October 6, 2021
One victim, three crime scenes to investigate and if the scenarios are pieced together correctly, the detectives get their arrest warrant and a better understanding of what they will experience in the field.
"Death investigations are much more complex than what you see portrayed on TV," said D/F/Lt. Chuck Christensen, commander of the MSP Fifth District Special Investigation Section. "Every investigator leaves here with fundamentals to build upon and an understanding of what and who is available to them to ensure they're successful solving crimes."
Thirty-seven officers from agencies across Michigan participated in the one-week training led by Christensen in conjunction with the Michigan State Police (MSP) Organizational Development Division and Michigan State University (MSU) School of Criminal Justice.
"With investigators from Menominee in the Upper Peninsula and, on the flip side, women and men from the State Police's Metro South Post in the Detroit-area, we have an excellent mix of experience," said Christensen. "Some officers haven't investigated a homicide yet, which is good. Others are much more familiar."
The culmination of the course is mock crime scene scenarios that allow students to practice skills in hands-on crime scene preservation, evidence collection, homicide investigation and media relations during a press conference.
"Training together is great for networking and sharing what works best for each of us, our individual skills," said D/Sgt. Brian Buege, assigned to the MSP Lansing Post. "We're forming partnerships with officers from other agencies we may work with during an investigation."
The course is in high demand with 90 officers signing up for this session and only 37 able to be accommodated. It wasn't held during 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Unfortunately, crime continues," said Christensen. "We prepare new investigators the best we can. The goal being to hold the suspect accountable. Real people are involved, and they deserve that respect."