SUNY Canton College Foundation Helps Criminal Investigation Students Gain Real-World Experience

CANTON, NY (11/07/2016)(readMedia)-- The SUNY Canton College Foundation helped 20 students learn how to crack cold cases and unravel the mysteries of complex crimes.

The College Foundation recently contributed nearly $6,000, or about 75 percent of the cost for each student to participate in a two-day symposium with Laura G. Pettler, Ph.D., a noted authority on physical and behavioral evidence. Pettler is an expert on crime scene staging, or the manipulation of evidence to misdirect an investigation, according to Elizabeth A. Brown, Ph.D., an associate professor who teaches in the Criminal Investigation program.

The training was previously reserved for law enforcement professionals. It was offered to a college-level audience for the first time at SUNY Canton. "Students would not have been able to access this professional-level training without assistance from the College Foundation," Brown said.

Pettler's approach is geared toward modern police investigation and interview techniques and employs the scientific method to focus on examining crime and the offenders who commit the acts.

"When our students analyze crime scenes, either in class or in real life, they can never discount the idea that the evidence has been altered," said Brown. "Dr. Pettler illustrated examples where the evidence had been moved to suggest something else had happened. Such manipulation could point to the wrong suspect or even make the case unsolvable."

Students said that the symposium used actual police files to help them establish the nature of a crime. "We actually got to solve a case and determine whether it was staged or not," said Marissa O. Woodworth of Malone. "This is exactly what I want to do when I graduate."

SUNY Canton Vice President for Advancement Anne M. Sibley said funding the seminar was one of the many ways that the College Foundation supports students and the college as a whole.

"We were glad to be able to facilitate this real-world experience and career preparation for Criminal Justice students," said Anne M. Sibley, vice president for advancement. ""Facilitating seminars, offering scholarships, faculty and staff development and campus enhancement awards are all ways that donor support helps advance the college's mission."

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college's faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as ten exclusively online bachelor's degrees. The college's 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.