MPD’s CSI camp gives students hands-on forensic training

Students learn about identifying bullet trajectory, fingerprint lifting, reading bloodstains, and much more.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:43 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 7:23 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When you think of summer camp, conducting autopsies and analyzing bloodstains don’t often come to mind.

But that is exactly what 10 aspiring forensic specialists did last week at Maui’s Forensic Facility in Wailuku.

The Maui Police Department hopes it will one day help fill vacant positions within the department.

Alia-Marie Hufana, 16, wants to be a forensic pathologist.

“I read a book series in I think eighth grade and the main character was actually a forensic pathologist,” Hufana said. “So, I was like, right there! That’s what I want to do!”

The incoming senior at Hawaii Technology Academy has attended MPD’s Crime Scene Investigation camp for the past two years.

“It was the best week of my entire year,” Hufana said.

It is a week-long, hands-on, crash course in forensic science lead by Police Evidence Specialist Tony Earles.

Earles is Maui’s forensic facility supervisor. He is also in charge of MPD’s crime scene unit.

“There’s no such thing as a typical day, and I enjoy that aspect,” Earles said. “The biggest challenge about my job is there’s no typical day.”

Earles helped launched MPD’s CSI camp 10 years ago.

It is offered every summer to 10 selected high school students.

Students have to apply for the camp and submit a resume and a letter of recommendation. They are also interviewed and are given homework before they come.

“These are the cream of the crop. These are the people who will make a difference as far as crime scene investigation,” said Earles.

During the week, students learn bullet trajectory, fingerprint lifting, reading bloodstains, and much more.

Hufana’s favorite part?

“The autopsy. Definitely the autopsy,” she said.

Earles said they use mock crime scenes to better prepare students for real-world scenarios.

“You only get one chance to make your crime scene investigation,” he said.

By teaching these youngsters, Earles hopes his passion for forensics will trickle down throughout future generations.

“The thought that I could be helping someone else out by doing this,” Hufana said.

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