University Communications

Offers Crime Scene Investigation Course

Immaculata University´s Sociology/Criminology Department is offering a unique new course this fall, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). This four-credit course includes a faculty lab that gives students the rare opportunity to investigate simulated crime scenes under direction from faculty and officers from a major metropolitan police department. Students are able in this learning environment to apply classroom instruction to real-life criminology investigations.

The course introduces students to crime scene investigation procedures, explaining the difference between Hollywood portrayals and actual CSI work, and equipping them to properly respond to, secure, preserve, and document crime scenes. Students are learning to identify and collect fingerprints, bodily fluids, and ballistic evidence; to photograph, sketch, and videotape the scene; and to interview witnesses.

The course exposes students to general forensic science techniques. It emphasizes the importance of following these guidelines to prevent valuable evidence from being compromised, which can lead to questions about its reliability from defense attorneys. The class is also exploring legal and ethical issues involved in searching public and private property, interrogating suspects, and crime scene processing. James Konieczny, an experienced member of a Chester County municipal police department, is the primary instructor for the course, and he is assisted by members of a city law enforcement agency.

"What inspired me to create the course was a recognition that the current diversified structure of law enforcement in the United States sometimes causes gaps in training," says Konieczny. "This course is intended to help address that issue by educating future first responders and others not seeking a career in the criminal justice system." The course has proven very popular with students, even early in the semester, and it will be offered again in spring 2012.

Immaculata University, a Catholic, comprehensive, coeducational institution, is located 20 miles west of Philadelphia, south of the intersection of routes 30 and 352, between Paoli and Exton.