Unlike the popular Hollywood versions of CSI where the crime scene investigator shows up wearing high heel shoes or expensive duds with one small case containing the exact equipment that he or she needs for the particular scenario, your job will be nasty, dirty, stinky, and often take long hours of wading through crap to: identify, collect, package, maintain, and preserve physical evidence. But, that is what your job is. It is not glamorous to identify valuable evidence or collect it and package it properly. You will likely not be asked for an autograph for the way you maintain the chain of custody or the way you transport and store each piece of evidence correctly.
Whether you work for a small agency of three officers or a large agency with thousands of officers, you will at some time need to collect physical evidence in order to successfully prosecute a criminal. Nearly all crime scenes contain evidence that needs collected for analysis. That evidence is also important for future prosecution. It is critically important to the case that the evidence is collected, packaged, and maintained using proper procedures. If you use improper techniques, evidence can be lost, overlooked or contaminated. Improperly packaged evidence can lead to its inadmissibility at trial and jeopardize the successful outcome of the case.
Your job as a CSI is mission critical. You are a part of the larger mission of the criminal justice system. The rest of the system is relying on you to do your job. It is a tough job that few can do. You need extensive knowledge on a variety of different disciplines such as: fingerprinting, biological evidence, entomology, and trace, just to name a few. The quality of your work directly influences the success of the case, whether guilty or innocent. The quality of the evidence you identify, collect, package, maintain, and submit to a laboratory does not matter if you do not follow sound techniques for each step.
For the next several weeks, I will post a new blog explaining techniques in: evidence collection, packaging, chain of custody, storage and other issues surrounding evidence handling. Your feedback and comments are always welcome. Let me know if you have a topic you would like to see discussed in the meantime.
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