LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Imagine you’re sent to investigate a crime scene. It involves a fire in a small, cramped apartment. A woman also died here from a gunshot wound. Two experts are available to help, along with two primary suspects. What do you do?
This was a situation presented to students at the Citizen's Police Academy, sponsored by the Kentucky State Police Post 11, on Monday. Five detectives and three troopers guided participants through the process of the crime scene investigation.
The 16 attending the Monday class were guided through a scenario in which a young woman – played by Det. Tracy Haynes – who lives by herself was found dead inside her burning residence. She died from a single gunshot wound to the right temple.
Students were broken into groups and first asked to inspect the charred crime scene that still reeked of smoke. A giant metallic box that served as the apartment was provided by KSP, a training device used by local fire departments.
Det. Jeff Senters played the role “Jethro Centerpiece,” an aged and bitter detective that was playfully resentful to any questions from students. Det. Brian Lewis assisted him, playing a friendly but ego-filled fire chief, “Brian ‘Smokey the Bear’ Luthor.”
“That’s not something I want to answer at the moment. I’ve answered enough over my career,” said Det. Senters with half a grin, when questioned by participant Logan Gay.
Detectives Mark Allen and John Barnett continued the charade by playing the boyfriend, “Marco ‘Greedy’ Annel," and neighbor “John Wayne Bobbitt," respectively. Students found themselves holding back laughter while watching the two KSP detectives play stereotypically uncooperative witnesses and suspects.
“I just want to go back inside and watch ESPN in my house,” said Barnett to a laughing audience. “Sure, I have an arson charge but that was blown way out-of proportion by my ex-wife.”