Are you thinking about training to become a crime scene investigator?
If you have strong problem-solving skills and keen observation, this job could be for you. This role mainly involves visiting crime scenes and collecting evidence to solve and prove cases. While this can be a rewarding career, it can take a lot of time and skill to qualify. It is important to make sure that you have the right soft skills and are dedicated to this job.
Let’s take a look at a typical crime scene investigator job description and the skills you need to do the job.
Crime Scene Investigator Job Description
A typical job description should begin by explaining the working environment, such as the police department. It should give an overview of the typical daily duties that the candidate would need to perform. There will also be details of any special or unusual duties that go along with this role.
There should be details of the qualifications and experience that the candidate will need to have. This will include any desirable skills and attributes that the right candidate should have. Make sure you read the job description carefully to make sure you meet the requirements before applying.
Crime Scene Investigator Responsibilities and Duties
The duties and responsibilities of this role will vary slightly depending on the location and department. However, there are typical duties that you are likely to be charged with regularly. Here are some of the main responsibilities and duties you need to be prepared for.
Processing the Crime Scene
It is important to oversee the crime scene and make sure it is processed in the right way. Failure to do this can lead to lost or damaged evidence. You need to take an organized approach to follow the correct sequence of expected duties and protocols.
You need to make sure the initial search of the scene is organized and follows all legal protocols. Take the size and type of area into account to determine the search procedure. It is essential to form a plan of operation that takes all of the relevant factors into account.
It is important to correctly document the crime scene so that it can be used as evidence in court. This includes writing reports that clearly record the facts and taking photos and videos. You may also be required to create sketches that represent the appearance of the crime scene.
You need to follow the correct methods, techniques, and procedures when collecting evidence from the crime scene. This includes carefully recording and cataloging all evidence, such as samples of hair, blood, and clothing fibers. You also need to examine the scene for fingerprints and take imprints of tire prints and footprints.
Other key responsibilities include:
- Giving evidence in court.
- Responding to calls from the police to attend crime scenes.
- Preserving crime scenes.
- Working closely with the police.
Typical Skills And Attributes
This job involves a combination of both hard and soft skills. While hard skills can be learned through training, soft skills affect your ability to do the job well. Here are some of the main skills and attributes a successful crime scene investigator must have.
You need to be prepared to bend and stoop to examine and document evidence. You may need to walk for many miles to access scenes in remote areas. It is necessary to work in all weather conditions and have the stamina to work for numerous hours.
Intuition and judgment
While this comes with experience, you also need to have natural intuition. You need to be able to take a flexible approach to situations to work out the best way to solve problems. It is also necessary to be motivated and be able to stay calm under pressure.
The ability to detach
This job is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. You are likely to encounter grizzly and gruesome events in crime scenes. You need to be able to detach from the horror of the scene and focus on tasks like analyzing blood splatter.
Critical and analytical thinking
You need to be able to analyze and evaluate evidence objectively. It is important to think deeply about the evidence without jumping to conclusions.
You need to be able to form a strong working relationship with your colleagues. Know their strengths and that you can trust them. When situations become stressful, it is important to be able to work around differences in opinion.
You will need to be able to use Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel. And be familiar with the forensic case management system. Part of this role may also involve conducting research online.
The Working Environment
You will usually be assigned to a large police department or a state police organization. The job involves traveling to different crime scenes, some of which may be in remote locations. You need to be prepared to work outdoors and spend time in the lab consulting experts.
Most crime scene investigators work around forty hours a week. You will need to be prepared to be on call around the clock and respond to calls quickly. During cases, you often have to work long shifts and irregular shift patterns.
Education, Training, and Certification
You need to have a strong understanding of the law and different procedures to do this job. Before you are hired, you will have to undergo background checks, evaluations, and drug screenings. Here are the other steps you need to take to gain the necessary skills and experience for this job.
You usually need to hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science. It is a good idea to complete coursework in forensic science and law enforcement. A background in chemistry, biology, and criminal justice will help to give you the edge.
You need to have a certain amount of experience in law enforcement. You also have to complete training in collecting and processing forensic evidence. Once your training is complete, you need to keep up with the latest advances in technology and practices.
While it is not essential to become certified, it will help you take your career to the next level. The International Crime Scene Investigators Association offers a range of useful certifications. These allow you to specialize in a particular field if you want.
Continuing professional development allows you to keep your skills up to date. It ensures that you are familiar with the latest evidence reviewing and cybercrime technology. The Crime Scene Investigator training course is especially useful, while the Crime Scene Manager course will help you advance.
Want To Advance Into Forensics?
Would you like to work in law enforcement and are not sure how? Well, that’s amazing news for one, and we can help! Let’s start with a police officer position and see if you’d be interested with my Police Officer Job Description and Police Officer Interview Questions.
But maybe you’re looking to work in Forensics, for that, we’ve found a selection of outstanding books and guides such as Becoming a Crime Scene Investigator or How To Become A Crime Scene Investigator: The ULTIMATE Career Guide to becoming a Scenes Of Crime Officer (SOCO), or how about Investigating Cybercrime (Crime Scene Investigators), and Digital Photography for the Crime Scene Investigator, or another How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator (Crime Scene Investigation) guide and the Death Investigators Handbook: A Field Guide To Crime Scene Processing, Forensic Evaluations, And Investigative Techniques all available online in 2022.
And of course, for some intriguing reads into the life of Forensics, we recommend reading the Confessions of a Crime Scene Investigator, the 10 True Tales: Crime Scene Investigators, the Cops And Writers: Crime Scenes And Investigations, the Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation, and even the FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics: The Authoritative Guide to Navigating Crime Scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat!
Getting a job as a crime scene investigator can be a challenging career that takes time and dedication. You need to be prepared to deal with different scenes, some of which can be disturbing.
However, this can also be a richly rewarding career that comes with the satisfaction of helping people. This role also comes with excellent career advancement opportunities. As you gain skill and experience, you can advance to a senior level and take on more management responsibilities.
Advanced roles on this career path include crime scene coordinator, crime scene manager, and senior crime scene investigator.
All the very best working as a Crime Scene Investigator!