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Forensic Identification Specialist

Forensic Identification Specialist - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 1 Star Rating)

Do you pay attention to details and dig TV shows like CSI and The X-Files? Perhaps then a job in forensics might be the perfect career for you! Get the scoop from a cop who works in the field of forensic science!

Do you love watching TV shows like CSI and The X-Files? Are you a detail-oriented person? If you are, then a job in forensics might be the perfect career for you. It's not exactly what you see on TV but there are true crime shows on A&E that paint the real picture. In the meantime here's the scoop from a real-life pro on working in the field of forensic science!

Constable Paul Brisson is a Forensic Identification Specialist (apprentice) for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Kamloops, Canada. Cst. Brisson has 16 years of police service under his belt including nine years as a Collision Analyst and two years in the Forensic Identification section.

In a days work, Cst. Brisson attends crime scenes and/or examines evidence collected from a crime scene by an investigator. At the scene of a crime he'll take photographs, jot down his findings, collect and record forensic evidence such as fingerprints, DNA (hair, skin, blood samples, etc.) and footwear imprints. After preparing a report for the investigator, he submits the fingerprints to the police computer's British Columbia Automated Fingerprint Information System (BCAFIS) to see if there is a match on the fingerprints and to record the info. Then the evidence goes to court.

The Good Stuff

In order to find evidence, Cst. Brisson says, "you have to put yourself in the suspect's shoes." (Hmmm... if I were a bad guy I would have done this first... then gone here, perhaps.) The best part of the job, Paul says, "Is being expected, required and paid to be thorough and be given the time required to complete an investigation."

The Bad Stuff

The worst part of being a forensic specialist is preparing for court. There's a ton of paperwork, yuck!

The $$$

The starting salary for a police Constable is $58,000 CDN a year and after three years you're promoted to a Corporal at $64,000 CDN a year. You can continue to advance up the ranks in forensics. In the US, a forensics specialist can make between $29,300 and $50,000 US a year (salary may very state to state.)

Most Exciting Investigation

The most exciting event for Cst. Brisson was solving a murder case by identifying a wood fragment recovered from the suspect's home. The wood fragment was from a larger piece of wood which had been used as a weapon. Footwear impression evidence was also used to crack the case.

Training

You can't become a forensics specialist overnight. First you have to become a police officer, which is a long and difficult process. Before jumping into forensics you need to have three years of general duty policing (with the RCMP in this case) and you need to have a recommendation as a potential candidate for the field.

Then you have to take a Scenes of Crime Officer Course as well as a Forensic Identification Course at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa, Canada. A forensic specialist is also required to complete a four-year Forensic Identification Apprentice Training Program.

Early Career Prep

Cst. Brisson knew he wanted to be a police officer when he was eight years old and later developed an interest in forensics. "I enjoy looking for answers and finding evidence that speaks for itself," says Cst. Brisson. "I enjoy this type of work so much I can hardly believe I get paid to do it!"

For young people thinking about a career in forensics Cst. Brisson suggests working hard - studying subjects like chemistry, physics, math, computers and even drafting. He also recommends staying out of trouble!

1Did you know that there is a 0% error rate in forensics? If you goof up the evidence, you'll be fired.

1Forensics specialists use 35mm, digital video/image cameras, computers, scanners, fingerprint dusting powders & sprays, UV & laser lights and digital measuring devices.

For more on the RCMP and what's involved in forensics, click here.

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    Forensics - What's The Neatest Part?

    • Finding a fingerprint or hair sample.
    • Putting a bad guy behind bars.
    • Cracking a very old case.
    • Making a mold of a footprint.

    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    drowning
    drowning posted in Friends:
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    reply about 16 hours
    JazzyRox
    JazzyRox posted in Friends:
    "WatermelonCurlz" wrote:OMG! OK so, I have a group to 3 friends (not including me) and they love this video game that I'm not allowed to play. And they know that, so they talk about it purposely around me. Omg, ikr.When I ask to talk about something else the ignore me. So I say, I'm going to go find real friends, and they say, OK, like me care. And that's all they want to talk about, at recess, lunch, secretly in class, you name it thye do it. How do I get them to stop?   You should probably just stop talking to them and stuff. don't sit by them at lunch and don't hang out with them at recess. they sound like they are not good friends. if it gets worse, just tell your parents if they don't already know. idk how good i am at advise. hope this helped.  ~JazzyRox
    reply about 16 hours
    WatermelonCurlz
    OMG!OK so, I have a group to 3 friends (not including me) and they love this video game that I'm not allowed to play. And they know that, so they talk about it purposely around me. Omg, ikr.When I ask to talk about something else the ignore me. So I say, I'm going to go find real friends, and they say, OK, like me care. And that's all they want to talk about, at recess, lunch, secretly in class, you name it thye do it. How do I get them to stop?
    reply about 17 hours
    Abbergrl
    Well I strongly agree with you all. It's like, wow I never knew so many people had this problem!
    reply 2 days
    Abbergrl
    Abbergrl posted in Friends:
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    reply 2 days