How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Anchorage, Alaska

In spite of Alaska’s lack of population density, the crime rate is higher than the national average, keeping the criminal justice system busy. The crime scene investigators (CSIs) who document, collect and preserve evidence where crimes occur, and the forensic scientists who process and analyze the evidence in crime laboratories, are critically important members of the justice system. Evidence is almost always the determining factor between guilt and innocence.

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The average annual salary for CSIs in Anchorage, AL is $36,000

The average annual salary for forensic scientists in Anchorage, AL is $45,000

The listed salary for Automated Fingerprint Identification System Operator at the SCDL in Anchorage is $3,764/month.

Requirements for Becoming a Forensic Science or CSI Professional in Anchorage

Almost all forensic scientist jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a natural science like chemistry while an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is a good choice for a job as crime scene investigator.

Anchorage is home to at least two colleges/universities that offer an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice as well as a bachelor of science with a major in chemistry or another science.

A list of job opportunities with the SCDL is available on the “Workplace Alaska” website. A job description and application instructions are included for each open position. Call the lab at 907-269-5740 for additional career information.

“Automated Fingerprint Identification System Operator” is one job at SCDL that does not require a bachelor’s degree. The job is described as follows:

  • Make fingerprint identifications of suspects
  • Operate the Alaska automated fingerprint identification system
  • Comply with the Western Identification Network and FBI specifications
  • Prepare written reports and court testimonies
  • Maintain an electronic and a card file fingerprint repository
  • Be responsible for a fingerprint record archives

Qualifications for the job of Automated Fingerprint Identification System Operator are:

  • Knowledge of fingerprint pattern recognition and classification
  • Familiarity with the Automated Fingerprint Identification System
  • Able to compare inked to inked prints
  • Able to take fingerprints by ink or live scan machine
  • Willing to travel throughout the state
  • One year full-time training in automated fingerprint identification OR
  • Current fingerprint certification from the National Association for Identification

Anchorage Police Department Crime Scene Unit

The Anchorage Police Department has a six-person crime scene unit that is responsible for collecting evidence at the scenes of all major crimes. They were very glad when the 18-year-old van they were using was replaced in October of 2012 with a new, 35-foot, 26,000-pound van for processing crime scenes. The van is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment as well as exterior lighting that Lead Detective Harry Struble described as strong enough “to light Mulcahy Stadium.”

Scientific Crime Detection Lab in Anchorage, AK

The Scientific Crime Detection Lab (SCDL) was built in 1986 as a sub-section of the Alaska Department of Public Safety. The original lab was replaced in June of 2012 with a new, $87 million facility with state-of-the-arts equipment and four times as much space. The SCDL serves law enforcement agencies from all over the state of Alaska. According to the forensic scientists who work there, the new laboratory will finally allow them to catch up with the backlog of DNA cases waiting to be processed.

Services provided by the Anchorage Scientific Crime Detection Lab include:

  • Biological Screening
  • Latent Fingerprint Analysis
  • DNA Testing/Analysis
  • Statewide Blood Alcohol Testing Program
  • Drug Identification
  • Firearm/Toolmark Examination

The forensic scientists at the SCDL are often called upon to testify as expert witnesses in courts of law. In addition, they assist with crime scene investigations and train law enforcement officers from all over the state in proper evidence collection and preservation techniques.

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