Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Criminal Investigation Students Interview "Suspects" in Mock Murder Case

This is the second post in a short series that covers a mock murder case students in the Criminal Investigation (CJ 200) course are investigating.  Check out our other post on the processing of the crime scene here.

One morning in September, an unresponsive student, Hannah Russell, was discovered by an Ashland University staff member in a lounge near the Criminal Justice offices.  Students in the introductory Criminal Investigation class have been tasked with investigating Hannah's death to determine the details of the case and who committed the crime so charges can be brought against the perpetrator.

As part of their investigation, students interviewed two potential suspects, Wilma and Susan, who had been in an argument with Hannah the day she died.

Investigators Michael Cain (left) and Daniel Medvetz (right)
interview potential suspect Wilma.

Investigators Michael Cain (left) and Daniel Medvetz (right) interview potential suspect Susan. 

During the interviews, the students sought to determine the details of the crime and the involvement of the two suspects using various techniques learned in class, including the difference between interviewing and interrogating, how to help a reluctant witness to talk, how to detect deception, when to mirandize a suspect, and how to properly formulate questions.

"The skills the students learned not only apply practically to criminal justice, but they also apply for researchers who are surveying people by asking them questions," says Professor Hedrick, the Criminal Justice professor who teaches the course. "In fact, there is a lot of crossover application between criminal investigations and academic research methods."

Though the interviews are part of a class, the challenges of interviewing a suspect and the techniques used to overcome those challenges, such as those shown in the video below, are very similar to what investigators might encounter in a real investigation.

Check out the video below to see Michael and Daniel's interview of Susan. 

video


Monday, November 23, 2015

Ashland Police Detective Brian Evans Speaks to Criminal Law Class

Detective Brian Evans
This post is one of several which cover professional speakers the Criminal Justice Program brings into the classroom, allowing students to learn from and connect with experts who currently work in a variety of areas in the criminal justice field. Check out our recap post for a list of speakers the CJ Program hosted during the fall 2015 semester.

On Thursday, November 12, Detective Brian Evans presented to the Criminal Law (CJ 362) class on drug and alcohol crimes.   Detective Evans, who won the Ashland County Prosecutor's Distinguished Service Provider of the Year award in 2015, works in the Investigative Bureau in the Narcotic Enforcement Section of the Ashland Police Department. 

We spoke with senior forensic biology major Kylie Bartram about Detective Evans' visit.  She had this to say:

"I found Detective Evans' presentation very interesting - he was very knowledgeable about many different kinds of drugs.

I was shocked to learn how much money people who are addicted to heroin spend on it everyday, and I [was surprised by] how many different types of people use hard drugs.  It's not always the typical drug addict [you might think of].  He showed us some pictures that were taken from the home of an attorney, I believe, that were of all of the different needles and drug paraphernalia found in his home.

It was also shocking to learn how it's not difficult to obtain all of the ingredients [needed] to cook certain drugs.

Overall, I think one of the most interesting things about his presentation was the Narcan (a "prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose," according to stopoverdose.org) , and how it instantly puts people who have overdosed on opiates into withdrawal." 

Thank you, Kylie, for sharing your thoughts about Detective Evans' presentation.  We'd also like to thank Detective Evans for sharing his time and expertise with our students!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

AU Criminal Justice Professors and Students Attend OCCJE Career Fair

On Friday, November 6, 2015, the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education (OCCJE) held its annual Criminal Justice Career Fair at Tiffin University.

AU Criminal Justice Professors Hedrick and Spelman attended the Fair, which hosted over 19 agencies.  Among those were Criminal Justice federal agencies, police departments, and correctional centers for adults.  Criminal Justice students from Ashland University also attended the event. 

The Fair brings students and officials from the various agencies together to discuss the professional, internship and/or summer employment positions each agency offers, allowing students to network with professionals in the field while learning about opportunities to gain work experience or fulltime employment. 

Criminal Justice Student, Tarin Cook (middle), visits the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) booth
Bowling Green, OH, Police Officers
speak with students at the Fair

Friday, November 6, 2015

Chief of Police, Brian Saterfield, Speaks to Students on Investigation Process

This post is one of several which cover professional speakers the Criminal Justice Program brings into the classroom, allowing students to learn from and connect with experts who currently work in a variety of areas in the criminal justice field. Check out our recap post for a list of speakers the CJ Program hosted during the fall 2015 semester.

This is a continuation of yesterday's post which covers guest speaker Robert Ball, Investigator Coroner for Richland County.  

Recently, Brian Saterfield, Chief of Police in Galion, Ohio, and former detective with the Marion Police Department, spoke to students in Criminal Investigations (CJ 200) and to students in Role of Police in Modern Society (CJ 270). 

Melissa Smith, a senior criminal justice and psychology major, outlines the topics Chief Saterfield discussed with students.

Chief Saterfield addresses students in the
Criminal Investigations class

"In the Criminal Investigations class, we had been learning about different techniques investigators had to use throughout the investigation process. This included documentation, photographing, and even the interview and interrogation process. We then had the opportunity to hear from someone how it actually plays out in the field, thus gaining a better understanding of the importance of the details. Chief Saterfield talked to the class about different cases he has experienced and explained how documentation is very important in order to make sure there are no holes in the case. He also explained that the interview process is important in order to find out the truth.

Chief Saterfield spoke on many relevant topics in the Role of Police in Modern Society class, as well, giving students the opportunity to hear from somebody who rose through the ranks of police work to the very top. Chief Saterfield talked about topics that are discussed in the textbook, such as community policing, police management, the police hiring process, the value of education in police work, and the current trend of militarization of police, to name a few.

The students really enjoyed hearing from him in order to get a better idea of how the information they learned in class relates to the real world."
 
 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Richland County Coroner Investigator Speaks to Students on Detecting and Determining the Nature of Crimes

This post is one of several which cover professional speakers the Criminal Justice Program brings into the classroom, allowing students to learn from and connect with experts who currently work in a variety of areas in the criminal justice field. Check out our recap post for a list of speakers the CJ Program hosted during the fall 2015 semester.

For students in all class levels, professors in Ashland University's Criminal Justice Program invite community speakers in to the classroom to expose students to the best and most up-to-date information and practices possible.  This also allows students to make connections with professionals and organizations in the area, which can provide valuable networking experience. 

Recently, students in Professor Hedrick's classes heard from two guest speakers.  In the Advanced Criminology & Profiling (CJ 415) class, students learned from Richland County Coroner Investigator, Robert Ball. 

Brian Saterfield, Chief of Police in Galion, Ohio, and former detective with the Marion, Ohio, Police Department spoke to students in Criminal Investigations (CJ 200) and in Role of Police in Modern Society (CJ 270). 

Melissa Smith, a senior criminal justice and psychology major enrolled in these courses, describes the presentations and how the information and techniques outlined by each of the speakers ties in to what she is learning in the class.


Robert Ball, Investigator Coroner for
Richland County
"Mr. Ball discussed the differences between detecting if a crime is a homicide or a suicide. He even brought in pictures to help us distinguish the differences! The Profiling class was discussing staging in a crime scene, or when an offender deliberately changes the physical evidence of a crime scene to elude the police. 

Mr. Ball discussed how to determine if a scene has been staged, which will then help determine if it’s a suicide or a homicide. He explained that the key is in the details, and to always be skeptical of what you are seeing. You can’t make any assumptions; everything needs to be proven!  This is just like in the academic research process when applying the scientific method.

The Criminal Justice students enjoyed hearing from him and seeing the pictures to get a better idea of what a real crime scene looks like and how to investigate it."

Click here for a recap of Chief Saterfield's presentation on the investigative process!