Crime solving strengthened by cross-border training

For the fourth year in a row, students from California State University Long Beach (Cal State) visited BCIT for an in-depth international forensic experience. Not only do students become better prepared to work on trans-national crimes, the Vancouver experience helps students gain a comparative perspective between the US and Canada.

Mock scene to develop real skills

The for-credit Forensic Science and Technology course kicks off with a mock crime scene, where students dressed in full “bunny” suits – often for the first time – go through the actual phases of incident investigation and best practices in evidence collection. They are briefed with a police log describing the scene encountered by police, and accompanying relevant details of what occurred prior to the forensic investigators’ “processing.” One year the scene involved a helicopter crash.

Watch the summer field school overview video.

Following the crime scene immersion, students move on to lab work, and then legal issues such as court testimony. With topics including DNA, toxicology, drug analysis, and digital forensics, different experts are brought in to teach their specialty.

Well-rounded international exposure

Cal State Professor John Wang emphasizes the strength and breadth of the BCIT program, which emphasizes academics, hands-on experience, and culture, as well as social aspects. “Our students learn a lot through the two weeks of training – this course perfectly fits their needs as it gives them international experience.”

After graduation the students usually work in law enforcement, courts, crime scene technician roles, or in corrections as parole or probation officers.

“It is a great experience,” according to student Juan Sandoval. Following the usual BCIT emphasis of real-world training, he noticed the emphasis on working with others. “I will take away a lot of team work skills – teamwork really helps to make sure you don’t leave any evidence behind. We have done a lot of team-building exercises.”

“Teamwork really helps to make sure you don’t leave any evidence behind” – student Juan Sandoval

“We’re really pleased to have the students from California back up here in Canada,” added BCIT Forensics instructor Jason Moore. “We had another strong year: the students have learned a lot, and it is helping shape their decisions about which career areas they would like to head into in the future.”

Did you know Forensics has some online offerings? Check out the new Graduate Certificate in Forensic Investigation of Fraud and Financial Crime – fully online, or the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Health Science – partly online, and laddering into an online Master of Science in Forensic Nursing from Aspen University.

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