They say "crime pays," but this week at the California Homicide Investigators Association Conference, it's totally free.
The Los Angeles Police Department is hosting the 2010 annual conference for CHIA from March 2-5 at the Palms. While all the education, training, and networking opportunities are limited to those actually involved in CHIA, the conference didn't forget to bring a little something for the natives.
CHIA is providing a unique "Behind-The-Scenes" experience where the public gets to see a few of the most notorious homicides and seedy occurrences which have shaken up the Los Angeles crime scene over the past 100 years. The Key West Ballroom in the Palms Casino will undergo a dark metamorphosis to become a multimedia museum of these gritty incidents. Attendees will get to see photographs and videos of the crime scenes along with actual evidence, some of which will be making its first debut in the public eye.
The LAPD has partnered with the Los Angeles Police Historical Society in this endeavor and they're bringing with them vintage vehicles, memorabilia, photographs, documents, and crime scene artifacts to help give the museum context and atmosphere.
Some of the most illustrious exhibits featured will be evidence and records related to the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy, along with the murder of the LAPD officers in the 1963 "Onion Field" case. Also on display will be evidence, pictures, and video from cases including Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson, the Black Dahlia, and the Symbionese Liberation Army shootout. They will also present a bullet-riddled police car and the suspect getaway vehicle from the most infamous bank-robbery-and-shootout in North Hollywood.
This is a unique opportunity for the public. LAPD Homicide Detective Dennis Kilcoyne stated how, "Homicide investigators very rarely invite people under the crime scene tape and into the murder scene; this may be as close as some will ever get."
The event is open to the public today and tomorrow from 10 am until 7 pm, free of charge. But if you're looking for a little more hands on investigator action and are willing to drop a little dough, Las Vegas still has you covered.
Since September 2009, Vegas has been the home for the first ever permanent and interactive CSI experience. CSI is one of the most successful series in television history and has prompted a multitude of spin-offs and bootleggers, but the original (and best) is grounded right here in Las Vegas. It makes perfect sense that after touring the country, and even the world, they'd want to set up a fixed shop on the Strip.
"Our show is based on Las Vegas and it's totally obvious that it has to be in Las Vegas. The idea is to have it as a permanent landmark," said Christoph Rahofer, president and CEO of EMS Exhibits.
Luckily for them, MGM Grand was more than happy to give them a home.
"The name CSI is so strong that it was like, immediately, we knew we wanted to do it," MGM Grand Vice President of Operations John Shigley said.
CSI: The Experience, allows you to take the lead as you try and solve murders guided by cast members and real-life CSI techs. A video by Gil Grissom (who cares if he left the show, he'll always remain in our hearts) starts you off with instructions before you choose from one of the three crime scenes. Your options are "A House Collided," involving a car which has crashed into a house and a dead driver; "Who Got Served," which has a dead waitress by a dumpster at a shady Vegas motel; and "No Bones About It," where you need to figure out who the array of bones in the desert belonged to and how they got to there.
Just like real CSI workers (from what I can tell from TV), you take notes and examine the crime scenes with a flashlight, looking for clues. Then you go through a series of interactive stations so you can analyze blood splatter, DNA, finger prints, or whatever else you might have found. One of the things I'm most excited about/nervous of is when you actually get to examine the "body," though I hear it's not as gory as in the show (thank God).
The entire experience should run about an hour before you're able to identify the killer and get your CSI: Diploma. Tickets are $30 to investigate one of the crime scenes and $26 to return and do another. It sounds like a totally good deal to me, because when else can you examine a bullet or use one of those awesome UV lights? Bottom line: $30 to play Catherine or Warren (RIP!) for a day--worth it! Plus, you can purchase a certificate with a photo of yourself taken at the exhibit where you get to wear a CSI vest and pose in front of a green screen. The dork inside of me is almost too excited to be contained. I wonder if they can Photoshop in Greg so it looks like we're holding hands? He's my favorite and he sure is dreamy.