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The Typical Day for a Crime Scene Investigator
Crime Scene Investigators, or CSIs, are the first professionals at the scene of a crime. Their role involves gathering and preserving evidence and interviewing civilians to gather more information on the crime. Then they must perform certain administrative duties to present this evidence to other law enforcement officers.
In general, a CSI’s working day lasts eight hours. However, due to the nature of the job, a CSI may be called to work at any given time. Thus, it is sometimes necessary to work at short notice or late into the night, as events warrant.
CSIs deal with crimes of varying natures, including murder, burglary and rape. However, they may also investigate computer crimes or money laundering activities. Some CSIs choose to specialize, while others are generalists.
People They Meet
CSIs must collaborate with many other police professionals and civilians during the course of a typical day. These include forensic experts, who CSIs may summon as needed; mortuary staff, since CSIs are often present at post-mortem examinations; and other police officers, perhaps part of the wider investigation. If required to give evidence at trial, the CSI will also deal with lawyers and court officials and interview civilian witnesses to gather further evidence.
CSIs are trained in various methods of extracting, preserving and analyzing evidence; thus, they may employ several of these methods on any given day. For example, the CSI might take a photo of the crime scene to later present as evidence, and also comb the crime scene to collect fingerprints and fiber samples.
After collecting evidence at the crime scene, a CSI’s work is hardly finished. The CSI must then properly secure it and also prepare sketches, diagrams and written accounts documenting where the evidence was found and its condition. These reports are then submitted to the law enforcement agency handling the case. Later, the CSI may be called to testify.
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Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.