Crime scene technicians are
crucial to the justice system.
They work with police and other
law enforcement agencies to
investigate crimes using the crime
scene itself as evidence. Crime
scene technicians use analysis and
a keen eye to collect and analyze
data, then present it in writing
and orally. While some crime scene
technicians work on a contract
basis, others are directly
employed by police departments.
Crime scene investigators inspect crime scenes where invasions, sexual assaults, murders, armed robberies, and burglaries have occurred. Investigators spend about 70 percent of their time packaging and processing physical evidence, photographing autopsies, and briefing law enforcement agencies. Investigators spend the remainder of their time preparing reports, teaching classes, and testifying in court.
What Does a Crime Scene Technician Do?
Crime scene technicians work in conjunction with other forensic experts at crime scenes. They study the area, collect evidence and take measurements along with noting specific features that may be pertinent to the crime itself. Some technicians are responsible for collecting physical evidence such as bullet casings, hair or skin fragments, and blood droplets.
Some crime scene technicians do not work on-site but rather with evidence that has already been collected. In order to do this, they analyze the data in laboratories, strictly following protocols that have previously been determined. It is crucial to follow these procedures so that evidence can be considered valid in court.
Crime scene technicians also have reporting duties. They are responsible for writing an evidence report as the last step in the procedure; this report must detail processes for evidence collection as well as any test results. It is often possible that a crime scene technician will be called to testify in a court trial after these findings have been documented.
How Do I Become a Crime Scene Technician?
In order to work as a professional crime scene technician, you must have not only a high school diploma, but a specialized certificate or degree in criminal procedure, forensics or crime scene investigation. While four-year undergraduate degrees in the field are available, they are not typically required for employment.
Detail-oriented candidates who are not rattled by a challenging – and at times gruesome – work environment will function best as crime scene technicians. This field is considered particularly broad, and professionals can choose to specialize in any of a wide array of areas, such as crime laboratories or police and fire departments.
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