LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Students were finally ushered into a dark room of the Laurel County Health Department that served as the morgue in the scenario. Det. Tracy Haynes, in full theatrical makeup, laid out on a table for students to examine. Becky Patton of the Laurel County Health Department served as the coroner and answered any students’ questions.
The scene served as a somber reminder as to why participants were being taught such a scenario in the first place. Det. Billy Correll, who led students through the overall process, was quick to point out how important it is that detectives wade through the static and get the facts they need.
“It’s hard for people not to jump to a conclusion and blame people like the boyfriend or neighbor,” Correll said. “But it’s important to answer why any victim is dead, according to the facts.”
As students learned, that process is not always ideal. Answers to questions don’t come swiftly and are often the opposite of what’s expected.
“This isn’t ‘C.S.I.,' we can’t solve a crime in 45 minutes and we can’t tell you what you ate and who you ate with. That’s just not realistic,” said Det. Correll.
Correll went on to explain that most modern juries suffer from what he calls the ‘C.S.I.’ effect. There’s a certain amount of expected evidence from detectives that at certain points borders on the absurd. The detective claims that most juries wish to be entertained or at least intrigued throughout the judicial process.
Although troopers and detectives may be tasked with an alarming amount of emergency calls, auto accidents and criminal cases, Correll insists that taking your time and collecting the right amount of evidence is key to building a case and doing the job correctly.
“The scene is the most important thing to me after a crime has been committed,” Correll continued. “I slow my roll when there’s a death present, as long as there are others pursuing suspects.”
Monday evening’s class marked the sixth week of Post 11’s Citizen's Police Academy. For more information on the CPA or KSP Post 11 in general, contact the post directly at (606) 878-6622.