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Police officers practice crime scene investigations at local hotel

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EUREKA- Visitors to Eureka’s Best Western hotel were in for a surprise Friday morning as bodies, evidence markers, and blood were scattered about the vicinity.

“Today we have what looks like it was probably a murder at the back side of this car and we've got evidence strewn all over the place and all kinds of stuff,” said Arcata Police Officer Luke Scown.

But the crime scenes were all part of a hands-on, week long crime scene investigation training course put on by College of the Redwoods and Peace Officers Standards in Training. The bodies were stuffed dummies and the blood, pigs’ blood.

6 days, 60 hours of training and today police officers from across Humboldt County are putting their crime scene investigation skills to the test.

But on scene it was like CSI in real life.  12 officers from Arcata, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt State University were split in four groups, working two guest rooms and two car crime scene scenarios.

“We’re going to be collecting and fingerprinting a lot of that, photographing it all, collecting blood drops and things like that. And looking for a lot of stuff that's often just missed and overlooked,” Scown said.

The officers were given just four hours to complete their investigations. But the rigorous exercise is just one of many in the weeklong program.

“This is designed to show law enforcement officers, crime scene technicians and others that are connected in law enforcement all the different types of physical evidence that they may encounter at crime scenes, and what to look for, where to search and to make the important observations that may connect individuals to a crime scene or link up crime scenes with one another,” said Course Instructor Tom Keener.

The class ends on Saturday. At that time the officers will have clocked 60 hours of training in just six days time. The officers say they will return to their agencies with more knowledge and refined crime solving skills.

“We're building on a lot of stuff that we have already done or that we do on a regular basis and just helping to hone those skills and get better at them so that we can better serve the community and do a better job,” Scown said.