Kw-logo-smaller

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.

Related Stories:

  • Cruelty Investigator
  • Snow Safety Patroller
  • Protecting Our Forests From Flames
  • 3 Comments

    latest videos

    F1011990583968

    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.

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    Hemmingsgirl
    Hemmingsgirl posted in Friends:
    That's horrible I hope people stop saying that. How rude. 
    reply about 13 hours
    jazebelle
    jazebelle posted in Friends:
    There was a rumor about me losing my ######### to my teacher. It wasn't true. I have a disorder were its hard for me to read Cuz I would think its one word but it wasn't it. And I always stay after school in his classroom Cuz he helps me a lot. 
    reply about 13 hours
    Hemmingsgirl
    Hemmingsgirl posted in Friends:
    Dear Dish-It I have a horse that I board at a local barn. I was really excited when I started going there because there are 3 other kids there my age: Riley, Lilly and Isaac,  who are all 14 (I'm 13). Isaac is the only boy, and lately some of my family have been thinking I have a crush on him. But I don't! I think crushes are weird and gross and honestly have never really had one. I consider him a friend, nothing more. But nobody believes me! Every time they see me texting someone they ask if it's Isaac. If I'm zoned out they ask if I'm thinking about him. But I never am! I know that I should just ignore them but its really difficult. I feel uncomfortable riding horses together or talking because I feel like it'll make people think I have a crush on him. I know my fam isn't trying to be mean but its really upsetting, and the more I get upset the more they tease me. I don't think they realize that I don't find the teasing nice or fun. And also im not usually a sensitive person so maybe this is a touchy subject for me? Thanks so much!  P.S. Riley and Lilly don't think I like him. 
    reply about 15 hours
    Kvinne
    Kvinne posted in Friends:
    Teleportation, wish magic, some black magic here and there (In response to Erza_Scarlet56)
    reply about 17 hours
    David_Teh_Derp
    David_Teh_Derp posted in Friends:
    Well, I don't really know, but I am sort of insane too, but not in the same way. I have instead practiced my own opinion and been very philosophical since I bumped my head when I fell of my bike. So you're not alone, many people including mentally stable ones have imaginary friends. Even some shows are based on someone having imaginary friends. Like a show I used to watch when I was small, Alfons Åberg, yes, in later seasons he did get real friends but he was known for his imaginary friend. About that practicing magic thing, it seems a bit weird but then, there is not much difference from putting frogs, bug's blood and secret herbs into a cauldron from cooking French food. So I think you can discover your future from using cooking stuff to practice your 'magic'. "Insanity is not insanity if you would make a movie of it, and nothing exciting, adrenaline rushing or thrilling would happen in it"  -Me As you can see I have a very complicated opinion on it, maybe even the most. Oh, and you could be loosing your sanity or just having a time where this happens and everything is normal again. (And no, I haven't seen your previous discussions)
    reply 1 day

    play online games