Forensics students get the inside scoop on Orono Police


Photo/Grace Berbig

Seniors Ethan Blum, Grace Larsen, Jane Jonassen, Amelia Singleton and Audrey Link are decked out in gear on the forensics field trip.

Grace Berbig, Opinions Editor

Grace Berbig
Opinions Editor

Science teacher Jessica Curtis and her forensics class headed to the police station on January 7th to get an inside look at their very own Orono Police Department. At the beginning of the day, students from all forensics classes packed into the auditorium to listen intently to officers and a medical examiner from all over Hennepin County.

The cops told the students stories ranging from reuniting kidnapped children with their families, to gun showdowns, to a woman calling 911 because her Domino’s Pizza was too cold. Students had the opportunity to ask some burning questions, the most popular being how fast do you really have to be going to get pulled over. Although the chief said it depends on the cop (generally five miles per hour is safe, though),) getting a ticket has a lot to do with your attitude. Being respectful, honest, and complying with the officer’s orders give you a better chance of getting away with a warning.

“I learned to not be a jerk when a cop pulls you over. They are just doing their job, and as long as you are respectful, you’re most likely chillin,” senior Kieran Klombes said.

Through a simulation at the police station, students learned the potential dangers a cop is putting themselves in when they pull someone over. The officer does not know if the person in the car will be violent, have a gun, or try to flee. They are truly risking their life every time they pull someone over, because they do not know what the intentions of that person are, if they will have to make a quick decision to protect themselves, or if it will just be a person who was speeding.

“It was very eye opening to hear the stories cops have. I never thought about the fact that they don’t know if I am a good guy or a bad guy when they pull me over,” senior Grace Larsen said.

Students also participated in a simulation where they were acting as cops getting called to a scene. These scenes depict how quickly cops sometimes have to make a life or death decision. For example, seniors Nick Ruhland and Jack Patterson were thrown into a situation where they were called onto a scene of a man who “left his keys in his car” and was trying to open the door to get them. To the audience as well as the acting cops, everything seemed normal for the most part as the man held conversation, telling Nick and Jack how he has been forgetful lately. Then, all of the sudden, the man whipped out a gun and began firing at Nick and Jack. Out of nowhere, these two “cops” had to make a decision in a split second.

“It was really hard, he seemed like a nice guy just trying to get into his car but then boom he pulled out his gun. It was so fast I didn’t even know what to do,” Ruhland said.

During this field trip, students also had the opportunity to ride in a SWAT(Special Weapons and Tactics) vehicle, learn about SWAT protective gear and weapons, and learn about the canine helpers in the police department. Overall, it was an educational experience for students. Learning about the behind the scenes of what police officers do and what they endure on a daily basis astonished many students, and made for a great field trip.