Real-life CSI: NMSU criminal justice students can get hands-on experience at Mesilla Marshal’s Office

Las Cruces News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Mesilla Marshal’s Department is recruiting New Mexico State University Criminal Justice students to provide them with real crime investigation experience in the field.

Danny Garcia, detective and crime scene investigator with the Mesilla Marshal’s Office, was the one to start the program.

He attends a criminal justice class at NMSU as a guest speaker twice a year to present the program and recruit more student interns.

“It’s going to help them later on to find a job, that’s where I come in,” said Garcia, who has decades of experience as an investigator in multiple law enforcement agencies across the Borderland.

In order to start the internship, students must first attend Garcia’s two classes to become DPS accredited in New Mexico.

That’s when the students are immersed in the real world of crime investigation.

“It can be a cadaver call, it could be a burglary, it could be a robbery, it could be anything and they’ve already gone out to the scenes with us, they will be actual working crime scene investigators,” explained Garcia.

Right now, the department has 12 interns. One of them is Michelle Sanchez, a freshman at NMSU.

‘It’s a life-changing experience for me because it helps you mature. I’m just a freshman at NMSU, I just turned 19. It definitely opens up your eyes to the real world and that not everything is the way it seems to be,” said Sanchez.

Her goal is to become an FBI agent and she said this experience made her want to pursue her career even more.

Louie Gomez, a senior at NMSU, is about to finish his internship. In just a few weeks, he will be traveling to San Antonio to finish his testing process to join the San Antonio Police Department.

“It’s going to be a great way to get your foot out there, and you already have some knowledge when you’re actually on the field,” said Gomez, describing how the internship helped him become familiar with the whole crime scene investigation process before he even officially started his career.

Garcia said there are quite a few students who stepped out of the internship and right into their career field.

On top of fieldwork, he helps the interns build their resume, prepare for job interviews and even forwards them job openings from around the country.

“And that’s what I do. Once they have enough experience, I tell them, ‘ok, now start looking for a job.’ Just like a father, once you are 18, throw them out,” Garcia quipped.

He explained that the internship doesn’t have a designated duration, but allows students to learn at their own pace and gather enough skills to utilize once they start working.

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