Cracking the case, homicide investigation training

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s a hands-on training experience for 31 police officers from nearly two dozen agencies across the state as they learn how to investigate a crime scene from start to finish.

“We want to make sure for the public that our detectives whether they’re sheriff’s office, a local police department or the Michigan State Police are best prepared when they get out,” said Michigan State Police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen.

Christensen says police officers work in teams to crack the case.

They collect evidence, conduct interviews with witnesses and follow any leads.

“If you’re going to make a mistake, you want to make that mistake in a training scenario versus out in the real world,” Christensen stated.

And this isn’t just a training for new recruits.

Detective Srg. Craig Johnson has been with the Michigan State Police for 23 years but is new to the detective bureau and he says this experience is invaluable.

“It’s something that you can never get in a classroom type environment, something you can’t get working in the field with another guy right next to you,” said Johnson.

Johnson says learning these skills now will give him an upper hand when it comes to a real life murder.

“It’s humbling to recognize as you’re standing in the room and you’re collecting all this evidence that somebody comes over your shoulder and says hey what about that…I didn’t even see that,” Johnson added.

The exercise today is training for the future generation of law enforcement as well as many of the actors have dreams of one day joining the force.

“You’re talking with officers, you’re talking to detectives, you’re seeing what the job actually entails,” said Nate Withington; actor in the mock crime scenes.

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