KSP visits Southeast

Published 8:45 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

Students got a crash course in what it is like to be a Kentucky State Trooper on Nov. 14. The EKU Criminal Justice Studies Department and the Kentucky State Police Post 10 paid a visit to the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical Center Middlesboro campus for a special forensics demonstration.

James Lawson and Carla Lawson, instructors from the EKU program, were present as were Post 10’s Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs and Detective Josh Howard.

The first leg of the demonstration took place outside with Howard and Jacobs both giving personal tours of a KSP police cruiser and the crime scene truck.

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Howard began by gathering the students at the truck with all of its various compartments opened so everything was clearly visible.

The purpose of the crime scene truck, as stated by Howard, is to carry equipment and supplies to scenes that a regular cruiser cannot normally carry. Everything a trooper or detective might need to spend long hours at the scene of a crime is hauled in the truck. Items such as tents, tables, supplies to cast molds of prints, boots, totes storing larger forms of evidence, various test kits for different categories of evidence, cleaning fluids, etc. may be found.

Howard went on to explain the differences between a detective and a road unit.

“Each case that we (detectives) get is assigned directly to us through a supervisor…what we work as a detective is any violent crime, any sexual assaults, suicide, robbery or anything with a body is going to fall to a detective,” he said.

In a year, Howard stated that any given detective at Post 10 will work 20 to 30 cases a year — which may not seem like that much, but the reality is far different.

“If I catch a murder case today I’ll probably be typing on it for the next month,” said Howard.

Regarding what it’s like to be a detective for the KSP, Howard said, “You’re not going to get rich by it. You do it because you want to make a difference in life.”

After Howard gave his presentation and took questions, Jacobs took his turn to address the students.

He started off by showcasing the cruiser and explained all of the unique features that make it function as a police vehicle such as the specially designed backseat and the various settings and specific functions the lights have. After the tour of the cruiser, Jacobs demonstrated the various tools on his belt including a firearm, taser, handcuffs, ammunition and baton.

“Troopers don’t like to use this (the baton) because troopers like distance,” said Jacobs.

It wasn’t just the more harrowing aspects Jacobs discussed with the students; it was also the more positive aspect of his job as public affairs officer.

“I raise money to take kids Christmas shopping, I go to schools to teach kids about safe driving, drugs. Whatever programs are out there I do it,” he said.

Other duties Jacobs performs as the public affairs officer are, naturally, handling the media at crime scenes and preparing press releases.

The demonstration then shifted inside where a PowerPoint presentation was given by Howard that went over the basics of the day to day procedures and guidelines detectives must use to be effective in their duties. Examples include the different types of crime scene layouts and how to gather evidence.

The PowerPoint was not only presented to the students at Southeast campus, but it was also streamed live to various other campuses in the region.