Jul 30

Animal Protection and Community Policing

Once again I apologize for the late posts, this one is not quite as action packed, but here it goes…

7/9 and 7/11- Animal Protection

Both of these days I had the opportunity to ride with Henrico Police’s Animal Protection Unit.  The goal of this unit is to provide protection to animals throughout the county, domestic and wild.  Henrico Police has their own animal shelter and this is also run by Animal Protection.  On 7/9 I had the pleasure of riding with Sgt. Glascock, and lets just say the he is a man of many, many words.  He kept me entertained the entire day with his advice, stories, and comical opinions.  Here is a brief synopsis of how the day went down; Follow up on a dog bite, chickens in the road, black snake under a porch, dog in a car, chase and catch 5  mean chow mixes, shoot a raccoon, catch a hawk, pick up a dead fawn, and set a trap for feral cats.  Needless to say the day was quite packed with calls and we stayed busy the entire time.  Animal protection calls work differently than patrol calls for service.  Animal calls are stacked by the dispatchers and the officers respond to calls in any order they please, giving preference to more urgent calls.  So, the primary goal for the day is to respond to your list of calls and clear, advise, or take specific action.  On 7/11,  I rode on an evening shift, and the type of calls we received were relatively similar to the previous day.  Things seemed to slow down as it got dark, possibly due to people not being outside observing possible problems.  The best part of this day is that we were able to pick up 2 dogs that had been found by people.  One was a pit bull and basset hound mix (weird looking dog) and the other was some sort of terrier mix.  Overall, Animal Protection is an important job within the police department, but I do not think I could do it every single day.

 

7/24 and 7/26- Community Policing

On these days I rode with the Community Policing unit of the Division.  This unit is designed to fill in the gaps within the community that patrol does not have the time to take care of.  This can include, interacting with citizens on a regular basis, checking on apartment complexes, and finding ways to prevent crime before it ever happens.  Henrico uses the same philosophy and crime prevention models that I wrote an extensive literature review on and presented information on (SARA Model, community partnership, information sharing).   On 7/24 I had the pleasure to ride with Officer R.R. Arjona.  Let me tell you, this guy also kept me quite entertained.  Aronja and I did routine patrol as well as checking up on apartment complexes and stopping in and talking to business owners.  The most action packed call of the day was a domestic between a lesbian couple, where the more “manly” girl assaulted the other girl and split her lip open and left choke marks on her neck.  After that she fled the scene before we could get there, so all we could do was collect evidence and take pictures of the injuries.  Believe it or not, the most informative part of the day was lunch.  We went to this hole in the wall place called Pinewood.  A husband and wife owned small restaurant, it was the place to be for police officers.  Seven of us sat in there for lunch (yes 7), and the conversation consisted of their advice to me and the do’s and don’ts of being a young police officer.  On 7/26 I rode with Officer Donnie Green, and did the same type of community oriented patrol but in a different area.  Our day consisted of following up of an on going investigation relating to theft of gasoline and the fraudulent sale of the gasoline.  We also went by a local mall to provide them with brochures for a safety meeting they were holding later that day.  We also checked in on the apartment complexes in Green’s zones.  Overall, my experience with community policing was a good one.  The concentration on community relations and crime prevention was extremely interesting and informative.

Jul 12

7 (7/12/13)

This week at the Police Department, the Community Service Unit put on a day camp for children from the ages of 10-13 from 9am to 3pm, but I was there from 8am-4PM. This camp was meant to give back to the community by gathering supplies for a local therapeutic horse ranch, Dream Catchers, as well as get the kids more familiar with the police officers so the children feel comfortable talking and discussing things with them. This was done by doing various activities with the officers such as mini games, zip lining, kayaking, and lessons each day to help with anger management, peer pressure and a lesson on community. My role in all of this was to assist with whatever the officers needed.

Monday started off with an introduction of everyone in the camp and the police officers, just as any camp does. Next came the lesson on community and within this was incorporated the aspect of the Dream catchers and what the campers were to do in order to gather supplies before Friday. After the lesson, the kids all tie-dyed their t-shirts with they were given that had the camps logo and sponsors on it and then came the tour of the department building its self. This included the S.W.A.T. Truck, the marine patrol boats,  the Underwater Search and Recovery trailer, property and forensics area, and the different offices in there as well.

Tuesday consisted of a lesson on communicating effectively and how only 20% of communication is verbal, a few mini games, and a trip to Go Ape. Go Ape is a local Zip Line course that its extremely fun yet, also very challenging.

On Wednesday, the children learned about peer pressure and how there are two different kinds, positive and negative. The kids also put on a car wash after their lesson, in order to raise money for next summers camp.

Thursday, the kids learned about anger management, did trivia game (consisting of questions from their lessons as well as, random cool facts that they might have known or found interesting. After the trivia game, we attempted to take them Discovery Park, where they were supposed to be able to kayak for two hours. However, because of bad weather this could not happen.

Friday consisted of gathering all the supplies the kids brought in, to organize it and bring it over to Dream Catchers. While we were at Dream Catchers, a few of their instructors took the children around so they could see what goes on there first hand. After this was an awards ceremony and some cake to congratulate the children on a job well done this past week.

Overall, for the first time that this camp has been run, it was a huge success. Dream Catchers was thrilled with everything we had brought them, the children seemed to enjoy it a lot and the parents were happy with how everything was run. The department does plan on doing it again next year with a few minor changes and possibly a second camp with a different age group. This was a great learning experience for me and has pushed me to possibly trying to join a community service unit at the department that I get a job with in the future.

Jul 09

Communications and the East End

First,I must apologize for this journal post being a little bit late, I have been extremely busy.  But, here it goes…

Monday, 6/24/2013- Communications

Monday, 6/24, was my day with Communications.  Communications is a crucial part of the 911 emergency system.  Communications officers (CO) field calls and appropriately dispatch them to available units.  I was sitting next to  a CO with my own headset on, staring at the 5 computer screens that the CO handles.  I will start by saying that you would be amazed at the reasons people call 911, but really, its unbelievable.  The first legitimate call came in around 1000, and it was an armed robbery of a gas station.  Keep in mind that I can hear the entire call…The woman was hysterical, the only words she could get out was “black mask” and “gun”.  I was amazed to see how calm the CO remained and how effectively she was able to do her job.  Units were immediately dispatched while we stayed on the line with the store clerk.  Listening to that definitely woke me up, after that call the CO referred to me as the “Bad Luck Charm” because she had not had an intense call like that in months.  The majority of the day was spent fielding the common calls for service.  But, by far, the best/most interesting/hysterical call of the day became known as the “Invisible Suits Call.”  Oh where to begin, this is NOT made up…..so a elderly woman calls in from a nursing home, she claims that a doctor and nurse are in her room wearing these new things called “invisible suits.”  Shocked that we had not heard of them, she informs us that you can buy them at your local Target for only $44.  She explains to us that you can only wear them for a maximum of 3 hours at a time, because if worn for longer than they then they may may cause death.  At this point, we ask her if she would like us to send out an officer, she replies and I quote, “I’m not sure, I believe we need someone more mechanical than a police officer to cut these suits off with a knife.”  At this point, as CO’s are trained, we continue to attempt to provide help to this woman.  Finally, we ask her again if she would like an officer, she replied with “I’m really not sure, let me think on it and I will get back to you soon, have a nice day, bye bye.”  Needless to say, when the phone hang up we were confused by what we heard and decided to listen to the call again with everyone.  I will have to say, that was one of my most interesting interactions with a citizen to date.

 

