Numerous law enforcement agencies including the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and Urbana Police Division converged on the Champaign County Community Center in Urbana earlier this week to participate in the Inside The Tape Homicide & Crime Scene Management Training Program.
Hosted by Sheriff Matt Melvin and his office, the three-day training session focused on instructing law enforcement officers to successfully investigate and prosecute violent offenders.
“Because of its unique presentation and course content, this continues to be one of the most requested and popular death investigation training courses available today,” the training program’s website states.
Melvin added the training course was viewed as an opportunity for detectives in his department to hone their skills by learning the latest in crime scene technology and investigative techniques.
Melvin said he was considering sending his detectives to the Queen City to take part in one of the training sessions, which costs $295 a person. Host agencies, however, receive free tuition, so Melvin reached out to organizers to express his interest in hosting a training session here in the county.
“Initially, I was going to send one or two detectives to the Cincinnati Police Department when it hosted the training, however, hosting the training myself allowed us to send four people from my office,” he added.
Led by instructor David Newman, a retired investigator who served on the Norfolk Police Division in Virginia for 23 years, the program was established in 2001 to help attendees develop strategies that lead to better documentation of violent crime scenes.
When it comes to prosecuting those accused of committing the crime, the program’s website states, “Successful prosecution always begins at the initial crime scene.”
Taking this belief into practice, the training session also focused on collecting, documenting and analyzing evidence, as well as the importance of each law enforcement agency using the proper crime scene protocol at all times.
“(The training program’s) main purpose is to correct mistakes made during the handling and collection of evidence and to know what to look for,” Melvin said. “That’s the way you learn. You learn from the mistakes of the past.
“Evidence gathering is one of the most important parts of a criminal investigation and, if not done properly, can lead to a defense victory during trial,” he added.
Along with personnel from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and Urbana Police Division, the training session was attended by representatives of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Whitehall Police Division, Bucyrus Police Division, Bellefontaine Police Division, Hilliard Police Division and Butler Township Police Division.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304.