Beginning last June, 27 members of the Police Department’s Scenes of Crime Unit began training with Hayden Baldwin, veteran crime scene investigator and president of the international association of crime scene personnel.
Baldwin’s participation was funded by the U.S. Embassy under its Central American Security Initiative, known as CARSI, and was intended to upgrade the standards of Belize’s crime scene technicians to international level. Today the newly minted crime scene investigators, or CSI’s, were handed their diplomas of completion at a graduation ceremony in Belize City at the Princess Hotel. Director of the National Forensic Science Service (NFSS), David Henderson, describes what they have learned
David Henderson – Director, National Forensic Science Service
“We have several topics as well that has been thought. First of all it was the crime scenes management , which really looked at the public, the police and other people visiting the crime scenes to know that you must respect crime scenes and that all crime scenes must be managed properly. Each and every scene might tell you what may have occurred or what may mot have occurred. In order for the investigators to properly interpret the scene, it must be properly cared for and managed in the right and proper way. We had the collection of prints, both latent and impression. Prints are ways where we are able to identify who may have done what. We have tire mark, again that will determine what vehicle may have gone within the area. We have the matter of blood splatter and several other things that will definitely better assist our personnel to assist law enforcement agents in more scientific evidence.”
According to Baldwin, in a job that is often very tough and not particularly glamorous, the key is to be sure of yourself and your instincts.
“I have the greatest respect for the Scenes of Crimes Unit. Until you have walked in their shoes, you have no idea what they have to go through when processing a crime scenes. I give a special shout out to their families. Their families are the ones that are sitting home waiting for them to return while they are out processing a crime scene and I know sometimes they may not be in the best of mood. We are in a line of work that sees humans at their worst, not their best. Unfortunately, what we get to deal with and handle, we do not see the best side of people. Sometimes, that takes a toll on a person while working. They have done very well through the assignments. It has been a challenge because of court and other commitments but surprisingly, I am pleasantly surprised that I have twenty- seven graduating today. It has been my honor to be here to help you along that path.”
Graduate Shernadine Peters says that she and her fellow investigators have a renewed sense of purpose for their very important work.
“This was a journey foretold, many sleepless nights, group studying, one on one reading, calling, texting and emailing but we have arrived. It is not the end of our journey but the beginning of what we have started. We are a unit, a small family. We may fight with each other but we also fight for each other. Like any normal functioning family, we are there for each other in times of need. We started this together and we will finish it in style. To my fellow students, we have been through so much together, we laughed together, we have cried together, we have processed scenes together, we stand our ground together, we fight together and we join hands in unity. Our journey is never ending as our world is forever changing. Let us continue to be all that we can be. Let us continue to fight the good fight. we might not see eye to eye on everything, but that is alright. we have made it together as a little family, strong, united in the honor of crime scenes. processing. “
The U.S. Embassy also funded millions of dollars of equipment for the new CSI Unit, everything from crime scene tape to plaster of paris for casting and other useful equipment. The NFSS is to receive a DNA unit courtesy of the $30 million loan from the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (CABEI)