Citizens Police Academy, Week 7

By 293.xx.xxx.xx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By 293.xx.xxx.xx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s presentation was from our county medical examiner. Our ME began his career in Miami-Dade County. You can imagine what kinds of things he saw there. He had a slide show of several of his cases, and walked us through his process for figuring out what happened to the person. Some random things I learned (warning: gross stuff ahead):

  • Women tend to commit suicide by shooting or stabbing themselves in the chest – the heart. It’s an emotional decision.
  • People who hear voices tend to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head, to silence the voices.
  • Always pull back the shower curtain. (More than once he was surprised to find either another body, or the culprit in hiding.)
  • A medical examiner is always an M.D. Coroners are usually elected officials and are not necessarily M.D.s.
  • A body buried in a shallow grave, in a dry climate, would take at least two months to decompose to the point where it was unrecognizable. After one week the person would still look like himself or herself, just be slightly dried out. (I asked this because I needed to know the answer for Landscaped to Death.)
  • Forensic photography is a career in itself.
  • Anyone who wants to be buried at sea has to have an autopsy. He said this was in case the body washes up, the authorities won’t think it’s a crime victim.
  • If a victim has gunpowder stippling around a wound, it means they were shot from within 3 1/2 feet. The burning powder doesn’t travel any farther than that. There will also not be any stippling if the victim was shot through clothing.

Next week, we go to the firing range.

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