It might very well be every criminal justice student’s secret fantasy to walk in the shoes of TV’s Gil Grissom on the popular drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Recently, Minnesota School of Business students had the opportunity to do just that when CSI: The Experience® came to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
An exhibit set up to simulate an actual crime scene, “Who Got Served” begins with a choice of three scenarios and identifies a “victim.” Then participants are asked to sketch the crime scene.
“It was a lot of fun,” said first-quarter criminal justice program student Aleasha Narloch. “We had to draw the whole crime scene including evidence from our observations.”
Next students moved through different labs to “analyze” clues, including fingerprints, bullet casings, tire treads, text messages and DNA profiles. They also had access to various tools and technologies, including chemistry equipment, UV light sources, ballistic identification systems and a bullet trap.
“The students took their role as investigator very seriously,” said Criminal Justice Program Chair Laurie Rosas. “They were extremely observant and detailed. Each of them successfully solved the crime.
Narloch noted that the TV show “makes it look easy, but there is a lot more to it. This [exhibit] gives me a good idea of what role an actual crime scene technician plays in an investigation.”
She added, “I’m 100 percent confident that I’ve chosen the correct career path!
Criminal justice student Kari Pikus also gained insight from the experience.
“I went into criminal justice thinking I would work in victim services,” she said. “But this really widened my horizons, made me see possibilities like forensics.”
Pikus also agrees that the exhibit seemed authentic. “Going through texts and pictures on a cell phone is so real, and we had to log everything we did. There was a lot of satisfaction in getting it all right.” Pikus also reflected that trying to determine how long a corpse has been dead by counting larva is about as real as
it gets. “There was some, ‘Ooo, that’s gross,’” she admitted. “But mostly people thought it was interesting. The group was together in that way.”
Both students noted that the elements of the exhibit regarding how the judicial system functions were just as they’d been taught in class.
“How criminals are processed seemed pretty familiar,” reflected Pikus. “There were a lot of connections.”
When it comes to walking in the shoes of TV giants, these students are convinced they are up for the job.