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Inaugural Forensic Science Course Offers Hands-On Experience in Modern-Day Policing and Law Issues

Students researched cutting-edge issues then organized conference to present findings to alumni working in the field

Someone just confessed to murder on Reddit. On Facebook, someone is soliciting young girls to send sexualized photos and then distributing them through his Friends list. And on Twitter, a woman is tweeting such aggressive messages at an ex-boyfriend that he fears for his life.

Police and the courts are finding social media to be a brave new world when it comes to determining who is breaking the law primarily because users can hide behind anonymous or fake accounts.

Trent University students explored this and many other topics in modern-day law and policing in a new fourth-year Forensics course that offers cutting-edge research and hands-on experience.

The course, Advanced Topics in Law and Policing FRSC 4380H, offered 18 students the chance to explore a particular area of law and policing and then organize a year-end conference to present their findings to alumni currently working in the field.

About 80 people attended this conference on April 17 at the Trent Student Centre as the students spoke, in pairs or solo, to the audience about their research topics such as: the need for cybercrime experts in court, how to enhance diversity in police services, best practices for policing and mental health, and the challenges and solutions with community policing. 

The inaugural course, open to Forensic science students both core and joint majors, offered student Jesyka Galasso a chance to research the challenges police services face in hiring more visible minorities and also gave her invaluable experience in planning a conference.

Ms. Galasso, who has her undergraduate Forensic Science degree and is now studying Anthropology, says she loved the team effort behind the conference and learning the logistics of event planning. She also now feels less intimidated to speak to policing professionals since she did so frequently as part of her research.

Fourth-year Forensic Science student Tamara Newell-Bell says organizing the conference taught her collaboration and project-planning skills while the research itself enhanced her writing and networking skills.

Professor Rhonda Smith says she loves the fact that, through the conference, the students are being of service to the professions they hope to one day join.

“They are also gaining experience working in teams to achieve a common goal,” Prof. Smith says. “And they are exposed to principles of project management, time management, professional presentations, logistics, media and communications, finances and publishing, which can be carried over into any roles they take on in their careers.”

Find out more about Trent’s Forensic Science program.

Posted on April 18, 2019