A crime scene investigator (CSI) is responsible for securing and examining details left at the scene of a crime. They are responsible for sorting through evidence and details to assist prosecutors in building a case. This person must be precise and meticulous, as protocols must be followed in a detailed and organized fashion. Tasks performed include lifting and collecting fingerprints, collecting and documenting trace evidence of DNA, determining time and cause of death in homicides, examining weapons and devices, and documenting each detail of various forms of evidence, among others. Crime scene investigators must possess the ability to remove themselves from the situation emotionally and analyze each detail objectively. This person must be able to think critically and analytically, as oversights can be highly detrimental.
There are no “typical office hours” in this position, as there are no typical hours for crimes; therefore it is important for this person to be flexible and “on call,” although a crime scene investigator is often able to designate days of the week to be “off call.” A bachelor’s degree in forensic sciences is generally required or preferred, and crime scene investigators often have a background in criminal justice, biology or chemistry. On-the-job training is generally needed as well. Various duties and requirements often depend on the relevant federal, state, and local rules.
Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Tasks
Investigate the cause and manner of death in cases of unattended natural death, accident, suicide, or homicide.
Assist the administrative manager with work plans, performance evaluations, and disciplinary actions.
Supervise and monitor the work of forensic investigators, interns and volunteers and facilitate training.
Determine what scenes to investigate and what evidence to examine and/or collect while conducting follow up on each case.
Conduct interviews with family members, law enforcement personnel, medical professionals and others regarding circumstances of death.