TERRE HAUTE —
Community partnerships had local college students burning to learn this week.
The streets were full of trick-or-treaters Wednesday evening, but in the back parking lot of Harrison College, a group of Harrison College students watched a small shed set afire. For those enrolled in the school’s criminal justice program, the scene would provide a case study in solving arsons.
Brian Royer, the school’s criminal justice program coordinator, said students from criminal law and procedures, as well as criminal investigations, took part in the mock arson and follow-up discussions.
“We’re trying to do a lot more hands-on learning and rely less on classroom lectures,” he explained while members of the Lost Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department stood off to the side.
The small shed was about 7 feet high and contained some furniture and personal belongings which would later serve as potential evidence. A volunteer lit a rolled up newspaper with a match and tossed the flaming bundle inside at 6 p.m. Within minutes, black smoke barreled out the top, up into the sky over Indiana 46. By 6:07 p.m., the firefighters had the flames extinguished and a potential crime scene ready to investigate.
Inside, Terre Haute Fire Department Arson Task Force director Norm Loudermilk offered classroom instruction and prepared to take several students out to see the shed’s remains. Determining the fire’s origin and potential cause are among the goals in the first phase of an investigation, he explained.
Given the nature of fire, the destruction of evidence is always a risk, as is spoilage due to exposure to the elements, he added. But clues to an arson are often found if multiple points of origin are discovered, as is the case with unusual burn patterns indicating extreme heat in one location, he said.
“Obviously, for students this is fantastic,” he said as the group prepared to go outside. The students who had watched the burning were ready to come in and switch, making for a good mix, he said. “Any time you can take book work and put it together with practical skills, that’s the best kind of learning.”
Harrison College has more than a dozen campuses nationally, as well as online programs. Louis Reeves, dean for the college’s overall criminal justice program, said the combination of a classroom lecture with hands-on learning is among its hallmarks.
“Harrison specializes in hands-on, applied learning,” he said, noting the criminal justice degrees were just recently introduced in 2008. The Terre Haute and Indianapolis campuses were the first to offer classes.
Other programs have included a mock death investigation with participation from the Vigo County Coroner’s office. Royer said field trips have taken them to federal courthouses and prisons.
Harold Osborn, deputy volunteer chief of the Lost Creek Township Volunteer Fire Department, said he’s also a full-time firefighter at Honey Creek. Over the years, he said looking for things that are “out of the ordinary in the building” are one of the keys to discovering arson.
“I’m a little surprised they’re teaching this in a college course,” he said with approval.
Austin Harrison, 20, a freshman at the school, said a career in law enforcement seems interesting to him, and it’s in keeping with the active lifestyle he enjoys. Watching the shed burn, he said he was looking forward to learning about investigation techniques.
“It’s pretty interesting,” he said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE —
Community partnerships had local college students burning to learn this week.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
The night it rained tears
March fuels college basketball teams. Fun, glory, buzzer-beater shots and storybook endings in the NCAA Tournament await there.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
POVERTY IN AMERICA: Success depends on birth location
Deb Kesler grew up poor in a single-parent family, but she knew that education was the ticket to a better life.
She and three siblings put themselves through college with grants, loans and work.
50 years after Civil Rights Act, work still to be done
This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Indian tradition welcomes colors of spring
One little corner of Deming Park got some spring colors Saturday morning when community members gathered to “play Holi,” an important tradition in India.
Students raise more than $1,100 for children’s hospital, watch school staff get heads shaved
Off with the hair!
Middle school students cheered and laughed with excitement during a school assembly Friday at Honey Creek Middle School as they watched three school administrators “go bald” to support a good cause.
Small World Learning Center hopes to save Woods preschool
A Terre Haute preschool facility on Friday night has publicly announced its offer of a merger with The Woods Day Care/Pre-School.
Hot projects on display at home show
Two-year-old Reed Clutter looked like he felt right at home as he played on a swing inside Hulman Center in downtown Terre Haute during the 2014 Home Show kick off on Friday.
VIDEO: Seuss is Loose
Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.
Utility seeks land for new power lines
Duke Energy is planning to install a new high-voltage power transmission line that would travel between 10 to 13 miles north to south along the Wabash River, in anticipation of the 2015 closure of its Wabash River Generation Station.
Lugar Center to offer CPR training sessions today
Staff members from Union Hospital are partnering with Clark County (Ill.) residents to offer free CPR training to interested community members.
Free cab rides offered for St. Pat’s Day
Terre Haute law firm Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, which has made a tradition of encouraging free cab rides home to those who have consumed too much to drive, has its eyes now on St. Patrick’s Day.
More couples challenge same-sex marriage ban
Three federal lawsuits were filed Friday against Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting the number of legal challenges to the ban’s constitutionality to at least five.
INDOT to discuss U.S. 40 upgrades in Brazil
Indiana Department of Transportation and Gradex Inc. personnel will discuss a pending upgrade of U.S. 40 through Brazil at an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the council room at Brazil City Hall, 203 E. National Ave.
Chamber still taking nominations
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2013 Business Recognition Awards.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 14, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
2 new suits target Indiana’s gay marriage ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two new federal lawsuits are taking aim at Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting to four the number of legal challenges to the law filed in a week.
Verizon new title sponsor for IndyCar
Verizon will be the new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series, replacing Izod, which left at the end of the 2013 season.
Driver in critical condition after water rescue
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fire department divers pulled a woman from an SUV that submerged in an Indianapolis waterway after it careened off a city street.
Inmates part of new Legion post
Wearing khaki-colored matching uniforms, more than 20 veterans inside a maximum-security prison stood tall to salute the flag of the United States at an event that welcomed them as new American Legion members.
Putnam deputy released; April trial set
A Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy accused in federal criminal cases of excessive force against suspects in four arrests has been released to pre-trial supervision.
Parent group hoping to keep day care open
When Grace Finley takes her 4-year-old son to The Woods Day Care/Pre-School, she is reassured knowing that he’s receiving quality care, he’s safe and he’s loved. So when she, and other parents, learned Wednesday that the nationally accredited program is scheduled to close June 6, they were stunned by the news.
SCORE gets new home base
The Greater Wabash Valley SCORE Chapter 661 has moved to the former Indiana State Police Post building at the southwest corner of U.S. 41 and Jessica Drive on the Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley campus.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead