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CSI: Roane County Youth Edition

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By Kaitlin Keane

A group of middle school-aged students were immersed in their own crime scene investigation this summer.

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The Roane County Sheriff’s Youth Academy was like a “CSI” spinoff that took place at Roane County High School.

Instead of relaxing by the pool or playing video games, these students were able to get a better look into what the sheriff’s office does and what all goes into law enforcement.

There’s another benefit.

“The course builds great relationships with law enforcement and the kids that come through,” said Lt. Daryl Cook.

The students learn about patrol officers, what goes into a traffic stop, see a police dog demonstration, and get a hands-on approach to crime scene investigation.

They are also taken on tours of the sheriff office, 911 center and the juvenile center.

And there’s an outdoor aspect: They get to interact with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officers to learn boating safety.

“This has been a fun and interesting experience,” said 13-year-old Natalie Slowik.

Slowik is considering law enforcement as a future career.

Even those who go on different career paths make fond memories.

“We get kids from years back that say they still have a souvenir that they fingerprinted from CSI day,” Cook said.

Information was sent out to area middle schools for students to be recommended to take the summer course.

School resource officers like Cook also play a role in getting students involved. This is the youth academy’s third year in Roane County.