For Immediate Release
Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: March 30, 2023
Students investigate mock crime scene near campusFennimore -
It all looked like a typical crime scene, complete with yellow tape, surrounding the perimeter. In reality, it was a class project, organized by Gary Roberts and Tom Kretschman, criminal justice instructors at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore.
On March 27, students in Roberts’ Criminal Evidence course were split into three teams and processed a mock crime scene at a farmhouse the college owns near campus. The teams included law enforcement, prosecution, and defense. The class of 11 students included two defense attorneys, two prosecution attorneys and seven law enforcement personnel, such as police, detectives and crime scene personnel who were responsible for evidence collection and sketching. The day started at 8 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m. Crime scene personnel worked at the farmhouse, while the prosecution and defense teams worked at the Public Safety Building.
According to Roberts, the case will continue to a mock trial later in the semester. In the coming days, the students will be submitting paperwork as they interview suspects, get search warrants and witness statements, make court motions, and process the evidence. “We focus on the chain of custody and the evidence,” said Roberts.
This is a project that Roberts and Kretschman do each year to complete the Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement 2 program. The two instructors have co-instructed the Criminal Evidence course in the past and Kretschman has been instrumental in developing the curriculum since 2007.
Monday’s mock crime scene draws from every class the students have taken each semester and touches on all their skills. The students manage documents, and analyze autopsy and blood results, among other responsibilities. They must also utilize their communication skills, while dealing with aspects of constitutional and criminal law. “I have them write a search warrant, file motions with the judge, and write disclosure documents,” said Roberts. “My job the next 3-4 weeks is to make sure they stay on task and to balance all the information they submit.”
Part of the process for the students is also producing a comprehensive binder of documents they compile during the project. Roberts has binders from the past 12-14 years, which serve as a valuable resource for current students.
Matt Schneider, an advisor on campus, volunteered his time to serve as a suspect during the event. He was “arrested” that morning and questioned.
After watching their work all day and into the evening, Roberts was pleased with how the students performed. “They did really well,” he said. “They were really disciplined and systematic in their approach. They conducted some great interviews.”
To learn more about the Criminal Justice program, visit, www.swtc.edu/cj.
| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, a finalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |