Posted at: 10/22/2012 5:50 PM
Updated at: 10/22/2012 7:00 PM
By: Gordon Severson
Citizen Academy Part 3: Detectives
(ABC 6 News) -- Detectives often get glamorized in movies and TV.
They appear as sleek and smooth-talking young men in trench coats and fine hats.
But in the real world, detectives can be both men and women.
In part 3 of our ongoing series on the police academy, ABC 6 news reporter Gordon Severson introduces us to two female police detectives.
Most days aren't as glamorous as you may think.
We see it on the street, signaling a crime has just happened.
The thin yellow tape keeping people away only helps to strengthen our curiosity.
What happened? Is everyone okay?
"We really love what we do," says Rochester Police Detective Sheri Bush.
They're questions detectives Ann Johnson and Sheri Bush are hoping to answer.
"Child abuse and neglect, deaths. We investigate the non-homicides and actual homicides," Johnson says.
In week five of the citizen police academy, students get to go beyond the yellow tape.
Getting an inside look at what it's like to investigate a crime.
"So who wants to try with me?" Johnson asks the class.
Learning the skills and tools detectives use in the field.
Despite many advancements in technology, fingerprinting is still a vital tool for investigators.
Sometimes coming out perfect. Other times not so good.
It all depends on what the suspect touched.
"Wood doors, steering wheels, rocks, brick," Johnson says.
All are surfaces that are nearly impossible to get a print on.
But sometimes they get lucky using something called Micro-Sil.
A puddy-like gel used to pull prints out of tiny grooves.
While detectives get to use all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to catch the bad guys, most of the time they're simply asking questions.
"The interviews we do with kids are much difference then interview with an adult," Bush explains.
Sheri and Ann are the top child interviewers in the department, working on countless child abuse cases.
They can't say exactly how many, but they say it takes up most of their time.
"There's a lot more than I think you would realize," Bush says.
Both detectives have gone through extensive training in the Cornerhouse method.
An interview technique that helps detectives get unbiased and accurate information from children.
"I'm trying to get her to trust me so that she'll talk to me about what may or may not have happened for her," Bush says.
In class they showed us a few examples of abuse.
Due to the graphic nature of those pictures, we couldn't show them on TV.
Needless to say, Sheri and Ann have to deal with countless children.
"It's hard because there are kids that are the same age as my kids," Johnson says.
The interviews take place in a small room at the police department.
A very different room compared to what you might see on TV.
No concrete walls, no metal chair, and no bright light bulb staring the suspect in the face.
"I'm plain clothes. I do not wear my weapon. I do not wear my badge. I'm Sheri to them. That's who I am," Bush says.
A detective and a grandmother talking to kids at work and at home.
Using her skills to get to the bottom of any situation.
Sheri and Ann are just two of many officers in the police department's investigations division, all of whom bring their own set of skills and expertise to the team.
Next week in part four of the citizens' police academy, we'll get an inside look at the Olmsted County jail and see how the department handles suspects once they get caught.