STEILACOOM, Wash. --There has been a kidnapping however it’s not up to the police to solve the crime but a pack of lucky seventh graders from Mann and Pioneer middle schools. The energetic young students certainly seem up to the task according to the camp instructors.
The students participated in a crime scene investigation camp, Oct. 26, at the Steilacoom, Wash., Historical School District Annex. The camp brought together military police from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) works program from Southern Methodist University and school children in an effort to raise interest in science and mathematics by providing the crime scene camp.
Soldiers with the 66th Military Police Company and 51st MP Detachment were on site to answer questions and demonstrate some crime solving techniques. They held a workshop on fingerprint dusting and collecting evidence.
In one room there was a crime scene where the students used critical thinking skills to evaluate the crime scene and piece together what might have happened just as investigators would.
Just down the hall students dusted their fingerprints from a small cup, applied tape and collected the evidence for further use.
Aaron Passananti a seventh grader from Mann middle school said that he has always been interested in CSI and thought it was fun to see what the MPs need during their investigation process.
The MPs not only showed students how to collect evidence but also brought out JBLM’s Department of Emergency Service incident command vehicle, a large red recreational vehicle used as a mobile command post.
All the students where given an opportunity to climb through the vehicles and checkout what they had to offer, including the sirens on a patrol car, the definite favorite.
Martin Thomas a seventh grader from Mann Middle School said that he enjoyed meeting the Soldiers and participating in the hunt for the mock kidnapper.
He smiled as he said, “It’s better than writing sentences on the chalkboard all day.”
To provide these hands on experiences to children STEM-Works and the Military Child Education Coalition have partnered up.
They have recognized a need for military children to remain interested in science and math related subjects for a possibility to succeed in later career fields said Lindsey Groark, STEM program director with SMU. They completed a camp in March at Fort Hood, Texas that was a major success she added.
So with these ideas in mind they coordinated with the local military to bring out subject matter experts to interact with the students. The STEM-Works CSI camp plans to continue to travel around the country bringing this opportunity to communities near military installations.
All the Soldiers who were able to participate enjoyed interacting with the children during the CSI camp said Capt. Angela Zecca, 51st MP Detachment, operations officer for JBLM’s provost marshal’s office.
“It’s good for children to see and discover how patrolmen exist inside the gate and since a large portion of these kids live on post in military families it’s good to add a personal face to the officers,” she added. “Hopefully we help make them feel more secure.”
With the MPs back on post and the students going home for the day, the kidnapping has been solved. If everything has worked out according to plan, the children have seen an interesting way to think about math and science as well as connected with some of the law enforcement they might see from time to time.