Marymount Students Learn About Crime Investigation in England

Marymount University senior Courtney Booterbaugh spent her spring break working simulated crime scenes and visiting state-of-the-art training facilities in Liverpool, England, which broadened her understanding of criminal investigations.

“It also taught me that everything is not as easy as it looks,” said Booterbaugh, an Alexandria native.

“The Principles of Criminal Investigation” was part of Marymount’s popular Global Classroom Series, which involves a weeklong international field experience as part of a three-credit, full-semester course. Booterbaugh was one of a dozen Marymount criminal justice students in England from March 4-11.

They spent time at Liverpool John Moores University learning about forensic science, and the Merseyside Police Training Facility. At the University of Central Lancaster, they experienced investigation scenarios via a mix of video and audio clips and written tasks that tested their decision-making ability and showed them the consequences of those decisions.

“In the United States, we tend to think everything we do is the best,” said Dr. Amanda Farrell, the Marymount associate professor of social and criminal justice who led the trip. “But there is a lot we can learn from others.”

It was a bit of a homecoming for Farrell, who has a master’s degree in investigative psychology from the University of Liverpool.

“Being able to take my students to a city I love was just an amazing experience,” Farrell said. “Liverpool is a traditional working city with a rich and diverse history. It has something for everyone. If you like music, it’s the home of the Beatles. You can’t beat that!”

Marielle Garnier, a senior from Paris, France, liked the balance of lectures, activities and free time.
“I think it was a good mix and gave us the time to explore on our own and get to know the city, people and culture,” Garnier said.

One big difference between the United States and Britain is that most police officers in the United Kingdom don’t carry guns, which are rare in a society with strict gun control laws, said Dr. Stephanie Ellis-Foster, chair of the Department of Social and Criminal Justice, who went on the trip in a supporting role.

“From my perspective there was a lot less tension between the police and the general public,” Ellis-Foster said. “It’s common for people to approach a bobby and have their picture taken with them.”

Another difference is the widespread use of closed circuit television for security.

“Britain is one  of the most-recorded countries in the world,” she said. “The expectation of privacy isn’t the same as here, and Americans can find that a little unsettling.”

Katherine Jimenez, a senior from Arlington, is grateful for the experience.

“Not only did I get to learn about the way the criminal justice system works in the UK,” Jimenez said, “I got to know my classmates better, and that’s something that probably would not have happened otherwise.”

They also gained new peers in Liverpool and remain in touch through social media. At the end of June, a group of Liverpool John Moores master’s students are coming to Arlington.

“Our students said they’ll make sure to come to campus, even if they won’t be in school,” Farrell said. “They’re already creating a global network of contacts.”

The course was one of eight Global Classroom Series spring offerings.

Ana-Sofia Alcaraz of Marymount’s Center for Global Education said the program provides affordable global experience options for students who may not be able to study abroad for an entire semester.

Other destinations included:

  • The Fashion Industry and its Promotion, London, England
  • Principles of Macroeconomics, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Major Women Writers, London & Bath, England
  • Modern European History: 1914 to the Present, Berlin, Germany
  • Information & Communication Technology Sector in Dublin, Ireland
  • Politics of Western Europe, Strasbourg, France
  • Through the Sociological Lens, Groningen, The Netherlands

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Photo captions
Photo 1
Marymount University students on a rainy day at the Caernarfon Castle in Wales. From left: Katherine Jimenez, Azuri Cawford, Hinna Sherwani, Gabriel Umar, Marielle Garnier, Emily Munn, Thomas Abilmona, Courtney Booterbaugh, Nicole Brickwedde, Haley Almarode, Kara Levering, Melanie Petty, Dr. Amanda Farrell.

Photo 2
Students in Tyvek protective suits at a mock crime scene.

Photo 3
Testing out the riot gear.

Photo 4
A scene from the countryside.

Photo 5
The yellow submarine docked in Liverpool, hometown of the Beatles.