Students from Ballard and Ellis meet for tour

Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The aroma of pizza wafted through the halls of the Niles Law Enforcement Complex on Tuesday when the combined first grades from Ellis and Ballard schools met at the police department for a lunch/tour of the complex.
Trooper Rob Herbstrieth of the Michigan State Police and Officer Kevin Kosten of the Niles City Police gave the children a guided tour of the police faciltiy and joined them for pizza in the police training room afterward.
Trooper Rob, as Herbstrieth is known, explained to the children that there are three wings to the complex: the detective wing, the command wing, and the patrol room wing. At the center of those is the dispatch center.
Children also viewed the crime labs, one of which is called the "car lab" and looks like a garage. Trooper Rob explained what he called the "super glue" process of finding fingerprints on cars or on smaller items. He showed them a glass tank into which a piece of evidence is placed, then explained that certain chemicals are heated after being added to the tank. "The fumes from the heated chemicals stick to the prints … like glue," he said.
In the "evidence lab" items are stored in bins along the wall. Each bin is marked with a sticker that tells which department is in charge of that investigation.
Another room was used for polygraph testing. "We have a machine that can tell if you are telling the truth," Herbstrieth told the children, who looked both impressed and a little amazed by such technology.
The fire investigation lab was also of interest to the first graders, as well as the exercise room which is filled with exercise equipment and looks like a fitness gym.
While visiting the "break room" nearby, a barbecue grill was spotted outside through the window by one of the children. Trooper Rob said, "Every now and then, we all like to pitch in, throw some burgers on the grill, and have a little cookout."
Most of the rooms in the complex are shared between the various departments, according to Herbstrieth. The building houses the Niles City Police, the Niles Township Police, and the Michigan State Police.