During the Arizona State Forensics Competition held at Canyon Del Oro High School on April 21, CDO took first place.

Mountain View High School finished in second place, and Ironwood Ridge High School placed fourth.

The competition consisted of six teams, comprised of 80 high school students. Students measured, swabbed, examined, and interviewed every possible angle of a mock crime scene.

During the two-day event, all of the teams were given the same crime scene to process and dissect, with the challenge of solving the crime using the same procedures that real investigators use.

In front of each group of students was a scene that depicted a murder scene, clad with a real actor playing the victim. Surrounding the victim was a desk, pool of blood, the possible murder weapon, along with numerous other clues for the students to work with.

“My favorite part was how excited they were and how challenged they felt; the fact that they challenged themselves,” said Shawn Benjamin, a CDO school resource officer. “Seeing 80 teenagers come together and do something like this was phenomenal.”

Judges included a forensics teacher, active and retired police officers, as well as the Investigations Supervisor for the Pima County Medical Examiners Office who critiqued students on proper procedures of collecting and handling evidence, interviewing suspects, along with how they worked together as a team.

“It’s a good program to get them interested in the science fields and seeing the practical application of how science can be utilized, whether it be in forensic science or something else,” Benjamin said.

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