Friday, 6/28/2013- East End Evening Shift Patrol

Friday, 6/28, I reported to the Fair Oaks Station headquarters at 1330 hours.  Once there, I met up with Ofc. Moyer (Former Longwood student), and I began to ride with Moyer until my main ride along Ofc. Kovach marked on.  We were assigned patrol in the “40 Zone”, this area is one of the more action packed areas of Richmond, close to the race track and lower income apartments and neighborhoods.  The most problematic area in this zone is the Essex Village apartment, and within those apartments is the infamous Delmot St., a preferred hang out of local gangs and other people up to no good.  My few hours with Moyer included common police work such as calls for service and traffic stops.  At 1730 I got in with Ofc. Kovach, an officer I had met during cross fit training.  Little did I know that the most intense situation I have been in was up ahead.  At roughly 2100 Kovach and I met up with other officers to do a foot patrol of the Essex Village Apartments.  Not only is this an important factor of the community policing philosophy (as learned throughout Crim classes), this is a very good technique to walk up on drug deals, domestics, etc.  We began the foot patrol, leaving the cars at the field office.  Roughly 20 minutes into the foot patrol we were close to parallel with Delmont St. which meets E Laburnum at a T intersection to the south of our location.  We stopped to look around and while we were standing there, an officer (Moyer) who was not part of the foot patrol was dispatched to a pedestrian hit and run call on Laburnum (South of our location).  No more than a few minutes after the call comes in, another call for officer in distress came across the radio to the same location.  And so it began (keep in mind I am wearing a bullet proof vest, but I am in business attire)….all 5 of us take off running, weaving through the apartment complex until we reached Delmont.  When we hit Delmont we ran south towards Laburnum Ave.  At this point I am keeping up with the officers and we are getting closer to Laburnum.  Right before we hit Laburnum I lose my footing (wearing Sperry’s) but catch myself and hit Laburnum just behind the officers.  As we cross the median, you can see Officer Moyer in the ditch on the other side.  When we get to him he is pumping chest compressions on a teenage black male.  The boy had just been hit by a car, unconscious and not breathing, at this point we realize that there is another boy further down laying in the ditch and more officers rush over to him.  A friend of the unconscious boy was laying next time him yelling “Breath, breath, come on man” and finally the boy began breathing again although still not coherent, Moyer had successfully brought him back.  By this time the entire neighborhood had shown up to the scene and Laburnum was blocked off by police cars and emergency vehicles.  At this point my job was to help keep people back and watch over any witnesses until they had the chance to be interviewed.  That experience was one that will stay with me for a long time, the adrenaline rush and the sights and the sounds and the chaos are things I will not forget. Although we had quite a bit of action after that call, nothing else compared to it.  When entering those areas, one has the opportunity to see how the other half live.  It is a totally different lifestyle in this area, but that is what pulls me to the job and in the future I hope to work alongside Moyer and Kovach in the “40 Zone.”

Jul 05

6 (7/5/13)

This week at my internship, was a very scarce one. I only had a evening ride along shift Monday night that lasted 4 hours. This ride along started off will a disturbance of a man yelling and cursing while be drunk outside in public. So the officers calmly and respectfully told the man to not let it happen again and that it was probably best if he were to stay in the rest of the night. Later that night an citizen drove up to us to let us know a man was drunk driving and had just parked at the 7-11 across the street. We went over to check out the situation and discovered the man had been drinking but refused to admit so. This individual did not get violent but he did not come quietly. He was very outspoken in his denial of being drinking and driving as well as some other entertaining things. Nonetheless, this incident took up the majority of the evening at the jail, where he was charged and saw a magistrate. This evening was a great look at how the magistrate deals with the officers and the individuals that are brought before her.

The next shift was today, Friday the 5th. This shift started off at noon when I was helping an officer that is part of the community service unit gather some supplies together for the Community Outreach Program (C.O.P.s.) they are putting on for 10-13 year olds next week. This lasted for about 3 hours, until it was time for the evening shift to start as well as, my ride along. This ride along took place in the lower end of the county. Overall the ride along was extremely slow with only 2 stops over a 4 hour span, the rest of the time was directive patrols around the different neighborhoods. The directive patrols are a way of community policing without getting out of the car. The officer simply drives slow through the neighborhoods to be seen and say hello to the residents. I am looking forward to my 40 hour plus, week next week with the C.O.P.s.camp and the many activities and lessons these children will be learning.

Jun 28

5 (6/28/13)

This week started last Saturday, June 22nd. I was on a ride-along this day from 1230pm-430pm. This particular ride-along was drastically different from any of the others I have been on thus far. For the entire four hours we had absolutely no calls for service directly for us or traffic stops. It was a very slow Saturday in James City County. The only action that occurred, was an assault that happened in an apartment complex between roommates. We backed another Officer up on this call because we were close enough by. This call did lead to an arrest of the suspect who allegedly assaulted her roommate however, the officer who got there first took the suspect to jail. So after this we continued our slow day until it was time for me to go.

