Staff writer, Boca Raton and Lake Worth Campuses
Stolen cars, DNA swabs, fingerprints, and decomposing bodies are just a few things the Crime Scene Technology CST students at Palm Beach State College experience. Professor Paul L. Friedman described experiences students receive in the CST program as “Exposure to major cases such as participation in the Casey Anthony case give concrete experience levels to students and employers.”
For the past two years a special agreement has been active to provide current Crime Scene Technology students with first hand experience at actual crime scenes. According to Professor Friedman, “(the agreement) Fosters networking abilities for the student to meet and discuss methods, employment opportunities and technologies with the current CSI and police investigators throughout the area.”
Unlike many of the other colleges in the area, Palm Beach State’s Crime Scene Technology program offers the students practical lab experience working with current crime scene evidence in addition to lecture classes.
After graduating from the CSI program, students have acquired a year of active crime scene investigation experience. According to Friedman “Those students who take advantage of this opportunity to network are that much closer to gaining employment within the field.”
Former Palm Beach State Student, CSI Patrick Rothenburg of the Palm Springs Police Department said, “The program has enabled over 60 students to actively investigate current crime scenes in the Village of Palm Springs.”
Rothenburg stated “The biggest complaint I hear from students when they apply for a job is that employers want someone with experience. The program enables students to volunteer with the Police Department with not only crime scenes and processing of evidence, but at community functions such as Palm Springs CSI and Stuff-A-Cruiser.”
The program benefits both students and local police departments through use of the college lab furnished with certain technologies that are not currently available within the PD CSI lab.
The College’s lab has state-of-the-art forensic technology, such as Cyanoacrylate & Ninhydrin Fuming cabinets for latent fingerprint development as well as over 20 full forensic photography kits with macro and alternative light sources for evidence documentation.
In addition to active crime scene investigation, students also utilize the Allied Health Forensics Lab at Lake Worth Campus to process actual evidence from active cases. These duties include but are not limited to DNA swabbing, latent fingerprint development and forensic photography.
“The Crime Scene Technology program is believed to be the only program of its type in the State to offer this level of real world experience in addition to theoretical and practical instruction through the framework of the curriculum.” Friedman said.
The program currently has five teams designated Alpha – Echo with a one week on-call status. The team leader on-call for the week will receive a call from CSI Rothenburg, when an active crime scene is created and the prospective team then will respond to the scene to assist the police department.