What is a Crime Scene Investigator?

A Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) is a trained professional who analyzes crime scenes, collects evidence, processes it, and returns reports that law enforcement officials and government officials can use. The qualifications for this job vary greatly depending on the hiring organization and national standards. Crime scene investigators are sworn law enforcement officers in some areas, with the authority to arrest suspects and pursue various leads in the investigation, while others are civilians with limited powers.

Most crime scene investigators work for a law enforcement agency or a company that requires trained investigators, such as an insurance company that sends an investigator to a car accident scene to determine whether the insurance company will pay for the accident. For CSIs, most organizations use a tiered system similar to that used in law enforcement. To advance through the tiers, each CSI must have different qualifications; the more qualified he or she is, the more money he or she can earn.

A crime scene investigator can use a lab to process evidence, lift fingerprints, and gather information about the crime scene. A CSI, for example, might look for hair, skin, or fiber samples to build a case against a suspect. He or she may also use a variety of techniques to extract fingerprints from evidence so that they can be used in the investigation. Some CSIs specialize in fingerprints, and they take pride in their ability to extract fingerprints from almost any surface.

The investigator secures a crime scene in the field to ensure that no evidence is tampered with. He or she gathers any and all evidence that may be relevant to the case, and the CSI is also in charge of maintaining the evidence’s chain of custody to ensure that it is not tampered with between the field and the lab. Some field investigators specialize in forensic photography, which involves photographing crime scenes with the aid of a camera. Many CSIs use high-resolution digital cameras so that they can quickly assess photo quality and take additional shots if necessary.

Working as a crime scene investigator can be difficult. CSIs are frequently on-call, which means they can be summoned to a crime scene at any time. It’s also possible that the job will be emotionally draining or frustrating. Many CSIs spend a significant amount of time on their feet and driving, and they must also be prepared to testify in court and defend their findings against various challenges. Of course, when a criminal is apprehended, the job can be extremely rewarding.