What Does A Crime Scene Investigator Do?

"I have always been a fan of detective stories, television shows and movies. I want a career that will put me at the scene of the crime where I can look for evidence to help solve cases. I believe a crime scene investigator would really suit me so I want to know more about this career. What does a crime scene investigator do?"

asked by Sonya T. from Reno, Nevada

Whenever a crime is committed, crime scene investigators are one of the first law enforcement personnel on the scene. They do a very important task of securing the perimeter so that evidence is amply protected. Fingerprints, blood, gunshot residues, fragments, hair and other kinds of evidence needs to be gathered and processed to prove that a crime was committed and to help solve it.

Crime scene investigators provide an organized approach to gathering evidence and processing a crime scene. They are specially-trained in the fields of crime scene response, homicide and death scene investigations, evidence gathering and collection, fingerprint technology and forensic photography.

One of the first things that crime scene investigators do is to search and examine the crime scene. They need to come up with a plan before moving forward with the initial search because there might be fragile evidence or safety issues that need to be taken into account. They also need to determine what equipment to use for the job.

Crime scene investigators then document the crime scene by writing reports, making sketches and taking pictures. The reports done should be factual, not opinionated. It should not also be an analysis of the situation but presents the chronological order or events. Sketches are done to show the presentation of the items in the crime scene and their relationship with each other.

The good thing about sketches is that they show the scene as is minus the distractions that are captured in the photographs. However, crime scene investigators should also take pictures in order to show how the scene looked like before it is processed and eventually cleaned. Wide-range, mid-range and close-up views should be taken of the crime scene as well as clear pictures of items that have serial numbers and similar important information.

Another crucial task of crime scene investigators is collecting the evidence and processing them. Whether recovering impressions like shoe marks or fingerprints, getting trace evidence like glass or fibers, or firearms at the scene, they must follow the proper techniques and procedures and observe care and caution to protect their integrity.

They should also label or tag the items they have collected, store them properly and transport them back to the laboratory right way. This is a very important part of the job of crime scene investigators because some of these items will still need to be tested for such things as DNA.

During the trial, crime scene investigators may be asked to give their testimony in court to help shed light on a particular case. What they say will help the other investigators pin down suspects and give justice to victims.

Career Spotlight: Crime Scene Investigator

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