LANSING, Mich.– The scenarios are meant to be as real as possible. Michigan State Police and Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice hosted homicide investigation training, complete with role playing.
“I don’t think the public or people who are not in law enforcement understand the magnitude of what has to be done,” said Zachary Sparks, Detective Trooper with the Michigan State Police Rockford Post.
Detective Trooper Sparks is one of a few dozen students attending advanced training at Michigan State Homicide School. He hopes to one day advance to a lead investigator. For this MSP veteran and his fellow students, they’re learning how to take control of homicide scenes, organize evidence, and handle curious citizens.
“A homicide is very emotionally charged,” said Lieutenant Chuck Christensen. “You might have family members trying to get into the scene. They’re crying, they’re emotional, and if that scene isn’t locked down, you will start losing evidence.”
Detectives say television and movies have given people the misconception that investigation can be wrapped up within an hour, when in reality, it can take days, even years. For that reason, detectives ask the public to be patient. But many times, they actually need people to help their investigations.
“We ask people to talk, tell us what’s going on,” said Detective Trooper Sparks. “A lot of times people won’t share information because it is happening within their community, for fear of retaliation from neighbors.”
The school is offered once a year and typically accepts 30 students. It costs $700 per student, which is paid for by that student’s respective department.