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Forensic Identification Specialist

Constable Brisson dusts a firearm for fingerprints with the help of forensic science.
Courtesy of RCMP - GRC.
Analyzing forensic evidence.
CMP - GRC.
Bad boys, bad boys what'cha gonna do? What'cha gonna do when forensic science puts the stop on you?
CMP - GRC.
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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    Comments

    mokeydokey

    mokeydokey wrote:

    Woohoo! Awesome
    commented: Fri Jun 07, 2013

    Prophey

    Prophey wrote:

    im currently in a forensic science class for a full credit
    commented: Mon Jan 14, 2013

    JustinBieberfan99
    cool!! this has been what i want to do for a year now!!
    commented: Mon May 31, 2010

    there are 3 more comments

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    LostintheAbyss
    Dear Dish-it, This is really strange for me to write to you because I have never done anything like this before but I need an outside POV from my situation and I need help. These days, I don't know what I'm doing or what tomorrow is going to bring. But before I get into how I feel, I am going to explain my situation a bit first. So let's get started. My family is a family of 6 though my oldest sibling has left the house to live else where because he's 26 years old. Anyway, I argue a lot in my family in fact there's fights everyday either with me or just between other family members. I don't remember a time that we didn't fight... Sad ain't it? But I try and not let it bother me. My mom and me have the best and worst relationship out there. At one time, we understand ourselves completely but then something happens and the arguments stop... It always ends with her angry and me frustrated, crying and angry... I have cried more in the past year and half (That is when it got worst) Then my entire lifespan so far. Plus since she had a bad childhood, she tries to make everything different from hers but she ALWAYS compares me to her. I am a different person than her and she just doesn't understand that! I always feel really bad after because she wants me to be the perfect child but I can't and I never will be. I am just me. Like today, I punched a wall because I just wanted to feel something else than sadness and worst thing is that I fake smiles and optimism at school so nobody knows. My friends don't understand even though I have told them but now I brush it off. It's not their life so they don't need to understand it. But that's my situation... Now that you have heard something about me, I need help. I'm sending myself in the abyss. I am losing control. I feel as if everything is slipping from my fingers and everything is falling apart. I don't know what's happening to me! I am losing myself and I don't know what to do! It's hard to keep up my grades, to make sure that everything is done, that I go to my activities after school. It feels so hard to do right now... I throw things and slam doors when I am super mad. I don't have anger issues but I keep in so many emotions that I explode when I can't take them anymore. My world seems to be crumbling before my eyes. My family is in debt, my parents might split and my brothers hate me. My dog, running, drawing and books are my only escape.  I don't know what to do... Sincerely LostintheAbyss
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