Anastasia and Letty working with an expert

Learning with the Law – Week Eight

Posted April 5, 2019 in Police by Mary Smith

Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a 14-week series of first-person accounts of the highly popular Hilliard Division of the Police Citizens Police Academy.

In this week of the Citizen’s Police Academy, the topic remained the same as last week: firearms and the criminal investigations unit (CIU). Last week I was in the half of the class that focused on firearms, so this week I stayed with the detectives.

Dinner was provided by Texas Roadhouse.

The work of the Criminal Investigations Unit is like the TV show “CSI,” except we learned TV is not even close to realistic! Lt. Ron Clark supervises the detectives. He and others gave us the inside scoop on why these investigations take longer than 60 minutes (and don’t include commercials!)

Detective Chad Wood was our instructor. We started with an overview of a detective’s job and discussed a few real-life cases we were familiar with that the detectives have worked on.

A few weeks ago, someone came into our class and stole a teapot. We were all witnesses. It seems the case of the missing teapot has followed us through the class.

With the detectives’ assistance, we did a mock investigation on that theft. We observed a scene (only after obtaining a search warrant, of course) and decided what was relevant evidence worthy of more investigation.

It’s important to note the difference between relevant and non-relevant evidence. For example, if you know the perpetrator was wearing a black jacket when they committed a crime, and you find a black jacket, that is considered relevant evidence. If you find a red jacket, even though it may belong to the suspect, it isn’t considered relevant to that particular case. Every case is different, but this prevents an abundance of things being entered as evidence into a case when they don’t need to be.

After the search, we took a few objects from the crime scene and learned how to take prints. Fingerprinting is messy if you don’t do it right and is a skill I assume comes with time. It’s hard to get a clear and perfect print. Nonetheless, it was fun and interesting to see how many different things that can provide fingerprints.

The best part about this class was definitely the natural discussion. It is nice to talk to police officers on a more human level about what they do because when you see an officer in the field you don’t have that opportunity. These classes have given us the chance to get to know them and hear what they provide for the community.

Detectives are pretty much on call 24/7. Obviously, they have no idea when a crime may occur, and if they need to investigate a scene they do immediately. If a search warrant needs to be served at 3 a.m., they are out there doing it.

All of our detectives are really committed to getting justice for those they serve.

Anastasia Bradley is a student enrolled in the 11th class of the Hilliard Division of Police’s Citizens Police Academy, a 14-week course that teaches residents about police work. She is a lifetime resident of Hilliard and works as the Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department. She is a Disney fanatic and has a serious fear of Kangaroos.