By Sarah Elmquist Squires

Managing Editor

Who killed Mr. Boddy? Did Professor Plum wield a gleaming dagger, or Colonel Mustard grope for a candlestick on the mantle? 

From the most classic who-done-it to the swell of TV and movie mysteries, the public has been gripped with a fascination of the art of unraveling crime. But in reality, if you really want to get to the bottom of any criminal mystery, you’ll need someone like Lynne Dean in your corner. 

Lynne Dean, submitted photo

A retired latent fingerprint examiner and forensic scientist, Dean will lead a new class for R-Recreation on September 19, when attendees can learn all about the reality of crime scene investigations from a pro. CSI Presentation for Adults will be from 6-9 p.m. in CWC Health and Science Building, room 210, or via Zoom, and interested individuals aged 18 and up can sign up by Friday, September 15. 

“Everything that I go through is real-life experiences,” Dean explained. She draws from her near 36 years with the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, Wash., and her coursework at Quantico, Va. Dean has racked up nearly a decade as an instructor at Green River College in Washington, where she teaches a fingerprint science – her specialty. 

Dean’s career was spent as a forensic fingerprint expert, and she has worked over 1,000 crime scenes in her tenure. During the Riverton CSI class, Dean will help attendees learn fact from fiction when it comes to crime scene investigations; they’ll review real crime scene photographs, learn about forensic fingerprint science and even capture a few of their own, and have the opportunity to learn from an expert in the field. “The next time they watch ‘CSI,’ they can spot what’s false” in how the show depicts crime scene investigation, she explained. 

Watching crime shows like “CSI” is what gave Dean the idea for teaching such a class – one that would give people a glimpse beyond the Hollywood version. She started off with a class meant for kids, but when parents who came to pick up their children ended up asking more questions than the students, she realized what a hit an adult CSI class could be. 

What you see on TV might be glamorous, but real investigations take a lot more time, grit, and hard work. “One of the misconceptions is that when you retrieve evidence, when you preserve it at a crime scene, that it can be done in a minute or two, and analysis can be done quickly,” Dean explained. “That’s not the case. I spent four days working on one latent fingerprint, comparing it to many suspects before it was finally identified to the person who left the print. It’s very detailed, very time-consuming. If they showed that on TV, people would be turning it off.” 

In 1988, a U.S. scientist discovered identical snowflakes, putting to rest the idea that no two are alike. But fingerprints still maintain their uniqueness, and have been used as a means of identification for over a century. Dean will help her class learn about the unique identifiers that are studied when analyzing fingerprints, and attendees will need a roll of Scotch tape, along with a smooth surface like a clear sheet protector, a plastic water bottle, or even their cellphone, to try their hand at the art of capturing fingerprints. 

For those interested in a career in crime scene investigation, Dean advised that it takes a lot of training to get into the field, and good candidates must be sticklers for accuracy and discipline. “It’s very detailed; it’s very scrutinized,” she shared. “You have to follow the rules and guidelines and policies before you – you have to be very precise.” 

To sign up for the September 19 class, register online at or call 307-855-2015.