evidence is contaminated then it can't be used in court."
The students kept a photo log of the crime scene and labeled and recorded all evidence. The students were also taught to make a sketch of the crime scene. Some of the evidence is put in a plastic bag, but other evidence isn't put into bags because it may damage the evidence. The students received handouts which specified how to handle and catalog all the evidence. The photographic record is very important in detailing how the crime scene appears when the first responder gets to the scene.
The students learned how to look for clues at the scene which lead to the solving of the crime or to determine if a crime has been committed. Sometimes homicides are made to look like suicides to try to cover up a crime.
Det. Sgt. Blackburn told the students about wounds. He said the entrance wound is always a smaller hole than the exit wound. He described how the wounds look can tell you a lot about the nature of the crime.
Sheriff Guymon said, "We hope this forensics camp will be an ongoing tradition. It is important to expose our young people to real life situations. It is also important to mentor young people with an interest in a career in law enforcement. That is how we will get qualified individuals to fill available positions. I don't believe there is anything better than a home-grown peace officer that understands Emery County and its people."
Those participating in the camp included: Ashley Stilson, Beverly Gilpin, Naomi Fortner, Mandee Allen, Daniel Gilpin, Wyatt Nelson, Sam Kofford and Wylie Nelson.