The Crime Scene Investigator
CJ-201 Spring, 2013
One thing that has always interested me within the criminal justice field is a crime scene investigator. I have always found this field interesting and like the events that a crime scene investigator does. In this paper, I will be explaining what it’s like to be a crime scene investigator and the types of tasks they do on a day to day basis. I will also be covering the types of evidence collection and examination they use.
Law enforcement agencies require the prospective crime scene investigator (CSI) to be a sworn officer (with arrest powers and authority to carry a weapon) and serve a minimum of three to five years on the job as a criminal investigator before applying to become a crime scene investigator. In areas with large populations and high rates of violent crime, the evidence documentation and collection portion of a crime scene response may be a full-time job. Many larger police agencies have budgets for such personnel specialties.
Smaller police agencies often do not have full-time crime scene investigators. These rural agencies may have two to three dozen sworn officers, and about one-third of those officers are supervisory or management. Often, the crime scene investigator is a collateral job. In some jurisdictions, the local police may call upon the county sheriff’s department or state police, who maintain a pool of full-time crime scene investigators.
Most police agencies require some type of two or four year degree for their sworn officers. Regardless of whether the individual’s education is in the social sciences, general studies, history, or criminal justice, if the individual is seeking a career as a crime scene investigator, he or she should supplement degree work with courses in computer science, forensic sciences, and photography.
A candidate for the crime scene investigator position must have an...