TROY — Troy teens teamed up with Troy Police Department to learn the cutting-edge scientific methods along with some tried and true police work this week during the department’s first-ever CSI Camp.
Approximately 20 students signed up to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Troy Police Department investigates and solves a variety of crimes this week.
Mali Hewitt, a sixth grade student, said she wanted to participate in the camp because she enjoys TV shows like “CSI” and mysteries. She said the camp is perfect anyone who enjoys a good mystery or likes watching true crime TV shows.
“I’ve always wanted to be a detective and solve mysteries and stuff. I heard about this camp and thought this would be perfect. I get to learn how to be a detective and learn how to solve crimes,” Hewitt said. “I like the crime (scene evidence) part that we are doing right now. It was a blast.”
Stella Avey, a sixth grader, said her favorite part of CSI camp was fingerprinting and learning how to dust for prints.
“We get to put powder on it and then brush it off. I always saw them do it on my favorite show, “NCIS,” but I never knew how they did it,” Avey said. “I also liked the photography part because I like taking pictures and liked using the cameras.”
Avey said she never knew how hard it was to collect evidence and how careful detectives have to be.
“If you take your gloves and use it to gather other evidence, your DNA transfers over and that’s not good,” she said.
Elementary School Resource and D.A.R.E. Officer Nick Freisthler said he was looking for a program to add for the community’s “tweens,” from fifth grade to eighth grade, to participate with the department and modeled the camp after Kettering’s P.D. CSI camp for the middle school/junior high school students. The camp held morning and afternoon sessions for the week.
“We thought it would be cool to have police officers actually show them the real stuff that we do,” Freisthler said. “We showed them some of the basic stuff like fingerprinting and how to talk to people, which in this day and age, communication is huge, and how to get information from them.”
Freisthler said the children learned how the department uses use photography — selfies excluded — and the art of correctly photographing a scene of a crime. Campers also learned how to take measurements and how to map a scene using math and how to analyze handwriting.
“It’s really cool for them to see the stuff they learn in school and how it translates to our job here,” Freisthler said. “They actually get to see the guys who do the case work in action, so that’s really cool for them to experience. It’s turned out really well.”
Troy Police Department’s Capt. Jeff Kunkleman showed the camp’s morning session the tricks of the trade on how detectives gather evidence, preserve it and mark it on Thursday morning.
Xander Ivey, a seventh grade student, said his favorite part of the camp was learning how to fingerprint and how to gather evidence.
“I liked doing the fingerprints because you got messy,” Ivey said. “Gathering evidence was really fun, too.”
The week wraps up today as campers use all their skills to hit the streets to solve their own crime scene.
Freisthler said overall, the camp was a success and hopes to offer the camp again next summer.
The CSI camp was funded by the Troy Foundation and the department provided campers T-shirts. The camp is part of the Troy Recreation Department.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @Troydailynews