NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – New Rochelle High School student Ashley Turcan played the role of administrator on her crime scene investigator team while being monitored and graded by a New Rochelle Police officer from the department’s PACT unit.
“It’s nice to have everyone help with helping students learn,” Turcan said.
Turcan was one of 130 junior and senior students to take a mock crime scene exam Wednesday afternoon as part of a final in forensic science teacher Scott Rubins' Forensic Science elective course.
Students take the college-level course after enrolling in Syracuse University's Project Advance program.
Rubins, who teaches the elective course with other NRHS science teachers during the 40-week school year uses the help of former students to set up makeshift crime scenes for students to apply knowledge they learned throughout the year, as well as think through the processes of how to investigate a crime scene.
New Rochelle Police officers and detectives in the Police And Community Together unit then evaluate and grade the students on how they use these skills and processes after acting as the first responders to a scene and closing it off for investigation.
This year's scene started out as a robbery, but then students found several smaller scenes within it.
“It gives credit to the classes,” said one detective, Jason Buono. “It probably helps the students focus a little bit knowing that an actual police officer is watching over them and watching them."
Rubins has given the mock crime scene final exam at New Rochelle’s Nature Study Woods the past 15 years in conjunction with the police department’s Police And Community Together unit.
Rubins said the presence of actual officers on-site creates a connection between the school, police and community.
“There’s nothing bad about it,” he said.