Friday, January 30, 2015

Cadettes: Special Agent Badge

The Special Agent badge is a truly fun and unique badge which any age can enjoy.  As we know gaining the attention of a Cadette or 13 year old teenager is difficult at best, so I cranked it up a gear to make this badge exciting.  I invited a Dallas Private Investigator to our meeting and asked him to bring some high tech toys.  He was a fabulous guest speaker and once he opened the discussion for questions the girls could not wait to talk with him.  

He hit on the topics of forensic science and talked about blood splatter and luminol.  
Did you know luminol only allows blood to glow for 30 seconds and every second the blood is exposed to the UV light it degrades, destroying some of the properties of the blood and DNA?  
Did you know that teeth are just as reliable at identifying a person as the human fingerprint?  
Did you know that you can determine how often, how recent and what drugs have been used by a person from one strand of hair? 
Our PI was filled with great and fascinating facts.  Did you know every glitter placed in cosmetics, on clothes or crafts are different?  Every company that manufactures glitter has to enter their exact dimensions, shape and refractory into a database.  Any glitter at a crime scene can be identified.

The girls most enjoyed using all his fun, high tech gadgets like the key fob that was actually a camera. A special photography lens that could take accurate pictures over 50 ft away... in the dark!  A pen with a special voice recording device.  Sunglasses with special lenses so he could see behind him.  A water bottle equipped with a hidden camera.  

The PI gave the girls tips on how he follows a suspect in a car.  He explained how you should try and drive in their blind spot, time stoplights and drive an inconspicuous, plain vehicle.

He talked about difficult insurance fraud cases where he was staked out in front of houses, sometimes days, waiting for suspects to falter.   He talked about interviewing neighbors to get clues about a suspect's reliability or demeanor.

Finally he talked about the importance of fingerprints.  He revieewed the different patterns that can identify suspects.  He even fingerprinted each girl and allowed them to fingerprint their buddy and then we analyzed the prints.

Once our amazing guest left, the girls were ready to become spies themselves so we discussed the Morse Code.  The girls were given a special Morse Code Cheat Sheet which helped them decipher the code in less than a minute.  Using a website designed to teach Morse Code the girls identified each letter of the alphabet. 
Next I created 2 mystery codes using a fun website.  I offered a prize for the girls who could crack the code.  They really enjoyed this exercise and we learned a lot about the art of secret communication.

FYI: I used Quicktime to record the Morse Code alphabet and secret message and then I e-mailed the audio clip to myself so I could play it on my phone for the girls.  You could also burn a CD of the audio clips and play on a computer or CD player.  If you don't have access to Quick Time, you could record the audio clip using your voice recorder on your phone as well.  I use this feature on my phone quite a bit and not just for voice memos.

My notes for this discussion cover topics in Forensic Science, Fingerprinting and the Morse Code with the 1 Minute Morse Code Cheat Sheet.  I am happy to -email them to you:


  1. Thank you for the tips. I'll be using some of them tomorrow night!

  2. I'm in Dallas area too. Did the PI charge a fee to come speak to your troop?