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UNCP takes part in first Criminal Justice GamesBy Dan Kelly
It is a brooding night at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke as a student, Lisa Allen, exits the Dial building’s north side after her night class.
Suddenly, a shrill voice is heard and Allen is tackled to the ground.
As Det. Tyler delves into the investigation, he learns that Allen was having a relationship with a married man whose wife had been threatening and stalking her.
That obsessed wife is none other than UNCP Professor Jenilee Pike.
It won’t be up to veteran crime scene investigators to match these fingerprints, but groups of criminal justice students across North Carolina.
The previous fictional scenario is part of UNCP’s entry into the CJ College Olympic Games that took place March 23 and 24 in Edneyville, N.C.
Seven North Carolina schools showed up for the two-part competition at the Larry T. Justus Western Justice Academy:
• University of North Carolina at Pembroke
• Nash Community College
• Forsyth Technical Community College
• University of North Carolina at Wilmington
• Surrey County College
• Wayne Community College
• Coastal Carolina Community College
The competition began with the schools competing in criminal justice “Jeopardy” on the first day and working on the school-created CSI stages the next day.
A third competition involves three judges deciding on the best stage in terms of design.
“When you are doing something that’s never been done before, you have to convince everyone that they can do it,” Fuller said.
The competition, though, was primarily meant to be a learning experience that would expose students to more aspects of criminal justice than the students probably realized.
The first place this was noticeable was how the criminal justice jeopardy and crime scene building happened simultaneously, forcing teams to organize into groups that would focus on specific tasks.
The trivia ranged from easy fare relating to popular movies like “The Shawshank Redemption” to constitutional law questions.
Of the seven teams that showed up, only UNCP, Forsyth and Nash had CSI stages.
If a few of those names seem familiar, that’s because the previous grisly murder scene was a 20-minute video used as a backdrop for the UNCP scenario.
The three stages of their scenario become more complex as there is a progression from simple fingerprint matching to inferring what the evidence means to both sides of the case.
The other two stages offered different challenges for the competitors.
“Hopefully, maybe they can walk away with a little spark of the passion we have,” said Stefanie Barton, Forsyth student competitor.
The Nash Community College team also set their scenario outdoors but required the competitors to be far cleverer than in other stages.
The pooling at the face and the lack of apparent wounds would lead an investigator to believe that the man was not murdered.
UNCP was only able to finish the Nash Community College stage and most of the Forsyth one until time expired and the final scores had to be tabulated.
“We didn’t search beyond the scene, you know, maybe something was down in the creek,” Richmond said.
The judges gave the award ranking the stages in the competition.
Afterwards, there was a good-natured medal ceremony where large stacks of them were given out and a large portion of the competitors received one.
“Competition is not fun while you’re doing it, it hurts. Where competition is really fun is after it’s all over,” Fuller said.