MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – According to uncovered.com Michigan has just over 19,000 unsolved crimes, more commonly referred to as cold cases. The Michigan State Police has teamed up with Northern Michigan University in order to try and make that number a little smaller.
Eight students at NMU have made it through background checks, interviews, and have signed non disclosure agreements. They will now work alongside a State Police investigator and a Northern instructor in a classroom setting to help solve a real world crime.
Instructor Chris Macmaster says the program is modeled after a similar venture at Western Michigan University, a program which has been successful. Macmaster says “They solved a case through a tip they generated last year in 2022.”
Students have access to confidential police records and a lab to conduct research in while participating in the program. According to Detective First lieutenant Paul Campbell, cold cases are extremely time consuming and many departments don’t have the resources to work on them. “This allows the students to help us lay out the groundwork for the cold cases.” says Campbell.
The students complete a combined 1000 hours of work throughout the semester, which is about equal to 6 months of a detective’s time. The program saves money for the state police and provides hands-on experience the students in the class say is eye-opening.
Student Abigail Boozer, who took the class last semester and is now participating as a teachers assistant said the class provided her with insight to what type of career she wants to pursue.
As of today, the student researchers have begun to work on this semester’s case. the state police say they are very happy with the results they’ve seen so far from the students.