Retired detective visits CTE and science classes

Sergeant Patton showcases evidence from his homicide case. He went over the Angela Crocket murder when he was a detective.

Conner Belcher, Staff Writer

     Sergeant Alan T. Patton came to present one of his homicide cases to the forensic science and law classes this Thursday and Friday. He worked for the Grand Prairie Police Department and is now a retired detective.

     “He has investigated dozens of homicides during his career,” law teacher Paige Ridge said. “He came to present the Angela Crockett murder that he uses at the college level to show the process of criminal investigations.” 

     Patton brought in pictures and went deep into detail over the complete case file, explaining every process he made to come to a conclusion. Throughout the speech each point and action was broken down into reasoning and evidence.

     “He was really passionate when he spoke about the case,” senior Madison Beaird said. “A lot of what he spoke about applied to both forensics and law enforcement and I’m in both classes, so I was able to see him more than once. His enthusiasm for the case might have helped me to decide what path in life I may want to take.”

     Sergeant Patton is a member of the community and has expressed interest in teaching his knowledge to forensic and law enforcement classes at LHS. He teaches at colleges and high schools, as well as consulting with other police stations. 

     “It was really cool to be able to see his process here,” Senior Salustio Ventura said. “In law enforcement we’ve talked about being investigators, and interrogations, and how to determine possible suspects. So listening to and seeing the way he went through his case was really interesting.”

     The connections from Patton’s case tied together both subjects in one lesson, allowing for each class to learn more about the other. At the end students were able to ask him any questions they had over the murder or about his experience.

     “Sergeant Patton gave them first hand insight into what it is like to work as a homicide detective,” Ridge said. “Our students learned how crime scene investigation works and how different areas of forensic science allows detectives to put together the pieces of a crime. My hope is that this encourages our students as they decide whether to pursue a career in law enforcement or forensic sciences.”