Crime scene investigation is widely popular thanks to many hit television shows. Beyond the drama lies the skilled evidence technician who is needed to process a crime scene. A career as an evidence technician can be a great way to start a career in law enforcement. The security and monitoring of the evidence chain at all times is crucial and this is one of the key responsibilities of an evidence technician.
An evidence technician collects, marks, stores and monitors evidence collected at a crime scene. He works hand in hand with the investigative branch of local or federal law enforcement. There are mandated policies and procedures that must be followed explicitly so the evidence is not tainted at any time. Attention to detail is a must. Furthermore, the security, processing and control also require a high degree of competency and detail. Other duties may include logging evidence in and out from an evidence room and preparing court presentations for those giving evidentiary testimony.
Law enforcement agencies prefer an evidence technician to possess a college degree. Criminal justice or criminology majors are welcome, but accountants, bookkeepers and mathematicians all make excellent evidence technicians as well. The attention to detail, again, is very important. Computer skills are also important as more and more crime information is stored in electronic databases for ease of sharing between various law enforcement agencies. The actual skills needed to collect and process evidence will be provided by the law enforcement body and updated through experience and continuing education.
Much of the work of an evidence technician is accomplished in labs or other processing rooms. Much of the time is spent sitting in front of a computer terminal filing reports and inputting data. The fieldwork can range from simple accidents to natural disasters to horrific crimes. An evidence technician needs to have a levelheaded demeanor and a strong stomach at times.
Pay and Demand
The rate of pay and demand do vary widely amongst evidence technicians. For the true forensic evidence technician, the perks are great especially for those with a criminology degree. The Department of Labor notes that demand for forensic an evidence technician will rise 20% in the coming decade with median pay of nearly $24.00 and hour (roughly $50,000 a year). The availability of jobs and great pay makes this a job well worth considering.
Anyone interested in law enforcement can start a rewarding career as an evidence technician and join thousands of others working in this field in America today. A wide range of backgrounds is acceptable to venture into this arena of law enforcement. The most important skill is a desire to learn and continue to learn and a great attention to detail. Evidence is critical in getting the bad guys off the street and the evidence technician is the defender of this information. The integrity, distribution and presentation of evidence play an absolutely critical role in law enforcement. The reality of an evidence technician may not be as glamorous in the real world as they appear on the small screen, but the men and women who competently process crime scenes everyday are just as valuable as the officers on the front lines.