The next day was Wednesday, June 26 from 8am-5:15pm. On this day I was to observe the Underwater Search and Recovery team training that they do monthly. They started out at a local pool in order to run through some different scenarios that could occur and could cause injury or sickness and what to do to correct it. This went on for a couple of hours until we broke for lunch. After lunch we went up to the River where a individual had lost a motor a couple days before. They were going to use this opportunity as a training exercise but we could not locate the motor where the individual said he had lost it. After looking for quite some time they moved back down the river to set up there own training exercise. This exercise only took another hour or two and then we docked the boats and headed back to the Law Enforcement Center. There we washed unloaded the trailer and boat, as well as, washed off every piece of equipment and the boat it self.

The next day was Friday, June 28th from 12pm-4pm. On this day I worked with the department’s crime analyst. We went over statistics and what you could and couldn’t tell from them, even if the percentage was significant because if a crime jumps from occurring once a year to seven times a year that is a 600 percent increase but number wise it is not enough to be alarming. She also had be look through the entire website including the information that they give our readily to the public. This information was mostly about locations and types of crime but also had many brochures of how to help prevent crime and the different class the public could take through the department. She had me go through a report that she was about to send out of the crimes year to date compared to the previous year and see if I could come up with possible reasons why the numbers were changing as they did. After that, I went into the Geographical Information Systems room where I was able to play around with the software and get accustomed to it again. This day related very well back to the Statistics class I had just taken this past spring semester, using stats and trying to see what story could be told by the numbers, as well as, being able to compare crime rates in different areas of the state to James City County and ask my self why the difference could be. Most of the time the answer was population difference, as well as, economic difference.

Jun 28

Final Week

Sunday (7am-6pm)

On Sunday I drove one of the foster kids to Radford University to attend a summer Governor’s School program. It was interesting to talk throughout the three and a half hour drive there. After having seen so many foster kids that are not doing well in school and are making bad decisions it was nice to meet someone who was doing well. The person I took there was very well spoken and very smart. After spending so much time behind the scenes it was good to talk to the child rather than just about the child. I think the experience helped me see things a bit more from his perspective, even though he did not get into details about his situation.

Monday (11am-2pm), Tuesday (10am-12pm), and Wednesday (10am-1:30pm)

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I spent the day entering data into the database. I first entered the data that I could for this week’s FAPT meeting. After that my supervisor and I realized we had data from the schools that needed to go in. This took part of Tuesday and all day Wednesday. After that I was able to finish entering data for this week’s FAPT meeting. We wanted to make sure to check for errors in data entry because the data was to be shared with members of the CPMT at Thursday’s meeting.

lot of numbers on a spreadsheet (3d render) - stock photo

Thursday (10am-1pm)

On Thursday I helped my supervisor get ready for her CPMT meeting after doing some morning clerical work.

Overall

This was my last official week at the Department of Social Services, though I may end up staying through July. It has been a very enjoyable and enlightening experience. I got to meet people who work in many different areas of the system including the schools, courts, and social services. I also was able to learn about what things are like on both administrative levels and in the field. I am glad that I had this opportunity to help me develop my career ideas as well as to give me some perspective on life in general.

Total Hours: ~140

Jun 28

Week 8. Final week

This week I wanted to make sure I had fulfilled all my responsibilities to the highest of expectations and also see if there was anything else they wanted or needed me to do before my internship ended.

For the most part I had already did everything they had expected of me. All I had to do was my weekly “book work” of sorting through invoices and adding their totals and purchases into the appropriate spreadsheets.

The rest of the week has been consumed by me preparing for this evenings beer tasting. I have been sending out tweets and Facebook post. Some post included specials for the night such as, the first 25 people to purchase a Custom Brewcrafters beer will get to keep their glass. As well as, letting people know that the kitchen will also be open during the tasting.

