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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State, OAG launch cold case internship program

Madeline Carpenter

Texas State, in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), launched a new criminal justice internship where students will work on cases.

Texas State anounced the Texas State Cold Case Team on April 1 and said it will consist of four students working on real cases in the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit (CCMPU) for a one-year period. Additionally, students selected for the program should have an interest in working professionally in crime scene investigations, forensic science, digital forensics and must pass a background check by the OAG, according to Texas State’s announcement.

Applications for the program closed on April 12 and the internship is set to begin in mid-May, according to Jaymi Elsass, internship coordinator in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

According to a press release from the OAG, Attorney General Ken Paxton believes the program will allow students to gain hands-on experience in investigations.

“This partnership will connect Texas State students with amazing opportunities to work alongside my office’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit,” Paxton said in the press release.

Elsass explained how students will gain hands-on experience on real cases.

“Texas has about 20,000 cold cases,” Elsass said. “The hope is [students] make progress in these cases that have been cold for a long time.”

According to the Texas State press release, cold cases are defined as “[cases] in which all credible investigative leads known to the investigating agency have been exhausted.”

Elsass said the chosen students split into teams of two, with each team assigned a different cold case and supervised by a member of the CCMPU.

“[The students] will get experiences they can’t get anywhere else,” Elsass said. “[This program] is different [than regular internships]… students are going to work side-by-side with homicide investigators and crime analysts for an entire year.”

Elsass said the program will be beneficial to the prestige of the school of Criminal Justice at Texas State.

“This will be the very first time a program of this type [has been offered in] the state of Texas,” Elsass said. “This really will be a shining light for Texas State… putting students with [the CCMPU] at the state level.”

Elsass said the school received 100 applications since its announcement.

Tru Brown, a criminal justice junior, said the internship could address some of the struggles criminal justice students face when trying to land an internship.

“It’s just finding those connections,” Brown said. “[Students] really have to have connections to be able to get into [internships]… but it’s really hard to look [for internships].”

However, one of the program’s biggest hopes is it will help unearth more details about long-dead cases, according to Elsass.

“Success [for the program] can look like many different things,” Elsass said. “When we think of cold cases, the ultimate success is solving a case… another measure of success is eliminating someone who has been a suspect and giving [the suspect] their life back.”

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