Two forensic experiences

February 12, 2016

The Module 4 Forensic Science class wrapped up the course with a field trip to a local police department and presentations from two detectives. On Tuesday, February 2, the class was hosted by Detective Trey Leightley and held at the Fairfax City Police Department, and included a tour of the facility and the opportunity for Madeira students to participate in demonstrations. Students saw the digital forensics and evidence processing labs, made a Microsil mold of tool marks, collected two-dimensional shoe prints using an electrostatic dust print lifter, and sampled gunshot residue from a “suspect’s” hands.  While science classes are critically important to forensic science, Detective Leightley told the students that the high school classes that will best prepare them for a career in forensic science are their English courses, explaining that the ability to clearly explain evidentiary findings and articulate expert opinion are critical in a detective’s job.

On Thursday, February 4, Detective Derek Hardy of the Fairfax County Police Department visited the class to share his expertise. He told the class that photography is the most useful tool for collecting evidence. He taught the class about photographic techniques using different light sources and filters that could make invisible bloodstains and fingerprints visible. When he shared a case study, the students contributed analysis and theories as the story developed. The class greatly appreciated the time, energy, and knowledge that these professionals shared.