WVNCC opens Crime Scene Lab, will offer online Criminal Justice degree


WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Students enrolled in one of West Virginia Norther Community College’s programs will notice some changes this Fall.

WVNCC students can now earn an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice completely online if they choose. 

Making this 100% online allows officers those working out in the field, adults who have families, students who work and have schedule conflicts can obtain a two-year college degree completely online. 

John Lantz, Chair, Criminal Justice Department, WVNCC

Lantz also explained that this online option will give an opportunity for current law enforcement officers to get a college degree if they choose.

However, online students will still interact with instructors weekly.

We’ve really strived to make this program as hands on as we could. Even with the 100% online aspect of it, students are still meeting with me on a weekly basis. We don’t just give them the coursework and send them on their way. They actually meet with me via Zoom. We go over cases. We go over court decisions. We go over topics that are hot in the news today.

John Lantz, Chair, Criminal Justice Department, WVNCC

This Fall, the department will also begin using its new Crime Scene Lab. 

Here students in the Criminal Identification and Investigation course will get hands-on experience by learning how to collect fingerprints, DNA samples, and other evidence. Lantz also said they will study bullet trajectory and tape off crime scenes.

Local detectives from area departments also come in here and teach classes to my students and they go over a cold case once and a while. They go over cases that have been adjudicated, investigated and adjudicated in the court system.

John Lantz, Chair, Criminal Justice Department, WVNCC

Lantz added that the lab, which was funded through grants, will also be open to local law enforcement agencies to use for training purposes.

Law enforcement agencies are really stepping up recruitment drives. We are attempting to prepare our students to get a two-year degree and go directly in the workforce, whether that be at a local agency here in the Ohio Valley or somewhere else.

John Lantz, Chair, Criminal Justice Department, WVNCC

The Criminal Justice Department also plans to do a mock crime scene this coming semester to give students practical experience.

To further add to the program, WVNCC is working on finding and purchasing a house that would be used for mock crime scenes that students can study.

Lantz said registration is still open for this Fall, but urges potential students to register soon.

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