Enforcing The Competition

LHS Criminal Science students on their way to state competition

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Back to Article

Enforcing The Competition

Chance Ross practices recording evidence for the 2019 regional Criminal Science competition.

Chance Ross practices recording evidence for the 2019 regional Criminal Science competition.

Chance Ross practices recording evidence for the 2019 regional Criminal Science competition.

Chance Ross practices recording evidence for the 2019 regional Criminal Science competition.

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The Lancaster High School Criminal Science and Law Enforcement program has earned a strong reputation of being fierce competitors and recently qualified for state competition in June.  Britney Rooker finished 3rd in the Criminal Justice competition and Chance Ross, Lisa Merk and Brandon Geary finished 1st place in the Crime Scene competition.  They will now head to the national competition June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

For months, the whole team focused on getting to the state SKILLS competition. Instructor, Jeff Eversole said the students have shown great dedication.

“They have come in [to school] at 6:00 am usually four to five days a week since Christmas to practice,” he said.

“They practice on their own because they know that in order to be one of the top schools in the region and state, it takes a lot of dedication and personal time to accomplish this.”

The LHS students in law enforcement have been training to compete in a mile and a half run, push ups, sit ups, lifting fingerprints, traffic stop procedures, and much more. Britney Rooker, who has qualified for state competition two years in a row says that the law enforcement course and experience in competition will help her advance in her career after high school.

“The training and education that I’m receiving in this class puts me at the top of the list for jobs in the law enforcement field,” she said.

“I will have credits from this class that most people will not have when they graduate from high school.”

Britney Rooker, 1st place winner of the regional criminal justice competition practices fingerprinting techniques.

For the students who compete in the crime scene investigation competition, detail is everything. The students are required to analyze a mock crime scene within 30 minutes. The task is arduous and students learn every phase of the investigation process from photographing the scene, locating evidence, lifting fingerprints, collecting DNA and blood samples, measuring the crime field, and recording information. Ross said that to win at the regional and state level, teamwork is vital, as each member has specific duties in analyzing a crime scene in a half hour during competition.

“I am tasked with processing and packaging the evidence, and making sure there is a tight seal to prevent contamination and to detect whether someone tampers with the evidence,” he said.

“Another member of the team is tasked with writing a detailed report of everything we did while in the scene. Another teammate is tasked with drawing a detailed and precise sketch of the crime scene and keeping a record of the measurements and the evidence log.”

The regional and state competitions are very competitive and the slightest mistake could mean the difference between winning and losing.

“The crime scene competition is very competitive,” said Alexis Howland.

“Most of the time the top three teams are only a couple points away,” she said.

There are more than 200 career technical schools in Ohio and all schools that have a Law Enforcement program like LHS are able to enter the competition. Lancaster High School has built a strong reputation on the regional and state levels. Two years ago the crime scene team finished first at regionals and third at state. Last year they placed first in the regional and second at state. Mr. Eversole credits the program’s success on the strong support of the administration and community.

Jerry Cainfield lifts fingerprints from the crime scene and records them as evidence

“Because of the administration at Stanbery and LHS, I’ve been able to purchase equipment that police officers train with to give the students experience,” he said.

“I also need to thank the Lancaster Police Department, Fairfield County Hospital, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department, and the Fairfield County Dog Warden for allowing our students to do internships with them at the end of their senior years.”

Mr. Eversole, who has a background in law enforcement said he pushes the students to do their best.

“When they leave here, the real world is waiting and if they are not ready for it, then they will fail, so I take it very personally when a student does not do well in the course.”

Not all of the students who take the Criminal Science and Law Enforcement course become police officers. In fact, Mr. Eversole said that some students have eventually sought future careers in nursing, engineering, and military, in addition to entering the police academy. Brandon Geary said he joined the program because military and law enforcement has always been a passion for him.

“I want to help others when they need it most and I want to make sure that future generations have the same freedoms and opportunities I have and one of the ways to do that is to serve my community,” he said.

“This program is the stepping stone for me to do that and I am proud to be a cadet in the program.”