I spent most of this morning at the bar preparing for tonight. Robyn and I decided it would be nice to have little finger foods outdoing the tasting. This morning I made homemade buffalo chicken meatballs as well as mini hotdogs in a sauce. We will bring them out around 8pm for those who attend our tasting.

Although my internship ends today , I did think of another idea for the bar, which I shared with my supervisor earlier this week. I thought it would be a nice idea if they had apparel to sell such as shirts, sweatshirts and hats. I planted the seed and I hope they are able to run with it. shirts would just be another form of advertising for them.

This week I worked 18.5 hours a total of 166 hours.

Jun 28

Week Six

Overview

photo by HOBY NY

During the last week of my internship, I attended the Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Workcamp. I’ve discussed Workcamp multiple times in my previous posts without giving much explanation of what exactly it is, so here’s a description: Workcamp is an annual, week-long “camp” where teens from the diocese serve the Virginia community by helping repair homes of those who need the repairs, but cannot afford them on their own. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington also describes Workcamp as “[…] an intentional Christian Community that provides an experience of direct service for young people […]” (2013, p.1).

photo by A.M. Images

At the beginning of the week, teens are separated into crews of 7 to 10 people, consisting of 5 to 7 teens, 1 to 2 adult leaders and a contractor. The week starts off with a day of initiatives, allowing the crew to become more bonded through activities and challenges. These initiatives are designed to establish trust amongst the crew, so they will feel more comfortable working with one another at their worksite. By Monday, the crews are off to their sites, beginning their projects. They continue to work at their sites until Thursday afternoon.

photo by Foto Katolik

In addition to working on their worksites, the teens attend mass every morning and evening program every night. Evening program consists of live music, games and challenges, and speakers. This part of Workcamp provides the teens with a more spiritual component, but also incorporate fun activities to give the teens a chance to relax after a long day at the worksite.

On Friday, the teens celebrate with a nice lunch and a program, highlighting all the work they have done. The residents of the crews are invited to join the teens for lunch and the program. At the program, the teens and residents are given an opportunity to share their experiences of Workcamp with everyone.

This was my 7th year at Workcamp and 3rd year on “homebase” team. Homebase team consists of volunteers who help with the behind the scenes work. Since volunteering on homebase team, I have always enjoyed seeing teens gain something special from Workcamp, just as I did when I was in high school. As cliché as this sounds, it’s such a blessing to help out behind the scenes to make the Workcamp experience as wonderful as it can be for the teens. This year, some of my assignments included creating the slideshow for evening program, helping make coffee in the morning for the teens and adults (we made 1600 cups of coffee every morning!), and helping out in the “crow’s nest” during evening program (basically, where the sounds and lights for evening program were controlled).

Review of Week Six

While there were many frustrations and very little time to sleep during Workcamp this year, I had a great time being able to help out during this wonderful week of service!

photo by VISIONS Service Adventures

This week, I researched the effects of community service on high school youth. In a 2007 study, researchers found that youth who were involved in extracurricular activities and community service in high school were predicted to more likely vote and be engaged in their communities (Hart et al., p. 213). These findings counter the notion that active community service in high school can decrease the likelihood of voting as an adult (Hart et al,  2007, p. 213).  The study also found that when community service is required by a high school, it is just as successful in predicting civic engagement in adults as compared to community service that is voluntary (Hart et al, 2007, p. 213). This was surprising to me, because I assumed that if community service was required by an institution, then youth would have a negative view on being involved in their community.

Total Hours: 83.5

Reference

Hart, D., Donnelly, T.M., Youniss, J. & Atkins, R. (2007). High school community service as a predictor of adult voting and volunteering. American Educational research Journal. 44(1). pp. 197-219. Retrieved on June 27, 2013 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/30069475.

Jun 27

Final Stretch

Tuesday (0800 – 1630)

Starting again on Tuesday (as Monday was a holiday) I participated in Orientation again.  Looking more in depth with some of the offenders I talked to, they seemed to all adopt a “no big deal” attitude about their current quarters.  Most of the offenders come from decidedly worse areas on the outside of prison, often not having shelter or food the way institutions provide.  I also visited the legal library and observed the procedures offenders abide by when trying to utilize the law library and the extensive copies of cases they read up on.

