If you are like nearly everyone in California or across the United States, you’ve seen a myriad of television shows and movies that feature crime scene technicians doing their work. Although you’ve seen crime scene technicians at work on the TV or at the cinema, you may not truly know what this type of criminal investigator does in the real world.
What is a Crime Scene Technician?
A crime scene technician, also known as a crime scene investigation (CSI) technician is a member of a crime investigation team who collects evidence at the scene of a crime.
What a Crime Scene Technician Does Not Do
Before examining what a crime scene technician does, in many ways it is best to understand what this type of professional does not do. A common misconception is that a technician cleans up the crime scene. This is not the responsibility of a crime scene technician.
A crime scene technician is a highly trained professional. However, a technician is not trained or equipped to undertake crime scene cleanup. This primarily is because a crime scene technician does not have the background or tools to safely and effectively undertake a biohazard cleanup required in the aftermath of a violent crime.
Responsibilities of a Crime Scene Technician
A crime scene technician has a myriad of responsibilities as part of an investigatory team. The first task that a technician has at the scene of a crime is to walk through the area and ascertain what and how evidence is to be collected. During this process, the technician confirms that the crime scene is appropriately secured. The technician guards against any type of disruption or contamination of a crime scene.
The next step in the work of a technician is to thoroughly photograph the crime scene. Memorializing the state of the scene in the direct aftermath of a crime is crucial evidence in the eventual prosecution of the person alleged to have caused a crime.
In addition, a technician photographs what appears to be evidence of the crime. This is done before any close examination of the evidence occurs and before it is collected or removed from the premises.
All the while a technician is at work on a crime scene, he or she makes notes of observations and preliminary findings. These notes include such things as the location as well as the position of evidence.
Ultimately, a crime scene technician collects all relevant physical evidence at the crime scene. This includes such things as:
- Bodily fluids
The final act of a crime scene investigator is to ensure the safe transfer of all evidence to the designated crime lab. This includes making certain that the evidence is not tampered with or altered in any way, shape, or form. Technically speaking, this process in legal terms is known as maintaining a chain of custody.
Biohazards and a Crime Scene Technician
In many instances, a crime scene technician is called upon to investigate the aftermath of a violent crime. These include:
Because of the nature of these violent crimes, a technician faces the prospect of coming into contact with biohazardous materials that include:
- Bodily fluids
- Other biological material
Biohazards and Crime Scene Cleanup
Once the work of law enforcement officials, including a crime scene technician, is completed, the premises are turned over to the owner and cleanup can begin. As an aside, if the case involved a homicide, the coroner’s office will also be involved. The crime scene cleanup process can commence when the coroner is also done at the scene. This includes the removal of the homicide victim and the transport of the remains to the coroner’s office for further forensic examination.
At this juncture, you can reach out to a qualified crime scene cleaning professional. The biohazard cleanup process is a multifaceted process, technically known as biohazard remediation. The process begins with the actual cleanup and removal of blood, bodily fluids, other biological material, and anything contaminated by these materials.
When that process is completed, the crime scene cleanup professional will sanitize the area. This process destroys any remaining hazardous pathogens that may be present in blood, bodily fluids, biological material, or contaminated items.
Depending on the crime scene, deodorization will then be undertaken to eliminate any foul odors. Finally, the ultimate objective of crime scene clean up or biohazard remediation is returning the home, or other location of a crime, to a useable condition.