What: North Texas Forensic Academy Crime Scene Investigations Certificate -- A new crime scene investigations certificate will be offered by the Professional Development Institute (PDI) at the University of North Texas. Students, law enforcement professionals and others interested in crime scene investigations are invited to apply.
When: Free open house at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 (Saturday) at the Homestead Suites by Hilton, 2907 Shoreline Road in Denton.
Classes are offered from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 11 to March 29. Classes take place at Crime Scene City, a simulated community on Precision Drive in Denton.
Contact:866-374-0876 or PDI Certificate Programs online.
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Students will delve into the reality version of CSI in a new state-of-the-art crime scene investigations class offered by the Professional Development Institute at the University of North Texas.
With more than 240 hours of instruction over five months, a tight-knit team of students will learn to dust for fingerprints with brushes and powders, give courtroom testimony in mock trials and find "invisible" bloodstains using BlueStar -- a chemical that glows blue in the presence of blood.
This class, which begins Oct. 11, is geared toward law enforcement professionals, students and others interested in helping solve crimes. Students in the class – which is not for university course credit -- will receive a certificate and get the experience they need to make themselves more marketable in the highly competitive CSI career field, made popular by recent CSI-related TV shows, said Andra Lewis, lecturer in UNT's Department of Criminal Justice in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service and a former crime scene investigator at the Dallas Police Department.
Students in the class will explore: criminal investigation, crime scene investigation, basic fingerprint comparison techniques, a 10-print fingerprint course, forensic photography, trace evidence, impression evidence, crime scene sketching, forensic biology and sexual assault investigations, death scene investigations, firearms evidence analysis and courtroom testimony.
"We're moving away from crime scene investigators simply being 'baggers and taggers,'" Lewis said. "You need a higher level of understanding of how it really works. A crime scene investigator needs to know what the lab is capable of doing and its relevancy. This helps assure that the people who did the crimes are the ones in jail and not innocent people. When you're on the scene, you don't know at that moment in time if the evidence you find will be relevant and a piece of that puzzle."
Many of the classes will be taught in a simulated community known as UNT's Crime Scene City – which is used for UNT's criminalistics courses – at the end of Precision Drive in Denton. Others will be taught at facilities of local law enforcement agencies. Lewis partnered with several agencies for input into the structure of the class.
While crime scene investigations have been made popular by TV, Lewis warns that the reality doesn't necessarily match the small screen – but the payoff is worth it.
"It's not about wearing stilettos and driving Hummers and chasing bad guys," Lewis said. "It's about giving back to the community."
MEDIA: A mock crime scene will be set up at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 for an open house at the Homestead Suites by Hilton. Members of the media are also welcome to get photographs, videos and interviews at the classes, which begin Oct. 11 and end March 29.