Criminal Justice and Forensics

April 10, 2013

            Our second semester of the new "CSI" Forensics class started in January.  We are still trying to solve the "Mystery of Lyle and Louise."  Our latest module, (12 total), was "Strands of Evidence," A Lab on Hair and Fiber Analysis.  This Module involves taking trace evidence and preparing it to be analyzed.  "Trace evidence, also called physical evidence, results from the transfer of small quantities of material, such as hair, fibers, paint chips, glass fragments, gun shot residue, etc., from one source to another.  The evidence is then used to shed light on the events of a crime rather than to positively identify a criminal" (Sikorsky 11).  Television programs, such as "CSI," "Criminal Minds," and "Law and Order," present a misconception of how quickly a crime can be solved.  Students have definitely learned that from just one crime scene hundreds of pieces of trace evidence, hair and fiber alone; and the time that it takes to prepare these pieces of trace evidence onto slides takes numerous hours.  The slides then have to be analyzed to compare all of the trace evidence.  Students learned microscopy techniques and the proper handling of evidence.  "Because of the transient nature of trace evidence, investigators must take care with collection and preservation of the evidence to avoid inadvertently removing or destroying trace materials from the crime scene and prevent contamination or loss of the evidence" (Sikorsky 11).  The class hopes to have the crime solved before school ends in May.