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Criminal Justice & Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Competitions

April 11, 2024

High School Students Compete in Vermont Competition to earn a spot in National SkillsUSA Competition

Bennington, VT, April 10, 2024 - The Bennington County Sheriff's Department hosted 22 Vermont career and technical high school students for the SkillsUSA 2024 Criminal Justice (CJ) and Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) competitions on Thursday, April 10. The students were vying to earn a spot at the national competition that will be held in Atlanta, GA on June 24-28, 2024.
Criminal Justice & Crime Scene Investigation
James Gulley, Jr., Bennington County Sheriff, and his department have been managing this competition for the past seven years. Also on hand were members of the Vermont Sheriff's Association (Windham Sheriff Mark Anderson, Windsor Sheriff Ryan Palmer, Middlebury Sheriff Michael Elmore) and the Vermont State Police's Crime Scene Search Team.

High school students from Southwest VT Regional Technical School District, Stafford Technical Center and Burlington Technical Center competed individually in the Criminal Justice competition; traffic stop, and suspicious person service call scenarios were presented to them. Additionally, three teams of three students from each of the schools competed in the Crime Scene Investigation competition. Each student took a written and oral exam before competing in the hands-on scenario portion of the competition.

"I am thrilled that once again the Bennington County Sheriff's Department played an instrumental role providing students an opportunity to see if they have what it takes to become a law enforcement officer or crime scene investigator," said James Gulley, Bennington County Sheriff. "The Vermont Sheriff's Association is dedicated to providing professional education, appropriate standards of practice, and training to all Vermont sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, and each sheriff's office staff. Our organization is committed to fostering accountability and transparency within our collective communities," explained Gulley.

"The Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team was happy to assist Sheriff Gulley and his team in this year's competition. "I believe planting seeds early helps to expose our kids to the many opportunities that exist in law enforcement, said Aron McNeil, Detective Sargent Major Crime Unit, Commander of Crime Scene. "The Vermont State Police crime scene unit has two full-time crime scene investigators, as well as a team of about twenty other officers that we can pull from depending on each crime scene scenario," explained McNeil.

Amanda Knox, a law enforcement instructor at Southwest VT Regional Technical School District prepared eight (8) students for the 2024 SkillsUSA Vermont CJ and CSI competitions. June Kelly, Public Safety & Criminal Justice Instructor at Stafford brought 8 students and Rosa Giangregoria, Homeland Security & Criminal Justice Instructor at Burlington Technical Center brought 6 students to the competition.

"These students work so hard to prepare for these competitions, said Knox, the SkillsUSA competitions are designed and judged by experienced law enforcement professionals, it's a great opportunity for these students to be exposed to real life situations."

Knox's team won first place in 2023 and went on to place second in the CJ competition and sixth in the CSI national competitions against 40 other teams.

There are 17 career and technical education centers in Vermont that expose nearly 8,000 students to careers and trades each year. According to the Vermont Department of Education, Vermont career and technical education programs are "based on a competency list approved by the state board and shall integrate academic content with technical and occupational skills instruction. Programs are organized in alignment with the national career clusters model."

The winners in each category will advance to the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia, where Vermont students compete against the best-ranked students from all other states and territories.

"The SkillsUSA VT State Leadership and Skills Conference provides a platform to demonstrate the leadership skills and technical proficiencies of our career and technical education students. Through their participation, employers gain firsthand exposure to the dedication and expertise of our motivated students, presenting an unparalleled chance for businesses and industries to scout potential top-tier employees, we look forward to announcing the winners for this year's competitions later this week," said Linda Randall, Executive State Director, SkillsUSA Vermont.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry members working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. The SkillsUSA Vermont Spring 2024 Conference features contests in almost 70 different professional areas where Gold Medal winners can earn the opportunity to compete in the SkillsUSA National Conference to be held this summer in Atlanta, GA.

Bennington Sheriff's Department