Rockland middle school students investigate crime scenes

Nov 22, 2012
Detective Russell Thompson visits with the Rockland After School Alliance CSI club.

For the past seven weeks middle school students who participated in the Rockland After School Alliance program "CSI" have been playing detective.

On the first day of programming students were given a crime scene to investigate and evidence to collect including hair, powder, fibers, fingerprints, a smear of lipstick and a footprint.

Each following week students tested their evidence using forensic science skills. Labs included fingerprinting analysis, chromatography, dichotomy keys, forensic odontology, hair and fiber analysis, and blood typing. Students also learned skills in handling and operating a microscope to help them analyze evidence.

During the last week of RASA programs, Detective Russell Thompson of Rockland Police Department came as a guest speaker. Students shared with him the forensic labs they had conducted as well as asked questions regarding his experience as a seasoned detective in the Midcoast. Students questions ranged from, “What is the silliest crime you’ve ever investigated?” to what steps should they take to become a police officer or detective. Thompson gave them words of encouragement by saying that all of the forensic science labs that they conducted in "CSI" are ones that are used every day in the forensic science field.

RASA is a program of Youthlinks offered in collaboration with RSU 13 supported by a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant from the Maine Department of Education. For more information concerning the Rockland After-School Alliance, please call Youthlinks: 594-2221 or visit

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