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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.
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    • Cracking a very old case.
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    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    Autonomy
    "Lulu335" wrote: I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!! Oh sweetheart, your situation is so, so very far from being complicated. In fact, it's actually, entirely simple. But I'm here to help you see that, because you can't see it yourself quite yet. Brace yourself, you may never hear such advice in your life ever again. Or you might, I can't predict the future. You're in sixth grade, you said. Assuming you live in the United states and weren't held back, you're probably 12, maybe 11. The problem is, the human brain isn't fully developed until a person hits the age of about 25. This means, without debate, that your brain unable to fully grasp what being in a relationship actually entails, what it means, what the consequences are, and so forth. You can't even fathom it, my dear. I couldn't at your age; no one can. You've just begun to hit puberty at this point in your very young, completely normal life. Certain hormones are now being developed by your body that, up until puberty began, your body did not produce. Let me explain, in simple terms, what this means: these new hormones are giving you fuzzy feelings for boys, but these feelings are not what people with fully developed brains call "love." Love means being self sacrificing, compromising, giving and taking, communicating clearly and honestly, and so much more. What you're feeling is a part of love-romance-but it's not all there is to love. It's actually just a few simple chemicals being released in your brain: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and few others. Your brain releases those chemicals when, say, you see a boy you like, and those chemicals make you feel all fuzzy inside. In fact, (brace yourself,) there's nothing inherently special about the boys you like, or the boys that like you; in fact, they're also, entirely normal, and aside from a few minor differences in character, completely like most other boys their age. Had you been born in another town, gone to another school, you would have gotten the same fuzzy feeling about whatever boy you thought you liked at that school. You see? I'm not saying this to make you feel insignificant, but perhaps the insight will make moving easier for you. The next place your militant parents settle down in will also have a middle school, with a bunch of normal 11-14 year old boys and girls, all doing the exact same things the kids at your school do right now. Does that put things in perspective for you? The world is a very, very big place, and it's home to billions upon billions of people. Your situation is far from being a needle in a hay stack; it's more like a blade of grass, in a vast field of foliage. The feelings you're feeling aren't uncommon or complicated, they just feel that way to you. (Now, really brace yourself, because this is going to get uncomfortable.) We, as people, tend to think that we're special. Each one of us a unique snowflake, drifting about in big blue sky, that exists solely to show the world how special we are. The problem is, the other seven billions snowflakes (people) think exactly like we do, and in this way, we are all the same. We think our problems are new problems that no one has ever dealt with before, and no one else could possibly understand the pain and suffering we're going through. We all think this way, by nature; but it's simply naive. Heartache and suffering have existed since people existed, and possibly before then. Your situation may not be ideal to you, but once you come to terms with the fact that life isn't ideal for anyone, you might actually feel comfort. The easiest way to cope with our many problems, is to accept them for what they are: a part of the human experience. Natural, normal, repeating generation after generation without end. Again, these are concepts that require some deep thought, and you might not fully grasp them quite yet. But remember them. With time, as you grow, think about them more, and you will find peace with your life. And remember this: although you're stuck (for now) on a giant rock hurling around the sun at an incredible speed, you're not alone. With billions of other people stuck here with you, you'll never be without friends.
    reply about 8 hours
    Fun_125
    I personally think that when you ARE ready then go for it! As long as the person you like isn't a jerk to anyone or you go for it! Just don't get too serious. It's middle school. Good luck!
    reply about 10 hours
    Error44
    "Lulu335" wrote:I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!!I know, it is too late but I think you should not go for a deeper relationship, don't make it hard for yourself and try to be his just friend because you are so young .
    reply about 13 hours
    Error44
    "queenslay173" wrote:I was at school when I noticed people started to tell me this boy liked me and I thought it was cool because I'm used to that type of stuff then we started to dated in October we broke up right before christmas and it was so strange. we got back together in the beginning of January and we broke up again on the 4 my friends are really mad at me and he seemed really upset I like him but I just don't want to be with him anymore what should I do ?- confused lover Tell him your reasons and make it clear for both of you
    reply about 13 hours
    lottie_h141
    lottie_h141 posted in Style:
    thank u!!! acc helps so much. Obvs going to superstars aswell 
    reply 3 days