Wednesday (0800 – 1645)

I spent most of the day with Counselor Martha learning about the PALS Program run at Buckingham Correctional Center.  The Peer Assistant Liaison is an offender of good standing located in each Pod.  They apply and interview for a job with Counselor Martha, showing knowledge in many subject areas.  The Pod PALS assist with writing requests for offenders who may not be able to read/write, help steer offenders to the right people regarding legal matters, tutor (especially for GED), and run a small library out of their cells.

Thursday (0800 – 1600)

I spent the day attending vocational schools offered at Buckingham Correctional Center.  The first is the Electrical Vocational school which offenders apply for.  If selected they attend classes for up to two year, learning and testing their continuing knowledge on electrical systems.  Recent policy changes have shifted Buckingham away from treating all offenders equally regarding the participation of vocational classes.  A “Short List” and “Long List” consist of both offenders that will be released in 5 years or less and a list that consists of offenders with life sentences.  The ratio is about 4 to 1 when screening applicants.  The other vocational class is a plumbing school, where offenders learn the basics of plumbing for residential and commercial areas.  Both vocational schools are operated in a similar manner regarding the offenders selected.  Each school also has an advanced class where, if the offender qualifies to attend, he can learn advanced plumbing/electrical skills.  These advanced skills can in turn help the offender apply as a tutor for his respective school, one of the better jobs at Buckingham Correctional Center.  Tutors work regular hours and earn about 30% more than unskilled labor jobs such as houseman or laundry services.

Friday (0800 – 1600)

The pastor at BKCC invited me to attend one of the Kairos programs offered this Saturday.  Kairos is a religious revitalization program which participates in both day visits and applies for multi-day visits, where the volunteers spend three complete days with the offenders; the counselors have said that the Kairos program is one of the most involved external programs at BKCC.  I attended the Institutional Program Managers monthly meeting headed by Mr. Walker.  All of the counselors were present and the meeting went smoothly, transitioning from general issues such as parking, cell phones, and food, to counselor specific issues such as the new PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) Screening required, which would affect all schedules and require a more streamlined approach to retrieving newly arrived offenders for interviews.

Saturday (0800 – 1500)

I attended the Kairos program with the chaplain today, as well as witness a wedding.  The wedding was first, mostly nonchalant, and informal.  The chaplain explained that, while weddings are a rare occurrence, the rate of couples staying to gather for the length of the offender’s incarceration is unexpectedly quite high.  The Kairos program started with eight men from the surrounding area who came in with musical equipment.  After I helped setup some of the pieces of equipment I went over to check offenders into the Kairos program.  I was completely surprised at the turnout for the program, which numbered above 60, considering most of the programs and classes I had attend thus far when from six to around twenty.  The program started with prayer, psalms, stories, small group discussions, and then a large prayer circle to finish out the program.  The involvement was high (which is a phenomena in itself) and the offenders were engrossed in stories and teachings of others.

Jun 25

Criminal Investigations Section, the good, bad and the ugly……

Tuesday 6/18-Criminal Investigations Section-AFIS, Tech, Forensics

The day started at 0800 in the AFIS Unit with Ms. Sarah Dwyer.  Dwyer’s primary job is to examine finger prints that are lifted from crime scenes.  While sitting with Ms. Dwyer I was taught how finger prints are examined as well as what factors are used for finger print individualization.  From that point on Ms. Dwyer and I began to examine finger prints that had been lifted from a Larceny From Auto the day before.  Part of the finger print process is examining them to make sure they are not the prints of the complainant.  My time with Ms. Dwyer was short, but extremely interesting.

At 1000, I made my way down to the Technology Crimes Unit.  The first thing that was said to me was “If you touch this cell phone, wear gloves, it has brain matter on it.”  It took me a second to realize what was just said but from that point on I knew this would be interesting.  Technology Crimes Unit deals with all sorts of electronics, from cell phones to Ipads.  They analyze and gather all the information off of them looking for evidence that is related to the proper charge.  And yes, they can see everything, no matter if it has been deleted or not.  The normal procedure is to plug a phone up and “dump” all the information onto a disk, which then can be viewed on the computer.  Unfortunately for us, the “brain matter” phone was one of the few types that are not compatible with the machine.  So in order to get the information we set the phone up under a camera and had to take pictures of all conversations, pictures, call records, etc.  Needless to say, the stuff we saw and read…one can only laugh at some things.  So, the majority of my times was spent with Det. Hobbes going through this phone and capturing all the information on a camera.

