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CSI: Stratford STEM Magnet High School

Guest Author – The Academies of Nashville Blog

As Criminal Justice students at Stratford learn, “M.O.M.” is the acronym for motive, opportunity, and means. It is a common formula used in criminal investigations, forensic analysis of evidence, and investigative case management. In this case, the “O” in “M.O.M.” applies to the opportunity Stratford teachers were recently given by the Metro Nashville Police Department to shadow and work with Police officials to develop engaging curriculum for the students in the high school’s Criminal Justice Program. These “externships” allow the Stratford staff to gain a real world hands on experience that enables them to collaborate on the development of a project based learning model that will be implemented on a school-wide basis during the school year.

The Metro Nashville Police Department is a strong business partner with Stratford and a valuable supporter of its extensive Criminal Justice program, especially the Student Criminal Justice Cadet Corps.

The Stratford staff were imbedded at the Police Training Academy, the Forensic Laboratory, and the Executive Management COMSTAT meeting.  This intense participation enabled the teachers and managers to better understand the best ways to prepare Stratford STEM Magnet High School students for a career in criminal justice, corrections, and law.

Highlights at the Training Academy consisted of learning how the Police serve the community with pride and professionalism.  A detailed overview of their hiring process including qualifications, Untitled-2experience, and education requirements.  This will assist the Stratford staff in identifying the best goals and objectives for the students, and what is realistically required to be competitive in a criminal justice career.  A briefing of the student internship program which provides an opportunity to observe and work in various units of the police department such as Records Division, Identification Unit, Secondary Employment Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, Case Preparation Division etc. Students will learn about the departments staffing, mission, activities, records, and services.  In addition, the Stratford staff received an extensive tour of the training facilities, K-9, defensive driving, aviation, and firearms programs.

Highlights at the Forensic Laboratory consisted of tours of the DNA Serology Unit, Drug Identification Unit, Latent Finger Print Unit, Firearms Unit, Tool Mark Unit, and Toxicology Unit. A detailed briefing about how the forensic analysis of evidence is critical to the successful identification and prosecution of criminals. The Stratford staff was especially interested in how the evidence analysis report is documented and how it is used during the judicial process. The Stratford staff learned that they must prepare their students to master attention to detail, provide concise documentation, observe strict laboratory protocol, exhibit dedication to duty, and service to community.

Highlights of the Executive Management Command staff consisted of attending and observing an Executive Briefing on Computer Statistics aka Compstat, an effective, adaptable and flexible management model or paradigm utilized by Metro Police Command. Compstat has been applied with great success in controlling crime and disorder.

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