Forensic Scientist


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Forensic Scientist

  1. 1. The Field of Forensic Science Presented by Andrew Cho and Marquis Patrick
  2. 2. What is Criminal Forensics? <ul><li>Forensic science is simply the application of science to the law. In criminal cases, forensic scientists are often involved in the search for and examination of physical traces which might be useful for establishing or excluding an association between someone suspected of committing a crime and the scene of the crime or victim </li></ul>
  3. 3. Areas of Specialization <ul><li>Arson </li></ul><ul><li>Chemistry </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Investigation </li></ul><ul><li>DNA </li></ul><ul><li>Documents </li></ul><ul><li>Drugs </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Explosives </li></ul><ul><li>Fingerprints </li></ul><ul><li>Firearms </li></ul><ul><li>Hair Fibers Palynology </li></ul><ul><li>Image Processing </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistics Audio </li></ul><ul><li>Photography </li></ul><ul><li>Products </li></ul><ul><li>Toolmarks/Shoeprints/ </li></ul><ul><li>marks </li></ul><ul><li>Toxicology </li></ul><ul><li>Traffic </li></ul>
  4. 4. Job Requirements <ul><li>Minimum Bachelor of Science degree in a natural science field. Although, most organizations are now leaning towards Master’s Degree </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A B.S. or M.S. in criminalistics. However, these programs are not widespread </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A degree in chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, or other natural sciences is widespread and acceptable as well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, no previous training or education required </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiences in research or other laboratory exposure highly beneficial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>B.S. and M.S. usually start off with same salary </li></ul><ul><li>~$45,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Advancement is possible with a salary ceiling of ~$75,000 </li></ul><ul><li>The higher positions are mostly administrative and little field work is done </li></ul>
  5. 5. Job Responsibilities/Environment <ul><li>Work place includes crime scenes, laboratories, and court rooms </li></ul><ul><li>Some forensic scientists must present findings in court </li></ul><ul><li>Crime scenes are not ideal settings for analysis. Most work done in laboratory </li></ul><ul><li>Some forensic scientists go “on-call” and can be called in at anytime to investigate crime scenes </li></ul><ul><li>Requires 40 hours per week plus overtime </li></ul><ul><li>Forensic Scientists that work in the field of DNA analysis must have experience with applicable techniques. A major of biochemistry or biology provides the necessary skills </li></ul>
  6. 6. Aspects of the Job <ul><li>Ethical Concerns: </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: Lack of Resources prevents more thorough investigation of each case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More tests and analysis and time spent on a rape case or a robbery? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neutrality is the best solution… but is this always possible? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution: Increase number of crime labs to spread work as well as increase funding for existing labs </li></ul><ul><li>Appearances in Court extremely frustrating but can also be the most rewarding when criminals are convicted </li></ul>
  7. 7. Basic Computer Skills <ul><li>Use of software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CODIS (Combined DNA Index Systems): Imaging software (MaresWare) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of Portable Forensic Evidence Seizure Computers </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of computers in this field will continue to increase as the reliance on databases increase </li></ul>
  8. 8. CODIS-Combined DNA Index System <ul><li>Consists of two types of Information: forensic profiles and convicted offender profiles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forensic profiles contain DNA analysis data from blood, semen, tissue or bodily fluids obtained from specific criminal investigations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Convicted offender profiles contain DNA analysis data of offenders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forensic profiles are compared with convicted offender profiles to see if a match can be obtained thereby linking the offender to a individual case. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convicted offender profiles are entered from the local levels by local Police Departments and at the National Level by the FBI and other Law enforcement agencies </li></ul><ul><li>This information can be accessed by local law enforcement and Government law enforcement agencies in regards to investigation of a criminal case </li></ul><ul><li>Organized in a hierarchical fashion consisting of National(NDIS), State(SDID), and Local(LDIS) databases all linked together </li></ul><ul><li>Information is transmitted upwards starting from LDIS </li></ul><ul><li>NDIS became operational in 1998 </li></ul>
  9. 9. CODIS-Participating States
  10. 10. Forensic Science Techniques <ul><li>DNA fingerprinting </li></ul><ul><li>Fingerprint analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Drug analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Fire/Explosive analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Hard drive imaging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a duplicate of hard drive contents allowing analysis of data that has been deleted </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Human Identity Testing-A Closer Look (DNA based forensics project) <ul><li>Knowledge of core STR’s allows discrimination between people </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for determination of whether 2 DNA samples are from the same person, related people, or non-related people </li></ul><ul><li>STR pattern more or less unique because core STR patterns are inherited genetically. The more STR probes used to analyze a person's STR pattern, the more distinctive and individualized that pattern </li></ul>
  12. 12. Human Identity Testing-A Closer Look <ul><li>Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Devise a plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain primers for each Core STR loci. Each primer has a unique flourescent label </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do PCR with labeled primers and DNA sample </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Run through Genetic Analyzer (ABI Prism 310) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A graph similar to the following is obtained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each individual has a unique pattern of these Core STR loci. The probability of a random match is 1 in 3 trillion </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Job Prospects <ul><li>Most forensic science laboratories have backlog of work(>600,000 samples in CODIS) </li></ul><ul><li>This backlog of work indicates there is great demand for forensic scientists and forensic laboratories </li></ul><ul><li>This demand can be expected to continue for the next 5 to 10 years </li></ul>
  14. 14. New Crime Lab Opening-LA regional crime lab <ul><li>Around 2005 a new LAPD/Sheriff’s Dept Crime Lab will open on the Campus of CSULA </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated cost of $97 million </li></ul><ul><li>Will be state of the art Forensic Laboratory </li></ul>
  15. 15. Job Opportunities <ul><li>Call your local criminal forensics lab and ask them of open positions </li></ul><ul><li>Look for job postings in the Criminalistics/ Criminal Justice Department at King Hall </li></ul><ul><li>Check out large and frequently updated listing of jobs </li></ul><ul><li>2 currently open jobs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FORENSIC SCIENTIST – CHEMIST </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Posted 11/25/02) The Fort Worth Police Department Crime Laboratory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TRACE EVIDENCE EXAMINER (Posted 11/20/02) The Dallas County Human Resources/Civil Service Department </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. References <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Forensics: Solving the Crime (Innovators Series No. 9) Tabatha Yeatts, Denise Sterling, Oliver Pr, 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Katherine Roberts, Assistant Professor of criminology, California State University, Los Angeles </li></ul>