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Police, prosecutors learn lessons from mock crime scene

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Oct 21 2011 03:42:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 21 2011 05:09:27 PM CDT

The right evidence can make or break a criminal case.

BERN TWP., Pa. -

A mock crime scene helps police and prosecutors solve more cases, officials said.

The Berks County Chief's of Police Association sponsored a week-long, 40 hour evidence technician training course at the Berks County District Attorney's forensic laboratory in Bern Township.

"All the challenges that these officers will face are certain disciplines, whether it be finger print, processing, collection of DNA, photography, even scene security," said Sgt. Robert Johnson, District Attorney's Forensic Services Unit.

The annual training event is offered to all police departments in Berks County for free, said Johnson, who added that up to $3,000 worth of supplies are used during the duration of training. Sixteen officers took part in the training.

"We find that, on the average, about 40 percent of the scenes that we go to are the scenes that give us physical evidence, meaning 60 percent generally don't give us physical evidence in which we are actually going to catch the person," said Johnson.

Ofc. Robert Wood, Northern Berks Regional Police Department, said all the officers had to work together to examine the mock crime scene and document evidence.

"Without the photos, the jury or anybody else, any investigators or even the lead officers may not have seen something that we've found," said Wood. "So we're taking a moment in time and freezing that so they can analyze it later."

M. Theresa Johnson, first assistant district attorney, said evidence gathered at crime scenes is crucial for her staff to prosecute cases.

"Every time you have a scene or you have a case, you're always going to learn something new from it," said Johnson. "'We are constantly training."