Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It Doesn’t Happen Like it Does on CSI

Crime scenes aren’t processed in five minutes, evidence isn’t reviewed in 10 and cases take longer than 54 minutes, with commercials, to solve.  Oh, and the scenes usually aren’t quite so dramatic, either.  Make no mistake, though, the job of an Evidence Technician, also known as a Crime Scene Technician or Investigator, is an important one.  It is also one of the most commonly stated goals of people looking to get into police work.

The Overland Park Police Department currently has 53 officers who are trained as evidence technicians.  They are able to process a scene and collect evidence found at any type of call.  To put it simply, this means they dust for fingerprints, collect DNA, take photographs, make moldings or castings of tire marks, pry marks or shoe prints, for example, and then package anything that is collected as evidence.  These are officers who work the street and answer calls for service that you see in a uniform everyday.  Their primary job is to work as a first responder, but they also have the skills set to be able to process a crime scene.

We have two Crime Scene Detectives who are available to respond to larger and more involved scenes that most likely will take more time to process or even require a diagram.  These detectives also take evidence back to the crime lab for further processing.  Items that require additional testing or analysis, such as DNA review, are sent to the Johnson County Crime Laboratory to be processed.

So how does one become an evidence technician or the coveted Crime Scene Detective?  The answer is both surprising and disappointing to some, but in Overland Park it means the candidate has to actually work as a uniformed police officer answering calls for service before moving onto Crime Scene Detective.  Every place has a starting point, though, and for those who want to solve mysteries or put puzzles together, there’s a goal to set and attain.