Southern Alberta high school students learn basics of forensics from RCMP

A group of Grade 11 and 12 students in the southern Alberta town of Bassano learned the basics of forensic identification last semester as part of a partnership with RCMP.

Lead by Const. Logan Tataryn, students in teacher Steven Muir’s class at Bassano School learned about gathering fingerprints, DNA and blood from a suspected crime scene, along with blood alcohol science and impaired driving.

“For the fingerprinting segment, Tataryn demonstrated to the students how fingerprints were obtained, how they are useful in solving crimes, as well as their purpose under the Identification of Criminals Act,” police said in a release.

Then in early December, students went to the Bassano RCMP detachment where they got to conduct experiments around splatter by throwing a tennis ball soaked in bovine blood against a wall.

“This exercise demonstrated how blood splatter worked with high velocity,” police said.

“For the blood alcohol concentration (BAC)/impaired session, students were brought to the detachment and were shown the steps taken in processing impaired drivers under both the provincial sanctions and Criminal Code.

“Tataryn also discussed the different blood alcohol limits and their respective punishments.”

To demonstrate how it works, an off-duty RCMP member also provided a breath sample after consuming two ounces of alcohol, showing the difference between shallow lung air, deep lung air and residual alcohol in the mouth.

“The focus of assisting with the school forensic course was to provide a bit more excitement and applied knowledge,” said Tataryn. “The hope was to have the students more involved by doing some practical exercises, and show them different aspects of policing that also involve science, math.”

Officials said the partnership between Alberta RCMP and the Grasslands School Division will continue.

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