The Forensic Science Technician collects, identifies, classifies, and analyzes physical evidence related to criminal investigations. They perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation.
The Forensic Science Technician is also expected to testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. The Forensic Science Technician serves as a specialist in areas of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.
Tasks for the Forensic Science Technicians
- The Forensic Science Technicians collect evidence from crime scenes, storing it in conditions that preserve its integrity.
- The Forensic Science Technician keeps records and prepares reports detailing findings, investigative methods, and laboratory techniques.
- The Forensic Science Technician uses chemicals and other substances to examine latent fingerprint evidence and compare developed prints to those of known persons in databases.
- The Forensic Science Technician testifies in court about investigative and analytical methods and findings.
- The Forensic Science Technician takes photographs of evidence.
- The Forensic Science Technician visits morgues, examine scenes of crimes, or contact other sources to obtain evidence or information to be used in investigations.
- The Forensic Science Technician collects impressions of dust from surfaces to obtain and identify fingerprints.
- The Forensic Science Technician reconstructs crime scenes to determine relationships among pieces of evidence.
- The Forensic Science Technician operates and maintains laboratory equipment and apparatus.
- Sometimes the Forensic Science Technician must train new technicians and other personnel on forensic science techniques.
Tools and Technology used in this occupation:
- Biological evidence collection kits – Blood collection kits, Body fluid collection kits, Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits
- Footprint lifters- Electrostatic dust print lifters, Gel lifters, Impression casting kits
- Specimen collectors- Evidence collection containers; Glass specimen jars, Plastic specimen jars
- Tape measures- Crime scene tape measures, Steel measuring tape
- Ultraviolet UV lamps- Long-wave ultraviolet UV lamps; Ultraviolet UV lights
- Analytical or scientific software- DNA sequence analysis software, Laboratory information management system LIMS software
- Data base user interface and query software- Automated Biometric Identification System ABIS, Combined DNA Index System CODIS, Microsoft Access, National Crime Information Center NCIC database
- Electronic mail software- IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software imaging software-Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software, Mideo Systems EZDoc Plus, Midwest Information Systems Pax-it, The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
- Word Processing software- Corel Word Perfect software, Microsoft Word
Knowledge Requirements for the Forensic Science Technician
The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs, assessments, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutuions.
The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups and the measurement of training effects. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. The Forensic Science Technician needs knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment. The Forensic Science Technician uses scientific rules and methods to solve problem. They also conduct tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.