High school CSI competition held in Elizabethton

ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) – 130 high school students from around the region competed today to see who was the best High School CSI.

The Elizabethton High School Criminal Justice Program hosted the 3rd Annual Crime Scene Investigation Competition at Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church, in Elizabethton, TN with eleven schools from across the region participating. This event was a competition between teams of high school students, the teams participated in crime scene scenarios and were asked to demonstrate techniques and skills learned through their course of study in their schools’ Criminal Justice programs.

Some of the skills that will be evaluated for each team include crime scene searches, crime scene sketching, evidence collection, blood spatter, foot / footwear molds and impressions, standardized field sobriety tests, and latent fingerprints. The competition was judged by local law enforcement personnel throughout the region. Elizabethton High School Criminal Justice Teacher Ryan Presnell talks about the judging, ” We’re gonna name a winner in each individual competition as well as an overall winner, but the most important thing is that these young folk get to interact with law enforcement, get to display their skills for law enforcement.”

Presnell says this is currently one of the most popular classes in high school, “Right now in Elizabethton, we have two instructors, we’re one of the only schools in the state to have two criminal justice instructors. We’ve got several kids in military and law enforcement who have learned about the environment and started their learning in this process in the high school setting. It’s very successful, it’s very popular and I think it’s just really important for local law enforcement, state law enforcement that we continue to train these young people in how they should be and how they carry themselves.”

Both state and local law enforcement officers acted as judges for the competition and Presnell says they were impressed with the students, “I’ve had numerous judges come up to me and say I would take that kid right now out to a crime scene and I would let them work the crime scene.”

Shows like CSI and other TV shows and movies are very popular and that helps draw kids in, but Presnell says that is only the beginning, “A lot of things on TV in Hollywood have had a lot to do with it, kind of one of the things that gets them in the chair. Once they sit in the chair and we start teaching them the real things, the real things are even more fascinating than what you would actually see on TV. They’re very energetic, they’re very enthusiastic and, again, I think that’s one of those things that law enforcement officers that show up as judges really take from this is like, wow, these kids really want to know about what I do and that’s very motivating for a police officer who, maybe on a daily basis encounters a lot of negative things, maybe some negative attitudes, to get to deal with a populous that is very positive toward what they do.”

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