OHS forensic science acquires dust print lifter

Imagine for a moment that you are a crime scene investigator for the local police department. You are en route to a local gas station to help process a crime scene. The owner was found brutally murdered with two gunshot wounds to the back of his head. As you drive, you mentally note the key steps of proper evidence collection. When you arrive, you notice the media frenzy surrounding the gas station. Fortunately, the police officers had successfully secured the scene. You quickly jump out of the car, grab your crime scene kit, and immediately begin the preliminary scene survey with the first responder.

Other members of the crime unit document the scene by taking notes, snapping photographs, and drawing sketches to help them remember details. Frustration begins to overwhelm your team. After a couple of long hours methodically and thoroughly searching the area for crucial pieces of physical evidence, you seem to be coming up shorthanded. However, you vividly recall Locard’s Exchange Principle, which states that whenever two objects come into contact with one another, there is always a transfer of material. Just then, you notice what appears to be a dusty shoe impression on the countertop next to the cash register. Your suspicions are confirmed when you use oblique lighting to view the surface. With the help of an electrostatic dust print lifter, you carefully collect the shoe impression on a metallic film, package it in a clean file folder, and send it to the crime lab for further examination. This shoe impression could be the key to solving the murder of the gas station owner!

Electrostatic dust print lifter.

Today, electrostatic dust print lifters use a Mylar film that contains a black side and a metallic side. With the help of a high voltage power unit and a grounding plate, the Mylar film becomes negatively charged and the grounding plate becomes positively charged. Any dust present under the film will take on a positive charge and will be attracted to the negatively charged Mylar film lifting mat. The impression is easily visualized due to the excellent contrast of the black lifting film background.

According to Captain Randy Baldridge of the Oakwood Public Safety Department, “We do not have a dust print lifter. However, Oakwood has a close relationship with the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab. If the need for one ever arose, we could obtain one from them.”

Surprisingly, Oakwood High School’s Forensic Science students do have their own dust print lifter. Recently, Melinda Wargacki received a generous grant from the Oakwood Schools Education Foundation to purchase one of these amazing tools. As part of the Forensic Science course, students are introduced to a large unit of study on Impression Evidence. Within this unit, students learn about shoe impressions in great detail. In the past, students have used gel lifters to lift footwear impressions. Now, students will have the opportunity to compare the effectiveness of gel lifters with the high tech electrostatic dust print lifter. In addition, students will have access to this clever piece of equipment when they process Mock Crime Scenes at the end of the semester.

The Oakwood Schools Education Foundation, a component of The Dayton Foundation, provides students with diverse and distinctive opportunities, which go above and beyond the reach of the district’s normal operating budget.

For more information on the Oakwood Schools Education Foundation, please visit our website at www.oakwood.k12.oh.us/osef or contact Karen Gillingham, Director, at 297- 5332.

OJHS registration begins Aug. 12

The Oakwood Jr. High Office will be open for new student registration weekdays, beginning Aug. 12 – Aug. 21 from 9-11:30 a.m. & 1-3 p.m. Please bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate, immunization record, and a copy of your purchase or rental contract to the Oakwood Junior High Office at 1200 Far Hills Ave.

If you would like a registration packet mailed to you or if you have any questions, please email or call Dawne Roeckner at roeckner.dawne@oakwood.k12.oh.us or (937) 297-5328. Please visit the website for additional information about Oakwood Schools at www.oakwood.k12.oh.us.

Oakwood Rotary renews Reed scholarship

Initial and renewal awards cover four years at $1000 per year

The Rotary Club of Oakwood announced renewal of their the 2007 winner Scholarship Award to Mr. Eric Reed.

The Club awards the scholarship annually to a high school senior who is an Oakwood resident. The recipient may be attending any area high school. The children of members of Rotary International are ineligible.

The Club received applications from a number of students from Oakwood High School. “This is very competitive, and the field of applicants represented a very impressive set of credentials”, said Russell Maas, Vocational Service Director for the club. “This scholarship is somewhat unique in that we renew the scholarship every year for the entire four years providing that the student remains eligible through a combination of academics and community service at their college or university.”

Students were required to apply for the award by showing good community citizen qualities while demonstrating that they are good students as well. “We were interested in finding the applicant that had reached out into their community to perform a leadership role in extracurricular service. It was more important to us, as Rotary members who serve the broader community completely outside our professional lives, that our winner demonstrate that quality as well.”, Maas pointed out. “Being class president or having a GPA of 4.0+, while a marvelous accomplishment, didn’t carry as much weight with us as someone who might organize a team to support a homeless shelter.”

Mr. Reed is entering his third year at Georgetown University focusing on both an English and Pred-Med programs. During the previous years he was very active in volunteer activity, and this last year volunteered to work at Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute. Ms. Reed is the son of Marilyn and John Reed of Oakwood.





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July 21, 2009
Volume 18, No. 29

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