Olivet students gain professional perspective on future law enforcement careers

When 75 criminal justice majors have the opportunity to participate in a mock crime scene and mock trial experience, the benefits extend into their future careers. 

For the fifth time in recent years, Olivet Nazarene University students benefited from a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement training experience. Right on their own campus, too.

Dr. Craig Bishop, professor in the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice, is grateful for the cooperation of local law enforcement in making this possible. "Olivet’s criminal justice program is blessed to have quality relationships with area criminal justice professionals,” he says. “This collaboration results in a unique learning experience for our students."

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Officers and detectives from the Bourbonnais Police Department, Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department, Bradley Police Department and Kankakee Police Department shared their expertise during the mock crime scene experience held on Olivet’s campus.

With two crime scenes and five learning stations, students learned about investigation techniques, tools and procedures. This year for the first time, two officers demonstrated the use of specially trained dogs as investigators in the K-9 unit.

"The mock crime scene has become more and more comprehensive,” says Sara Kitchen, a senior majoring in criminal justice. “Because of this experience, I have a better understanding of what to do at a crime scene, how to read different types of blood spatter, how important thorough photographing of a crime scene is, and how K-9 units work in a variety of situations."

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A few weeks later, Kankakee County Judge Clark Erickson presided over a mock jury trial in his courtroom at the Kankakee County Courthouse. Based on an actual case previously tried in Kankakee County, the trial followed legal procedures and protocol. Political science and criminal justice students took the roles of attorneys, jury, bailiff, court reporter, plaintiff, defendant and witnesses. During the trial, Judge Erickson provided instruction about the United States legal system.

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“This annual event allows us to get hands on with realistic tasks that we will likely perform in our future careers,” says Tyler A. Davis, a junior majoring in criminal justice. “This is an essential learning experience that all students interested in the criminal justice field should participate in before they graduate from Olivet.”

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To learn more about Olivet’s areas of study in criminal justice, political science and legal studies, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.