Unqualified, but not Disqualified

The job description of a crime scene investigator is complex and multi-faceted, as a number of subspecialties exist within this profession.

Responsibilities to include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Identify, isolate and secure crime scenes
  • Preserve, collect and record impressions, including tool marks, footprints, tire marks, bite marks, and fingerprints
  • Collect DNA evidence, including blood, semen, hair, skin, blood stain patterns, bodily fluids and nails
  • Collect trace evidence, including gunshot residue, fibers, accelerant, paint, glass, etc.
  • Collect firearms evidence, including weapons, spent casings, bullet fragments, cartridges, and gun powder patterns
  • Follow protocol when working with evidence, as it is necessary to have it admissible in court
  • Take precise measurements to produce scale drawings
  • Prepare detailed reports on the observations and activities at the scene
  • Provide testimony in court regarding the findings and processing methods used at the scene

However, in Pittsfield Massachusetts…

The outcome of my trial was contingent upon one particular CSI whom the prosecutor introduced to the jury as, an individual with specialized knowledge in the field of forensic fingerprint science.  But during trial, under cross examination, it became public record that this so-called crime scene investigator:

  • Had taken no qualifying exam for the position
  • Had no college degree in criminal justice or forensic science
  • Had no IAI crime scene certification
  • Was not a certified criminal investigator, CCI ®
  • Was not a certified forensic analyst (GCFA)
  • Had not attended the F.B.I. fingerprint school
  • Proved unfamiliar with new technology regarding fingerprint processing techniques
  • Admitted to never reading the departmental book that outlines duties, responsibilities, and guidelines for an investigator

With standards this low one could ascend the departmental ladder, from janitor to police chief, in no time!

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