Building Better Schools: Criminal Justice Students receive mentorship

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:07 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Criminal Justice students at Whitmer High School are learning to solve homicides from a former TPD homicide detective.

Andre Cowell retired in 2021 and now he’s inspiring the next generation of crime fighters.

Cowell gives students hands-on experience throughout mock scenes that teach them how to protocol and techniques such as how to collect crime scene data, question witnesses, and solve crimes.

“They come in and we give them the stuff the state wants us to teach them, and a lot of first-hand knowledge of stuff I’ve experienced. I just want them to understand how to do this job correctly if they go into this field,” he said.

“I give them first-hand stories of homicides that I’ve handled, worked, or seen, Specifically the Braylen Noble case, that was a big topic with us. We covered that and actually saw that come to an end here recently with the mother and grandmother being sentenced,” he said.

The students said Mr. Cowell inspires them to make a difference in their community.

“I want to go to the police academy and be a homicide detective like Mr. Cowell,” said Whitmer junior Mya Johnson.

Whitmer students know what it’s like to lose a classmate to gun violence and they’ve experienced an active shooter during a football game – a case that remains unsolved.

Students said both recent tragedies have led them to want to get involved and pursue criminal justice as a career.

“That makes me really sad because I’ve lived here my whole life and that’s terrible. We definitely need more people that can help with that,” said Whitmer junior Katelyn Brown.

“We’ve got to start saying this is our city and it’s up to us to protect it. I think these young men and women here want to take that step and I’m proud of them,” Cowell said.

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