Crime scene investigators (CSIs) are forensic specialists who specialize in documenting crime scenes and preserving evidence from them for further analysis. These specialists must have a very strong attention to detail, along with highly developed analytical and problem-solving skills. They must also be able to maintain their composure in the face of potentially horrific working environments.
Some crime scene investigators specialize in different types of crime scene analysis, such as analyzing:
- Blood pattern stains
- Latent fingerprints
- Tire or shoe tread marks
Written and verbal skills are highly important, since CSI specialists generate technical documents and sometimes have to testify in court.
Arkansas Crime Scene Investigation Units
Since 90% of CSIs work for state and local government, most jobs in this profession involve working for law enforcement departments. The following departments in Arkansas have at least one crime scene investigator:
- Fayetteville Police Department
- Pine Bluff Police Department
The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock has a number of forensic specialists that primarily work in their lab. In addition, they have six forensic investigators that transport bodies from crime scenes to the lab for further analysis.
Also, the private company Arkansas Investigations specializes in crime scene analysis to advise clients on how well cases have been handled.
Education and Training to Become a CSI in Arkansas
In some cases, to become a crime scene technician in Arkansas requires a high school education, along with 1 to 1.5 years of related experience and/or training. An equivalent amount of education can substitute.
There is a high degree of competition for entry level CSI jobs, and applicants would be well advised to obtain formal training in criminal justice. Many of these programs have a specialty in crime science investigation.
Residents of Arkansas can obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from a number of schools in the state or from online schools that offer this type of training. A good driving record is also important to be a CSI, since the job involves driving to crime scenes on a regular basis.
In some departments, such as the Jonesboro Police Department, detectives handle the analysis of crime scenes. These skilled professionals have years of investigative experience coupled with advanced training in forensics.
Since the field of technologically is constantly advancing, and new techniques are developed on a regular basis, both entry level CSIs and advanced forensic scientists typically continue their education while employed.
CSI Certification in Arkansas
Working CSIs are frequently members of the The International Association for Identification, a worldwide group of forensic investigators. This organization offers certification in a number of disciplines, including the following:
- Crime scene investigation
- Analysis of:
- Bloodstain patterns
- Fingerprints (latent and tenprint)
- Digital photography
- Forensic video, art, and photography