MATTHEWS – Television shows like “Bones” and “Law & Order” may spark viewers’ interest in forensics and crime scene investigation. But it is much harder and more involved than it looks.
Some Matthews Police Department officers are pursuing certificates in general forensics from Central Piedmont Community College to further their knowledge in crime scene investigation.
[Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly works hard to bring you local news.
Please consider making a small financial donation to help us add value to our community.]
Candis Kinsey, who has been with MPD since 2002, is the first to complete her certification. Kinsey said she has always had an interest in crime scenes.
“It gives these officers another way of looking at things,” Public Information Officer Tim Aycock said. “As a patrol officer, you’re trained in your basics of what to look for when you’re on a crime scene, but with this, it’s more specialized and taking a deeper dive into it. They’re looking at that initial scene, but they’re processing it a different way and know what to look for to collect evidence properly, which is very important.”
The curriculum is very involved. Students must take a variety of courses, including death investigation, child death investigation, bloodstain pattern analysis and basic crime scene academy, along with many others to complete 232 training hours. Kinsey said students learned a lot from photographic evidence, which she found particularly interesting.
The hardest class, in Kinsey’s opinion, was bloodstain pattern analysis. She said students learned how to look at a stream of blood and identify the direction it came from and the circumstances that caused the bloodstain.
Now that Kinsey has completed the certificate, she can assist with crime scenes while detectives are on the way or are completing other investigative duties. Kinsey said she has been on the scene for break-ins and shootings into cars.
“Most of the detectives are trained in some basic form of crime scene collection, so allowing officers a different track for specialized training also helps,” Aycock said. “If she’s out on a scene and it’s the middle of the night and detectives are being called to come out, she already knows what she needs to do and collect those items, and that really helps the detectives when they get on scene so they can talk to people and do whatever it is they need to do in that moment.”
Kinsey’s interest in crime scene investigation has led her to look at options that could expand her knowledge moving forward. One of these options, she said, would be visiting a body farm in Tennessee, where students are able to learn from bodies that have been donated to science. Students learn from real-world scenarios and research body decompositions.
She said taking the classes and receiving the certificate from Central Piedmont has made her more aware of her surroundings on a crime scene.
“Before I took these classes, you could walk in a room and notice a bunch of things,” Kinsey said. “Now, I can look at a stream of blood on the wall and say, ‘this was done by this. Medium impact, high impact.’ It gives you more information on what you’re looking for and you’re not going to overlook it.”
Become a CMG Insider! Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to stay on top of everything we are publishing in print and online, as well as what we’re sharing across our social media platforms. Click here to be added to the distribution list.