206 Student Services Building
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
Crime Lab Internship
Employer: Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory - Bridgeport Post
Description of the Organization
The Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Bridgeport is responsible for analyzing evidence from the police in the tri-cities area, surrounding counties, and the nearby state and federal agencies. This lab has the capability to analyze evidence in the latent print unit, arson/footwear/trace unit, firearms/tool mark unit, biology unit, and drug unit. They also host a division of the bomb squad.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
I had different tasks required of me for the different units in the lab. In the Latent Print Unit I would photograph prints. In the Firearms unit I would catalog test shots. In the drug, arson, and biology units, I would mostly observe and do basic science lab tasks because of the sensitivity of the tests. When it was slow at the lab, sometimes I spent some time doing clerical work or arranging equipment.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
I learned a lot at the lab. I learned how to use the majority of the equipment including a Gas Chromatographer/Mass Spectrometer, Infrared Spectrometer, Cyanoacrylate Fuming Chamber, UV Alternate Light Source Photography Equipment, etc. I also learned how to perform many tests ranging from identifying Marijuana and Heroin to bullet trajectory, to detecting blood.
Favorite Part of the Experience
My favorite part was doing all the things that most people wouldn't get a chance to do at a regular job. I was able to handle a tremendous variety of firearms. I worked with controlled substances every day, including helping to analyze 500 marijuana plants in a couple days. I was also able to learn how to make ballistics gel for a special experiment in which we compared the penetration of different bullet loads. In the same experiment we compared the entrance and exit wounds of the loads in a pig skull and artificially manufactured bone.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
It has given me a firm foundation in the field as well as allowed me to network with many individuals. I have learned a lot and I have professional references that will allow me to get another internship or a job in this field sooner than if I had not had this internship.
All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.
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