Established: 7/96
FLSA: Non-exempt
EEO: 5



Under general supervision, to draw composites and illustrations; to assist law enforcement personnel in administrative functions; and to do other work as required.


The Sheriff’s Department patrols County roads and rivers, investigates crimes, conducts search 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 Forensic Artist assists law enforcement personnel to identify suspects by drawing composites based on the memories of victims and/or witnesses, distorted photographs from security cameras, and by editing, enhancing and capturing images from digital and/or analog video sources.  The incumbent also draws composites of unknown human remains and ages photographs of missing persons.  The Forensic Artist also performs administrative services that do not require sworn peace officer status.

The Forensic Artist differs from Evidence Technician which performs scientific investigation regarding the identification, preservation and analysis of physical evidence.  It also differs from Deputy Sheriff which performs the full range of law enforcement activities.


Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Draws composites of criminal suspects according to descriptions of victims and witnesses; contacts and interviews crime victims and witnesses to obtain descriptive information concerning sex, nationality, facial features and related characteristics of unidentified suspect; prepares simple line drawings; obtains additional descriptive information from informant; draws and verifies details of features to improve resemblance of sketch to victim’s recollection.
  2. Prepares composites from sources other than victims and witnesses; enhances distorted photographs from security cameras; edits and filters images from video capturing devices; ages photographs of missing persons; develops composites to unknown human remains; testifies in court regarding composites.
  3. Provides general artistic services; draws various illustrations that are not used for evidence; prepares signs and posters used for public education and information; develops logos and designs for patches, pins, hats and shirts for special law enforcement units; completes lettering on certificates. 
  4. Processes suspect fingerprint cards through automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS); reviews crime types and personal information to determine which cards are entered or referred to higher level technician for processing; identifies and enters basic print type for each fingerprint on card; scans fingerprints into system and edits as necessary; records matches identified in AFIS database; eliminates possible close matches or refers for further examination; searches for matches to suspects refusing to supply legal name.
  5. Prepares various written and statistical reports; records property seized through search warrants; identifies location, detailed description and person seizing item; assists Evidence Technicians by tracking photographs, and documenting time line and sequence of events regarding property in custody investigations and crime scene reconstruction; assists Evidence Technicians at autopsies with collecting evidence and noting Medical Examiner statements; maintains files of reports, composites, fingerprint cards, latent fingerprints and other information.


Working knowledge of:  Basic human anatomy; forensic composite and reconstruction techniques and standards; basic interviewing techniques; basic fingerprint pattern types; interpersonal and public relations principles and techniques; law enforcement procedures and policies; functions, responsibilities and policies of the Sheriff’s Department; general office practices and procedures; basic English composition, spelling and grammar; recordkeeping and report writing techniques; LEDS, CLASS and AFIS computerized data base systems.

Skill to:  Interpret various descriptive information to draw composites; obtain information while dealing tactfully and compassionately with victims and witnesses of crime scenes who may be emotionally distressed; allow victims/witnesses control of the composite content while maintaining standards of composite quality; analyze fingerprints to identify pattern types; maintain, prepare, enter and file records and reports; gather, record and compile facts and descriptive information; research, retrieve and organize data; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; operate various office and computerized equipment; establish and maintain effective working relationships with law enforcement personnel, victims and witnesses, and the public.


Within six (6) months of hire:  possession of F.B.I. approved Certification in Beginning Forensic Composite; possession of Advanced F.B.I. Fingerprint Identification Certification.

Within one (1) year of hire:  possession of F.B.I. approved Certification in Advanced Forensic Composite.

Within one (1) year of hire:  possession of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association, Inc. (LEVA) approved Certification in Basic Forensic Video Analysis and The Law.

Must successfully pass an extensive background investigation including national fingerprint records check.

Must pass a pre-employment drug test.

Driving is required for County business on a regular basis or to accomplish work.  Incumbents must possess a valid driver's license, and possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.


Any satisfactory combination of experience and training that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.