Not many people outside of the state of Indiana have heard of the city of Washington. But while it may not have the notoriety or name-recognition of Indianapolis or Bloomington, it has its share of both famous and infamous benchmarks throughout its history.
One of the unfortunate elements of Washington, Indiana is the rise in crime that has taken place over the last several years, particularly homicides. There has been an ever-increasing need for law enforcement officials in Washington to incorporate the latest crime solving techniques into their repertoire which is part of the reason that police officer Rodney Helderman was recently made Washington’s first ever certified crime scene investigator.
Helderman is a veteran law enforcement officer but has only been with the Washington Police Department since April of 2013. When he heard about the department’s need for a certified CSI, he jumped at the opportunity and entered his name for consideration to be chosen to attend a four-week training course in crime scene investigations at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. The course is specifically designed as a condensed version of much more expansive CSI training programs across the country and is intended for those who already have an extensive law enforcement background.
Helderman says that the course was intense and very fast-paced. It consisted of both classroom sessions as well as hands-on field work that involved students learning and practicing all aspects of forensic investigations including crime scene reconstruction, DNA analysis, fingerprint collection, crime scene photography, and courtroom testifying.
The course sessions were taught by several different experts in each individual field including Dr. Neill Haskell, a forensic entomologist and an expert witness who testified in the Casey Anthony trial.
According to Washington Police Chief Mike Healy, Helderman’s appointment to department CSI is “a huge step forward both for this department and for Rodney’s career.”