A real world look at forensic science

Norfolk Collegiate’s forensic science students toured the Norfolk Police Department Operations Center to get a first-hand look at the department's daily operations.

This tour came shortly after our students participated in a mock crime scene in the Harris Courtyard prepared by Dave Fisher, upper school science teacher.

The goal of the scene was to allow our students real-world experience with a “crime scene” and to practice the tools learned in class at the station.

The practice came full circle for our students as they experienced what it’s like to work with real evidence to solve a case.

“Our students looked at a fingerprint database for current cases that the police were working on to help identify key features in a fingerprint,” said Fisher. “In class, we worked with different scenarios before going to the station. While we were there, our students learned several new techniques, and changes to the techniques that they’ve currently learned.”

“During the tour, I thought it was interesting to see the interrogation rooms and what the homicide team actually does,” said Chuck Hardy ’17. “We were familiar with the figureprinting process, but it was awesome to see a professional do it. They also taught us about transient evidence and how important it is to walk the crime scene to become familiar with it.”

Fisher hopes to make the tour to the police station a standard practice for our students as an extension to the mock crime scene lab.

“It was our first time touring the station,” said Fisher. “The goal is to continue to build those relationships with officers to make this trip something we do each year.”

Our students also had the opportunity to see the difference between solving a real case and criminal television shows.

“An ‘aha’ moment for me was how different it is from the TV shows like CSI and Law & Order,” said Chuck. “It’s a lot of paperwork, staring at computers and trying to find characteristics in the fingerprints. It takes hours and hours of looking at evidence before you find clues. I was expecting the excitement of CSI or something, but it was really just two guys in a lab looking at evidence.”