By Wayne Strong, Globe University-Madison East Criminal Justice Program Chair
Investigators of the Madison Police Department’s Forensic Services Unit (FSU) were available between calls for service to display their equipment and answer questions from Globe University-Madison East students in the criminal justice program.
Students asked about the unique responsibilities the investigators have at various crime scenes. Investigators Jill Urso and Joel Holum took time to visit with students and explain what they do on a daily basis. Students were able to see firsthand the complete array of equipment the investigators use when they respond to scenes ranging from homicides to fatal crashes and everything in between.
The investigators showed the students how they use the camera, which is the most used and important piece of equipment. The camera is used to take photos of victims, suspects, foot and tire impressions, and a host of other crime scene-related activity, ranging from residential and commercial burglaries to robberies.
Students were showed what methods the investigators use to collect such evidence as latent fingerprints and DNA evidence. The investigators also explained the use of video at crime scenes. Video is used to capture the scene in its entirety in order to augment what the still photos have captured.
“I found it very interesting to actually know the tasks that they perform, when they are performed, how they are performed, and how much photography they take and how it’s relied on,” said Globe University criminal justice student Taylor Swenson.
With the creation of such shows as CSI, there has been a huge spike in the interest in crime scene investigations as well as forensic science. The visit with Investigators Urso and Holum piqued the curiosity of the students to consider pursuing forensic science and crime scene investigation as a career opportunity upon obtaining their degrees.
Investigators Urso and Holum explained to students that investigators within the Madison Police Department are promoted positions and that in order to attain the rank, you must first be hired as a police officer and compete in the promotional process. They went on to encourage students to obtain their degrees and pursue their interests in the field of criminal justice and law enforcement.
Overall, the students really seemed to enjoy the visit and learned a great deal from the investigators about the day-to-day work of real crime scene investigators.
Globe University criminal justice student Jaimee Neerland reflected on the experience saying, “Investigation is something that I am highly interested in so for me it was extra enjoyable.”
Special thanks to Investigators Jill Urso and Joel Holum for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit with the Globe University criminal justice students.