Anyone driving by the Wheeling campus of West Virginia Community College Monday might have noticed the crime scene tape.

They also saw people in gloves searching the commons.

But there was no need for alarm.

It just happened to be students from the criminal justice program taking part in a outdoor mock crime scene

In this hands-on exercise, criminal justice students had the opportunity to re-enact a mass shooting. Instructors set up the scene in three different locations throughout the campus.

The situation involved three victims with only one surviving. There were three different crime teams whose task was to investigate the scene and collect evidence. That evidence would later be analyzed by the students in a crime lab.

In addition, students interviewed the surviving victim

The weather has played a little trick especially with all of the foliage on the ground. But we are making due. So we are trying to walk them through the scene and show them where the evidence is planted.

John Lantz, Program Director, Criminal Justice, WVNCC

Members of the Wheeling Police Department also assisted in the exercise.

The ultimate goal is to to come as close to a real life scenario as possible. The hands-on portion of the class is highly recommended by an advisory board made up of law enforcement officers from all over the valley.

Students say the hands-on opportunity provides an experience they just can’t get inside a traditional classroom.

Getting to interview a victim. That’s something you can’t really do in class. You can be shown how to collect evidence in many different ways. But until you are really in this situation and interviewing somebody, you don’t know how to do it.

Brandis Dalrymple, First Year Criminal Justice Students

They say it’s the best way to prepare for a career in law enforcement.

Later in the course, students will have to develop their own crime scene scenario with victims and suspects.