Crime scene technicians commonly are portrayed in television programs and movies. Whilst you may have some generalized idea about the work of this type of professional, you probably really do not know what a crime scene technician actually does on a day to day basis. Indeed, if you are like a good many individuals, you may also have some misperceptions about the work of a crime scene technician. The primary tasks of a crime scene technician are:
- Securing and examining the crime scene
- Collecting evidence at the crime scene
- Lab work associated with collected evidence
- Preparation of report associated with crime scene, evidence, and lab results
Securing and Examining the Crime Scene
A primary and vital task of a crime scene technician is assisting other law enforcement officials in securing the crime scene. A secure crime scene is vital to protecting evidence that might be found at the site. An unsecured crime scene can result in evidence at the site being tainted, a reality that result in that evidence being inadmissible in the prosecution of a criminal defendant.
At the heart of securing the crime scene is making certain that no unauthorized individual accesses the scene. In addition, a crime scene technician guards against individuals authorized to be in a crime scene having inappropriate physical contact with evidence.
Once the crime scene is appropriately secured, a technician then examines the overall scene. This process typically includes taking photos and videos of the crime scene. The location of objects in the crime scene can prove to be important evidence in a criminal prosecution.
If you ever find yourself as the first person at a crime scene, it is imperative that you avoid touching anything. Even the slightest physical contact with certain types evidence can result in problems if the case is to be prosecuted.
Collecting Evidence at the Crime Scene
The next phase of a crime scene technician’s work is the collection of physical evidence from the scene. This oftentimes include the collection of blood and other biological matter. The reality is that a wide range of different types of physical evidence can be collected from a particular crime scene.
Collected evidence is placed into a proper sealed container with information included on the receptacle about who collected the evidence and when and where it was collected. This is the first step in establishing what is known as the “chain of custody” for evidence collected at a crime scene. A proper chain of custody ensures that the evidence is not tampered with or altered in any manner between the point of collected in its use in a criminal prosecution.
Lab Work Associated With Collected Evidence
Another area in which a crime scene technician performs services is certain types of essential lab work associated with collected evidence. While there are some laboratory tasks that are performed by specialists (like DNA testing), a good amount of evidence related lab work is done by a crime scene technician.
There are some crime scene technicians that do specialize in certain types of lab testing. For example, blood splatter specialists are an example of crime scene investigators and analysts that specialize in a focused area of evaluating evidence obtained from the scene of a crime.
Preparation of Report Associated With Crime Scene, Evidence, and Lab Results
Finally, a crime scene technician is responsible for preparing a comprehensive report about the crime scene itself, evidence collected, and laboratory results. This report is utilized in a number of ways, including:
- Identifying the perpetrator of a crime
- Determining whether a case should be prosecuted
- Prosecution of a charged criminal defendant
Prevalent Crime Scene Technician Misconception
There is no doubt that crime scene technicians are highly trained and adept individuals. Truly, they are capable of working in even the most challenging of situations when it comes to a crime scene. But, there are limits as to what crime scene technicians are capable of doing. There are tasks beyond the scope of their expertise and employment.
A commonplace misconception associated with a crime scene technician is that this type of professional is not only involved in the investigation of but also the cleanup of a crime scene. The reality is that a crime scene technician lacks the background and vital resources necessary to undertake crime scene cleanup.
Specialized professionals are in the business of crime scene cleanup. The fact that an experienced crime scene technician is not equipped to undertake cleanup underscores the need for a home or business owner to seek out the assistance of a crime scene cleanup company to assist with this endeavor. In the overall scheme of things, a crime scene tech and the typical home or business owner do not have the skills and tools absolutely necessary for safe, thorough biohazard remediation.