At 1300, I made my way down to the Forensic Unit.  I was greeted be Det. K.W. Hill, and before I could get a hello he was already showing me crime scene photos from a suicide (by handgun).  A few minutes later he thought it would be a good idea to take me to the morgue with him to retrieve the bullet from the man’s (same from photos) head. One of the best times I have had so far was the car ride down to the morgue with Det Hill.  I will always remember the advice, tricks, and tips he gave me.  Upon arrival to the morgue, he had prepared me for what I was about to see.  To my relief, they were done with autopsies for the day.  But I will tell you, the smell of a decomp body is one I will NEVER forget, never..Eventually, we made it back to the office/lab room, and I met Det. K.W. Harver.  Det Harver and I made our way over to the computer and he proceeded to show me photos from different crime scenes he has worked.  We checked out everything from a rape and murder,  multiple suicides, overdoses, and drownings.  This really opened up my eyes to the darker side of police work and was definitely a shock to the system (I couldn’t eat dinner, and could not fall asleep that night).  However, I am extremely thankful that Det. Hill and Det. Harver took the time to show me these things and prepare me for what I may see as an officer in the future.

Thursday 6/20-Criminal Investigations Section-Robbery and Homicide

Thursday the 20th, began at 0800, and upon my arrival to PSB I was greeted by Det. R.M. Matson.  Det. Matson was in a big hurry when I arrived and immediately rushed me to his car and we took off.  We were heading to Charles City to attempt to get an interview and get the parent’s consent to search the house of a robbery suspect.  When we were roughly 3 or 4 miles away we were called and disregarded by the lead detective on that case.  So now we were in Charles City, and Det. Matson decided to go do a follow up interview with a suspects girlfriend.  When we arrived at the house we were worried that the suspect would be there but he wasn’t.  We began to interview the woman, and a few minutes into the interview Det. Matson realized he forgot his tape recorder when we had rushed out earlier that morning.  So now the task of taking interview notes was delegated to me (because he was driving).  I immediately became thankful for all the notes that I had taken through out my college career.  Det. Matson actually photocopied my notes when we got back and will use them in his investigation.  During our interview, the girlfriend of the suspect began to disclose that there was abuse occurring in their relationship.  I became thankful for my knowledge from Family Violence when this came up.  The number one thing she stressed was that she was scared to leave.  This was due to the potential for escalation of violence.  It be came apparent that the main reason she was staying was for this reason.  The conversation with her also echoed many of the elements of the cycle of violence.  Her boyfriend continued to threaten her from behind bars, and she was extremely worried even though he was in custody at the moment.  We suggested that she seek a protective order and proceeded to give her the information on how to do that.  Per Det. Matson’s permission I will try to show a copy of my notes in the final powerpoint presentation.   My time with Det. Matson ended with lunch at a Mexican restaurant and the opportunity to talk about my future and his Iraq Combat stories.

After lunch I went down to the Homicide Unit and joined Det. T.E. Holsinger and Det. R.L. Egan in the office. Det. Holsinger and Det. Egan investigate any cases in which a homicide has occurred as well as any case that involved an Officer shooting. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail about any information due to ongoing invesitigations. But, Det. Holsinger gave me a entire binder with all of the information from a certain homicide case.  I was able to look through it and ask him questions about it.  The binder includes all information from reports, autopsies, crime scene photos, and information on anyone connnected to the case.  As learned in Intro to Courts, the prosecutors work closely with the investigators when preparing to prosecute a case.  The binder that I read will eventually be given to the prosecutors so they can build their case and prepare for court.  I wish I could go into more detail about my time in Homicide, because I got to see a lot of interesting stuff and had some great discussions with the investigators.