Background of crime scene investigation
Today, the field of forensic science has all but exploded.
Crime Scene Examination
Advancements in technology allow for better analysis and understanding of scientific principles in all types of evidence. This, in turn, allows crime scene investigators to branch out and gain expertise in areas such as bloodstain pattern analysis and ballistics.
The advancements of the twentieth century were built largely upon the groundwork laid in the nineteenth century, perfecting techniques in both analysis and preservation of evidence. In the late s, though, perhaps the largest breakthrough in crime scene investigation since fingerprinting became standard practice came with the advent of DNA analysis and identification. The recent use of DNA in criminal investigations has led not only to the positive identification of countless criminals, but it has also lead to overturns of prior convictions and the release of hundreds of innocent people.
Crime Scene Investigator Network
With new advances in police technology and computer science, crime scene investigation and forensic science will only become more precise as we head into the future. Working as a crime scene investigator can be an extremely rewarding prospect. Because the field is still relatively new, forensic science careers can put you on the cutting edge of new techniques, technology and research. Moreover, you'll be able to sleep soundly knowing you're working to bring justice and help others.
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However, in general, a CSI may be responsible for:. As such, a CSI is a professional has a thorough knowledge and a keen understanding of scientific observation and methods, the criminal justice system, and how crime scene investigation merges science with law. A crime scene investigator, regardless of the degree earned, needs to possess extensive knowledge in the natural sciences, as well as law enforcement and crime scene processing.
Professional CSIs who want to concentrate their careers in a forensic science specialty, such as ballistics or DNA, for example, also often need to acquire additional education. Depending on the CSI position or the state in which they work, crime scene investigators may also need to earn state licensure or specialized certification. In-service training is also commonplace in this profession, and many employers require the completion of specific training programs or exercises throughout the year.
Given the challenges of working at a crime scene, where gruesome, often disturbing, sights may be commonplace, CSI professionals should possess the ability to cope with difficult situations. I received valuable training in many disciples of forensics. Its innovative month-long class format allows students to immerse themselves in one subject at a time.
Both the Master of Forensic Sciences and the Graduate Certificate in Forensic and Crime Scene Investigations are available as online degrees so that working professionals can fit them into their lives on their own schedules. The degrees offer a firm foothold from which to step into a career in crime scene investigation as well as an opportunity for those currently working within the field to further their knowledge and advance in their careers. The graduate certificate in forensic and crime scene investigations is available as an in-person or an online program and provides a comprehensive overview of the forensic science and investigatory fields.
For more information about the Graduate Certificate in Forensic and Crime Scene Investigations or to request information about any of our forensic science educational programs, please visit our program page. Education Is Key Stafford says that anyone considering going to school to get into the forensic science field should first decide whether the goal is to work in a laboratory or out in the field at actual crime scenes. Certification Gives an Additional Edge The past few decades have seen a boom in awareness of crime scene investigation, in part because of the popularity of TV crime shows.
Organic and inorganic analysis
The CSI Effect Not only has popular television programming amplified the intrigue of forensic science and led to larger numbers of professionals seeking crime scene investigation training, but it has also increased public expectations of those professionals. Crime Scene Investigation Specialties Disciplines that involve the scientific analysis of crime scene evidence require a strong grounding in the natural sciences, especially biology, chemistry, and anatomy. A partial list of the many forensic specialties includes the following. Crime scene supervisors determine what elements at a crime scene are valuable as evidence and ensure that these are properly documented, collected, packaged, and transported to the lab for analysis.
Bloodstain pattern analysts photograph, recreate, and simulate blood patterns at crime scenes to gain details of how crimes were committed. These professionals need a background in biology and anatomy because they need to understand how blood behaves inside the body to know how it behaves leaving it.
Ballistics experts need a strong background in physics and they study firearms, explosives, and ammunition, along with related materials such as casings, to determine details about trajectories and distances of weapons fired at a crime scene. Trace evidence examiners analyze tiny samples of materials left at crime scenes or on victims; these may include fibers, hairs, or arson accelerants. Fingerprint analysts find fingerprints at crime scenes by applying specialized techniques to make them visible and transfer them to the lab.
The recovered fingerprints, called latent fingerprints, are then compared with the known fingerprints of suspects, or run through an identification program if there are no suspects. Footwear and tire track specialists make impressions of marks at crime scenes using specialized materials, and then compare those impressions with known footwear or tires.
Forensic anthropologists examine bones to identify bodies and to aid in the determination of time and manner of death. Forensic odontologists , informally known as forensic dentists, identify dental remains as well as bite marks associated with crimes.
Forensic entomologists help establish details such as time and geographical location of deaths by examining insects that colonize deceased bodies.