Thanks to the television, especially the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) series on one of the popular channels, forensic science has become a household word and these days even commoners are aware of it. Here we make an attempt to explore this career in detail so that we understand what this career is all about. Crime scene investigators or forensic experts are involved in the collection, identification, classification and analysis of physical evidence to help solve complex crime incidents. Thus CSI is used to nail the guilty or prove the innocence of falsely accused. A job in CSI also involves testing weapons, clothing, fibers, hair and tissue for criminal evidence. These professionals also may offer their expertise in ballistics, fingerprinting or handwriting analyses.
A crime scene investigator has to perform many roles and duties. These include securing the crime scene and taking detailed measurements. They have to sketch and diagram the scene and also take photographs from various angles of the crime scene so that all the evidence is photographically documented. Crime scene investigators also have to document all the evidence taken from the crime scene comprising of location, nature, type of crime, etc. They also have to package and label evidence for transfer to the lab. Crime scene investigators also have to attend and photograph autopsies. They also write a report detailing evidence collection procedures and their conclusions thereof. Crime scene investigators have also to testify to their findings in court.
Crime scene investigators are law enforcement professionals who work in tandem with police or detectives of various agencies to process and document evidence that is found at the scene of crime. They might also work in a lab to analyze and process the collected evidence. Processing a crime scene is meticulous work that may take several hours and crime scene investigators must pay attention to every minute detail to avoid overlooking critical evidence. Before the crime scene can be examined, it has to be cordoned off and secured to prevent tampering and contamination. The entire scene and the evidence collected is photographed.
Crime scene investigators have to follow strict protocols for collecting trace evidence such as hair, glass, fiber, paint or dirt in order to maintain the integrity of the chain of evidence. Crime scene investigators must be able to work under conditions that are both physically and emotionally exhausting. They have to be present at the crime scene until all the evidence has been collected and photographed and this can mean working long hours. Their working conditions vary according to the crime committed and have to work indoors and outdoors as well. Crime scene investigators must have good communication skills since they have to testify in the court and convey information and their findings to attorneys and others involved in the case. Hence, crime scene investigators are an important link in the law enforcement chain that helps to solve crime.