PHOTOS: Detective gives insight into crime scene investigations

Detective Sergeant Chad Nelson with the Willmar Police Department gave a presentation on crime scene investigations Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, at the Willmar Community Center.

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Willmar Police Department detective sergeant Chad Nelson talks to folks at the Willmar Community Center during a crime scene investigation presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — As Willmar Police Department detective sergeant Chad Nelson stood before a group of attendees at the Willmar Community Center on Tuesday afternoon, one audience member thought they knew just what the talk was going to be about.

"You're going to show us how to cover up a crime scene," the man said.

With a smile, Nelson informed the crowd he would be actually showing them a few of the basics when it comes to investigating a crime scene, particularly in both crime scene photography and DNA evidence collection.

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Willmar Police Department detective sergeant Chad Nelson shows swabs used to collect DNA at crime scenes during a presentation at the Willmar Community Center on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Hearkening back to his early days within the department back in 1997, Nelson spoke about the modern advances in technology, which have greatly assisted detectives in conducting their evidence collection over the years.

He spoke about tricks and different ways law enforcement go about collecting evidence that any normal citizen would not have thought about, such as the angle of a flashlight to more accurately view fingerprints. He went on to discuss how crime scenes are documented via DNA swabs, fingerprinting and crime scene photography.


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When he opened the talk up for questions, the main question was about common crimes taking place in Willmar.

According to Nelson, from what he's seen with no concrete data at the ready, graffiti, motor vehicle tampering and gun violence are some of the more frequent crimes he sees these days in Willmar.

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People listen to Willmar Police Department detective sergeant Chad Nelson talk about the process in which law enforcement conducts crime scene investigations during a presentation at the Willmar Community Center on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Macy Moore is an award-winning photojournalist at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota.
She can be reached via email: or phone: 320.214.4338.
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