CLACKAMAS COUNTY

CLASSIFICATION NO. 111
Established: 07/16
FLSA: Non-Exempt
EEO: 3

CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR

CLASS CHARACTERISTICS

Under direction, to perform technical and analytical work in collecting, preserving, examining, identifying, analyzing and processing physical evidence as a means for the arrest and conviction of criminals; to testify and present evidence in courts of law; and to do other work as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

The Sheriff’s Office patrols County roads and rivers, investigates crimes, conducts searches and rescue operations, and operates the County jail. The Sheriff’s jurisdiction includes the unincorporated areas of the County and within cities which contract for law enforcement services.

The Crime Scene/Forensic Investigator is a specialized non-sworn classification responsible for performing scientific investigations involving the identification, preservation and analysis of trace evidence. Incumbents perform a variety of complex and specialized tasks to collect, preserve, and identify criminal evidence at the crime scene and/or analyze evidence in the laboratory and provide expert testimony in court on methods and results on analysis.

The Crime Scene/Forensic Investigator differs from the Detective and the Evidence Technician classifications which are sworn positions responsible for performing complex or specialized criminal investigative work. It also differs from Sergeant which acts as a functional supervisor/leadworker for a team of law enforcement officers.

TYPICAL TASKS

Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Discovers, identifies and processes latent prints and impressions; examines the physical evidence for latent fingerprints using regular and macrophotography, fingerprint dust and chemical treatments..
  2. Examines and evaluates latent fingerprints submitted as evidence to determine sufficient ridge detail for identification purposes; classifies and searches latent and ink fingerprints using Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS); compares latent fingerprints against ink print cards; files latent prints under pattern types and by case numbers.
  3. Analyzes crime scene evidence and substances in laboratory and field environments using chemical, biological, and other science-based procedures and methodologies; prepares/packages evidence for transmittal to state and other forensic crime laboratories; prepares scale diagrams and written reports on actions, observations, and conclusions at crime scenes and laboratory findings; documents crime scenes using video-photographic equipment.
  4. Attends autopsies of crime victims and suspects; records injuries and other items of evidence with photographs; collects and records the finger-palm-foot prints of the deceased for identification purposes; seizes evidence, including blood, hair, and urine; identifies and measures trauma marks found on deceased; takes gunshot residue samples and/or fingernail scrapings as needed; examines remains of deceased in various degrees of decomposition, desiccation and maceration utilizing various techniques appropriate for the condition of the deceased.
  5. Provides expert testimony in courts of law regarding case evidence and fingerprint/palm print identification; prepares evidence exhibits for prosecution cases; marks and controls copies of data and/or exhibits.
  6. Maintains current forensic skills, certifications, and methodologies; trains department personnel in standards of evidence collection/processing and forensic techniques; provides general assistance to detectives at crime scenes to assist in ensuring crime scene integrity.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Thorough knowledge of: Criminal investigation theories, techniques, procedures and practices for collection, preservation, and identification of physical evidence and its use in the courts system; court procedures and the rules of evidence in criminal law; search and seizure; principles, processes and methodologies used in forensic science including latent print processes, trace evidence chemical analysis, photography, evidence collection, processing, and analysis; principles, procedures, techniques, and trends in general chemistry, toxicology, and microchemistry.

Working knowledge of: Law enforcement investigation techniques; operating principles, techniques, processes, and materials used in photography, photo processing, and related reproduction work; computer operating methods and procedures; crime definitions and elements of crimes; digital video and still photography equipment; use, operations and safety procedures related specialized equipment for area of specialty.

Skill to: Analyze situations accurately and make sound decisions; exercise appropriate judgment in answering questions and releasing information; organize, analyze and present data with scientific accuracy; provide expert testimony and testify effectively in a court of law; prepare reports; research databases; effectively operate specialized equipment related to area of specialty; locate, mark, seize, preserve, and interpret evidence with consideration of chain-of-custody preservation; analyze situations accurately, applying selected knowledge and reaching sound decisions; observe, assimilate, remember and accurately recall facts and details; comprehend, evaluate and interpret written information such as laws, ordinances, orders, technical manuals and other information related to area of specialty; establish and maintain effective working relationships with individuals, co-workers, law enforcement agencies and the public; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; prepare accurate reports; instruct police officers in evidence identification techniques and other areas of specialty; effectively incorporate and use existing and new technology and equipment in area of specialty; read and interpret fingerprint evidence in an efficient and timely manner; operate a variety of photographic and photo processing equipment and surveillance equipment; perform limited chemical analysis; reproduce finger and palm prints from bodies in different degrees of decomposition.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Tasks are performed in a variety of settings, including office, outdoor environments, in a vehicle, and may involve moderately strenuous physical activity. Duties involve exposure to unpleasant elements of death scenes such as handling, removing and analyzing persons who are deceased at a variety of indoor and outdoor scenes.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Must successfully pass a criminal history check, which may include national or state fingerprint records check.

Must pass a pre-employment drug test.

Possession of a valid driver’s license. Incumbents must possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.

Must be willing to work evenings and weekends as required. Requires on-call availability beyond assigned shifts.

Possession of or ability to obtain within one year:

MINIMUM RECRUITING STANDARDS

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and skills is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and skills would be:

Education/Training: Equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree in a natural science such as biology, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, physics, forensic science, pharmacology, bacteriology or closely related field; AND

Experience: Two (2) years in a criminal justice based forensic science position that includes a combination of latent fingerprinting, forensic laboratory procedures, data recovery, photography or evidence processing.

There are a variety of combinations of experience and training that would provide the required knowledge, and skills.