What Does a Forensic Analyst Do?

There are several types of forensic analysts, and each has its own set of responsibilities. Some, for example, must rush to a crime scene because crime scene examiners and forensic engineers are frequently needed right away. Others, such as computer forensic analysts and crime laboratory analysts, prefer to stay at work to investigate crime scenes. A forensic psychologist is a type of forensic analyst who examines suspects to ensure that they are competent to stand trial. Medical examiners, on the other hand, are more likely to focus on the dead bodies discovered at crime scenes, and the information they gather can aid in the suspect’s conviction.

Many forensic analysts are required to work in the field, such as at crime scenes. A crime scene examiner, for example, is usually among the first on the scene, responsible for securing the area and meticulously collecting any possible evidence — such as hair, blood, or bullets — that could lead to the identification of the perpetrator. Forensic engineers are often present at the scene, and they can use their math and science skills to figure out what happened. Car accidents and fire investigations are among the most likely to require the assistance of a forensic analyst.

Because certain types of analysts prefer to spend their time studying objects that were involved in the crime rather than observing the crime scene, some analyst jobs entail staying at the office while working. A computer forensic analyst, for example, examines computers that may have been used shortly before the crime. Computer forensic analysts can usually recover deleted files and unearth photos and emails that can aid in determining who committed the crime. Because blood, drugs, and weapons must often be closely examined if they are to help find the culprit, a crime laboratory analyst may prefer to stay at the office to perform the typical forensic analyst duties.

While some forensic analysts concentrate on the crime scene or the objects involved in the incident, others focus on the people involved. When the work of the other analysts points to the suspect, for example, a forensic psychologist is called in to determine whether the suspect has a mental illness. If that’s the case, he’ll almost certainly need to be treated differently than someone who isn’t mentally ill, so this type of forensic analyst is critical. The medical examiner, who usually examines the dead bodies involved in crimes, is also an important participant in crime scene investigations. This type of forensic analyst aims to figure out how and when the victim died in order to help convict the suspect.