Forensic science technicians help investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Most technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. Show Details
At crime scenes, forensic science technicians, also known as crime scene investigators, typically do the following:
Walk through the scene to determine what and how evidence should be collected
Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
Make sketches of the crime scene
Keep written notes of their observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence as it is found
Collect all relevant physical evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids
Catalog and preserve evidence before transferring it to a crime lab
Crime scene investigators may use tweezers, black lights, and specialized kits to identify and collect evidence. In addition to processing crime scenes, they may also attend autopsies.
In laboratories, forensic science technicians typically do the following:
Identify and classify crime scene evidence through scientific analysis
Explore possible links between suspects and criminal activity using the results of chemical and physical analyses
Consult with experts in related or specialized fields, such as toxicology, about the evidence and their findings
Reconstruct crime scenes based on scientific findings
Forensic science technicians reconstruct crime scenes by carefully studying information gathered by investigators and conducting scientific tests on physical evidence. For example, lab technicians may look at photographs of blood splatter patterns and conduct ballistics tests on bullets found at the crime scene to determine the direction from which a shot was fired.
Forensic science technicians who work in laboratories use chemicals and laboratory equipment such as microscopes when analyzing evidence. They also use computer databases to examine fingerprints, DNA, and other evidence collected at crime scenes in order to match them to people and things that have already been identified. Most forensic science technicians who perform laboratory analysis specialize in a specific type of evidence analysis, such as DNA or ballistics.
All forensic science technicians prepare written reports that detail their findings and investigative methods. They must be able to explain their reports to lawyers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials. In addition, forensic science technicians may be called to testify in court about their findings and methods.