NewsEducation / June 14, 2019

Cars Go 'Boom' Then IUPUI Students Investigate

Cars Go 'Boom' Then IUPUI Students InvestigateThree cars exploded in Indianapolis this morning but it was all part of a hands-on experience for IUPUI students.2019-06-14T00:00:00-04:00
Cars Go 'Boom' Then IUPUI Students Investigate

Safety officials check the exploded cars before IUPUI students investigate the wreckage at Eagle Creek Pistol Range on Friday, June 14, 2019.

Emily Cox/WFYI News

Three cars exploded in Indianapolis this morning but it was all part of a hands-on experience for IUPUI students.

The explosions are meant to replicate car bombings that could happen during crimes. Teams of students investigate the crime scenes with forensic techniques to find the cause and origin of the explosions by the end of the day. The students are part of a class in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The explosions are based on real adjudicated cases, says instructor Stephen Davis, a retired IMPD Sargent. 

“We kind of push them along and say hey look, mark that if it doesn’t look it’s like part of the car, then go ahead and come back and collect it later,” Davis says. “Then when they submit it to our lab here, our makeshift lab—it’s people who designed the bomb—they’ll tell them whether or not they’re on the right track.”

Cameron Frank, a student in the class who is currently working with Indiana University Police Department, hopes to be a full-time police officer after graduating. He says he knows that safety is the highest priority for the explosions.

“I’m just excited to see something go boom and go through the steps to figure out what the bomb was and what made it explode,” Frank says.

The explosions are part of “Investigating Post-Blast Crime Scenes,” a 1-credit summer class taught at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. This is the 12th year the summer class has gotten to work on car explosion investigations.

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