Fourth Graders Practice Sleuthing Skills with CJFI


A child practices fingerprint analysis in a class led by the Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation. Photo by Austin Tillison.

by Madison Parker

A hundred fourth graders at Kitty Stone Elementary School got a hands-on lesson in how law enforcement catches bad guys when faculty and students from the Jax State Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation visited the Jacksonville area school on March 1. 

The JSU team set up five learning stations for the aspiring investigators and provided them interactive investigation workbooks to record their findings as they moved through the following lessons: 

  • Finding their investigator code name and creating clues about suspects
  • Shoe print analysis, using a dental stone
  • Handwriting analysis
  • Fingerprint analysis, using magnetic powder
  • Blood pattern analysis, using Bluestar reactant

“I have been honored to work alongside great mentors in private investigations, crisis mitigation and preparedness, and crime prevention, as well as my colleagues at Jax State, who bring years of real-world experience to the department,” said Leah Simmons, the office assistant and adjunct faculty member who coordinated the program. "It was a joy organizing this event to share our expertise with area children, who may one day want to pursue careers in this field."

The students watched in amazement as they discovered new things at each station. “This is what I want to do when I grow up!” one fourth grader exclaimed. The experience was also rewarding for the JSU students who volunteered.

“Seeing the lightbulb go off when it started to make sense gave me a sense of pride and just added to one of the biggest reasons why I love being a part of the Jax State CJ/FI department,” said Destiny Sullens, a forensic investigations student. "It is important to be able to share what we do with the younger generation, because they could be the next group of CJ/FI students who finds their passion in this field.”

Learn more about JSU Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation at