Themain function of crime scene investigators (CSIs) is to perform thecollection and analysis of material evidence retrieved from a crimescene. They are one of the first people to attend to a crime scene,and the course of the investigation is determined by the evidencecollected. The investigation could be derailed or delayed in case thescene is disturbed, or the investigator fails to notice a crucialclue (Dutelle, 2016). Below are some of the vital skills andqualities essential for this profession.
Communicationand interview skills
Thebasis of any investigation commences from a successful interview ofwitnesses, victims or suspects. There should be clarity with regardsto the questions asked with the aim of extracting as much informationas possible. The investigator must identify inconsistencies and gapsduring the interviews and ask questions to ensure clarity from therespondents. Additionally, investigators must have excellentlistening capabilities and able to tell whether a witness is adeceitful or withholding information through analysis of bodylanguage. Investigators must also have excellent writing skills whichare critical in the preparation of formal reports to be used in courtcases. Excellent verbal skills are also mandatory as theinvestigators interact with other professionals in the field such aspolice officers (Dutelle, 2016).
Thepossession of elite analytical skills is critical in the examinationof crime scene details and outline the importance of each prospectiveevidence. They must have the ability to formulate theories and followup on specific details. They must have a strong scientific expertiseand the knowledge of different chemicals and devices used in thisoccupation. They must also have updated results with regards to theinvestigation (Fisherand Fisher, 2012).
Oneof the requirements of investigators is honesty, principled andlaw-abiding. The possibility of losing their jobs or credibility ishigh when caught using unethical investigative techniques. This is anissue of concern, especially if the case proceeds to a court hearingthereby preventing the conviction of a suspect.
Investigatorsmust be capable of working in diverse conditions and for long hourswhen necessary, for example, during the analysis of a scene with masscasualties or during the collection of evidence before it’sdestroyed.
Theinvestigative profession is not for the squeamish. It involves theanalysis of gory details from scenes related to violent crimes orshocking accidents. They must remain emotionally detached from theincident so as to ensure an undistorted analysis of events. Theyshould focus on unraveling the series of events through a methodicalapproach. They should concentrate on the evidence collection andmaintain their calmness regardless of the nature of the crime scene.
Investigatorshave to be patient as cases may progress for a long period of timebefore being solved. This could take weeks, months or years. CSIshave to be accurate before they can finally reach a verdict.
Knowledgeof the law
Itis crucial to have an understanding of the law on the handling ofdifferent cases. Most CSI units work in collaboration with thepolice. For instance, an investigator may find an unethical practicein an organization, but not unlawful. Investigators must also observetheir actions with regards to how the law permits them to do theirresearch. In case they contradict these laws, they are likely to beprosecuted (Hess, Orthmann, and Cho, 2016).
Havingsketches or pictures of the crime scene is crucial. Even though thisis not a compulsory requirement, it is an added advantage toinvestigators. The scene can also be extensively analyzed throughgood photography thereby revealing additional details invisible tothe bare eye (Fisher and Fisher, 2012).
CSIshave to be in good physical health so as to efficiently perform theirduties which may require carrying dead bodies and lifting heavyequipment. Hence, it might be beneficial to engage in physicalexercises and healthy diet to keep fit.
Everycrime scene requires logic and in-depth analysis since there is noapparent similarity between two crime scenes. They should worktowards establishing the details of a crime scene and eliminatinginconsistencies through a logical approach (Hess, Orthmann, and Cho,2016).
Mostcrime scene investigators have a background in law enforcement, henceare familiar with legal processes while some have an educationalbackground in this field. A transparent background is one of therequirements for performing the job due to the need to handle afirearm. Besides the educational requirements for CSIs, there areother skills and qualities necessary to carry out the job. Most ofthese skills are embedded in one’s personality when they are bornwhile others emanate from exposure in the field.
Dutelle,A. W. (2016). Anintroduction to crime scene investigation.Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Fisher,B. A., & Fisher, D. R. (2012). Techniquesof crime scene investigation.crc Press.
Hess,K. M., Orthmann, C. H., & Cho, H. L. (2016). Criminalinvestigation.Cengage Learning.