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Irvington Teens Become Forensics Investigators

IRVINGTON, N.Y. — The crime scene was littered with clues: a broken window, a bit of bloodied glass, a missing painting, a knife, a screwdriver, car keys and a hat.

Police cordoned off the area with police tape, making sure the area was intact. Then they called in the investigators: a group of tweens and teens.

The Irvington Library hosted a mock crime scene put together by members of the Irvington Police Department on Monday afternoon so the library’s teen and tween participants could learn about forensics and crime scene investigations.

Sergeants Michael Foley and Michael Buck lead the brief lesson on forensics, describing how police go about collecting evidence and answering questions from the audience. They also created a mock crime so that the participants could investigate.

Foley warned the group that real life is not like the television show CSI , where investigators go in, take one hair sample and then determine what happened.

“A lot of that is TV, and what happens on TV is not necessarily reality,” he said.

The library hosted the event because many teens have an interest in forensics and CSI, said Teen Librarian Steve Fondiller.

“This is also an opportunity for them to learn how the police works, how the law works and it’s an opportunity to understand better what’s going on in their community because unfortunately in Irvington we do have crime,” he said.

Fondiller also said the program is a way for teens to see the police in a different light—usually they meet them through programs such as D.A.R.E.

The first thing Foley and Buck taught the group: people leave something behind wherever they go.

“What’s something that happens to all of us,” Foley asked. “You walk around, hairs fall out. That’s something that happens all the time.”

Buck said that police don’t collect every piece of evidence they find. They usually pick the best examples they can find.

“I can’t go with a U-Haul truck and submit a whole van to the evidence lab,” Buck said, noting that he’d be upset if some guy dumped a lot of evidence in his lap. “You make an educated guess and you pick what you think is the best.”

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