They handle major cases in all of Iowa's 99 counties- everything from homicides to identity theft rings. On Wednesday, investigators from six state agencies got a refresher course.
“What we've tried to simulate is the evidence of a struggle,” says SAC Adam DeCamp with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
There are two scenarios. The first begins with a woman calling police after coming home to find her roommate missing. The second is set in a state park.
“Some hunters have been out in the park and found a deceased body,” says Special Agent Nathan Ewalt.
Both scenes are part of a training exercise for state investigators. Ewalt is playing the role of police chief, but he’s also making sure that the 20 people taking the class are following up on any leads and making the right calls at the scene.
“You're constantly learning and for some of the newer agents moving into different roles, this probably as close to real life as you can get,” says Ewalt.
Investigators will eventually learn that the body found in the park and the missing persons case are linked. They will make the discovery by collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. It’s practice for when it counts.
“When the phone rings in the middle of the night, we don't have that practice to fall back on. It's real, it matters. It matters to that family. It matters to that community,” says DeCamp.
The Iowa Insurance Division, State Patrol, Fire Marshal's Office, the Department of Corrections and Department of Transportation are participating in the DCI's week-long class.