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San Tan Valley Teens Inspired by Crime Scene Investigations at Youth CSI Summer Camp


It was an exhilarating week for nearly 50 teens who participated in the 2nd Annual Youth CSI Summer Camp in Pinal County. The camp offered a remarkable three-day immersive experience, giving young aspiring crime fighters an authentic taste of what the criminal justice field has to offer.

Jointly organized by the Pinal County Attorney's Office and Kayla Kully, who runs the STEM program at Poston Butte High School, the camp kicked off with an engaging session on DNA and fingerprinting. Students had the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in the processes involved.

"The aim is to expose them to the plethora of careers in the criminal justice system, and give them a realistic idea of what they entail," said Kully.

The excitement ramped up on the second day when the students witnessed a meticulously crafted mock crime scene at the high school, complete with a 'shooting,' a masked suspect, and paramedics treating 'victims'. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office played an integral part in bringing this scene to life. The teens were actively involved in searching for fingerprints and other evidence.

County Attorney Kent Volkmer expressed his enthusiasm, "It's an entire journey where they witness how a case evolves from the crime scene to the courtroom. And all this, in a truncated, three-day period."

On the final day, the campers were welcomed to the Pinal County Superior Court, where they witnessed a gripping mock trial. Real attorneys from the Pinal County Attorney's Office took on the roles of prosecution and defense, while the 'defendant' from the mock crime scene stood trial. The students also had the chance to play the jury.

"We wanted to show them the real-world environment of a courtroom," added Volkmer.

15-year-old Grace Woodall was deeply impacted by the experience. "I got to see what attorneys go through, and witnessing a trial was cool," she said. "This experience has definitely altered my career aspirations from acting to becoming a trial attorney."

The Youth CSI Summer Camp, which is free of charge, was made possible through the selfless dedication of dozens of volunteers striving to provide an as-real-as-possible experience for the participants.

Latisha Joseph, PCAO Community Liaison, hopes that the students gain "a new understanding of what it's like to be in law enforcement and what it takes to process scenes."

Both Kully and Volkmer expressed a sincere hope that this event will inspire these young minds to consider a future in the criminal justice system. "We need crime scene technicians, scientists, law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys," Volkmer stated.

The Pinal County Attorney's Office took a moment during the event to express its gratitude. Kent Volkmer gave a heartfelt presentation recognizing community partners including the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Poston Butte High School, AMR, and Rural Metro, for their unwavering commitment and dedication in making the CSI Event a success.

This incredible initiative exemplifies the commitment of the Pinal County community to fostering educational opportunities and nurturing the dreams of its young citizens. The Youth CSI Summer Camp has set a remarkable benchmark and is anticipated to grow in the coming years.

For San Tan Valley's youth who have an interest in the criminal justice field, this event has proven to be an eye-opener and a source of inspiration, and the community can take pride in the collaborative effort that made it happen.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2024

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