You may have heard of the occupation ‘CSI’ or Crime Scene Investigator, the individual who extracts evidence from a crime scene and pieces them together to guide law enforcement professionals in solving the case. Becoming a CSI is a long but worth-it journey, as individuals get the ability to identify perpetrators and analyze a crime scene.
The first step to becoming a crime scene investigator is earning a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. The institution one earns a bachelor’s degree from is typically called an ‘accredited post-secondary institution.’ Individuals customarily major in the natural sciences which includes chemistry, forensic science, criminal justice, etc. It is recommended to take core classes and electives related to forensics, psychology, legal studies, and other pertinent subjects.
Most CSIs opt to take a path in law-enforcement and complete the police academy. This is the recommended route as CSIs will have to receive training under an experienced technician; these experienced technicians would prefer to have an apprentice with extensive background in the police force.
Law Enforcement training may take from six months to three years, and a proficiency exam will be administered. Most forensic jobs are actually in law enforcement, for more information click this
Gain Professional Certification
ICSIA: International Crime Scene Investigators Association
The ISCIA offers Crime Scene Investigator Certification. There are multiple requirements necessary to earn this, the primary one being the individual applying for certification must work in a law enforcement agency.
They should complete at least 50 hours of post-secondary courses in crime scene processing, pass a written test with 100 questions, and pass a paper test about protocol.
They should have experience in outdoor, indoor, and motor vehicle crime. They should show proof of this as well as a macro photography assignment and a crime scene processed at night.
IAI: International Association for Identification
The IAI is the largest forensic organization in the world, it offers four certifications: Senior Crime Scene Analyst, Crime Scene Reconstructionist, Crime Scene Investigator, Crime Scene Analyst, each of which requires a score of at least 75 on an exam.
Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst
6 years experience
144 hours of instruction in 5 years
Authored an article, made a presentation, been an instructor, or gaven court testimony on a case
Certified Crime Scene Reconstructionist
5 years experience in crime scene reconstruction
120 hours of instruction in 5 years
Certified Crime Scene Investigator
1 year experience
48 hours of instruction in 5 years
Certified Crime Scene Analyst
3 years experience
96 hours of instruction in 5 years
ACFEI: The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute
ACFEI is a Certified Criminal Investigator .
They are first assessed in a plethora of areas including but not limited to history, psychological autopsy, crime scene investigation, etc…
Applicants must be at least 21 with no felony convictions and education including
Associates with 4 years experience
Bachelor’s with 2 years experience
7 years experience
DAILY RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACTIVITIES
Assess the crime scene
Create diagrams + sketches
Take measurements/Take photographs
Maintain technical equipment
Package and transfer the evidence
Summarize the evidence and interpret it
Prepare investigative report + Update the records if necessary
Use the criminal information database
Participate in conferences with law enforcement individuals
Take continuing education courses
Establish what happened in the crime scene
Identify the alleged perpetrator
Work with law-enforcement professionals
Skills: Critical thinking, attention to detail, problem-solving skills.
Overall, CSIs have a wide array of responsibilities ranging from analyzing the crime scene to working with law enforcement professionals to make the proper arrests and save lives on a daily basis. There are multiple paths an individual can take to become one, but they all lead to the same objective: saving lives and bringing justice to survivors and victims.