Forensic scientists in Kansas collect, preserve, and conduct scientific analyses on physical evidence obtained in the investigation of both criminal and misdemeanor cases. Their work involves performing chemical, analytical, and physical immunological and instrumental techniques and, often times, serving as expert witnesses in court cases.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s (KBI) Forensic Laboratory Division, through its laboratories in Topeka, Kansas City, Pittsburg and Great Bend, serves the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the State of Kansas.
From its offices in Topeka, Wichita, Great Bend, Overland Park, and Pittsburg, the KBI employs more than 270 individuals and is headed by a director appointed by the Attorney General.
The KBI’s Forensic Laboratory Division is divided into the following sections:
- Chemistry Section
- Biology Section
- Questioned Document Section
- Toxicology Section
- Latent Print Section
- Firearm and Toolmark Section
- Evidence Control Center
Forensic Science Colleges and Degree Granting Schools in Kansas
Forensic science colleges and universities abound in Kansas, with students able to pursue a number of forensic science programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science. This popular degree is designed to prepare students for entry-level work in a forensic sciences laboratory, as it involves study within the context of the criminal investigation and crime detection processes.
A Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science includes a strong foundation in chemistry, biology, criminal justice and biological sciences, as well as the forensic sciences. Therefore, core coursework in this type of degree often includes:
- General Chemistry
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Instrumental Chemistry
- General Microbiology
- Molecular Cell Biology
- Forensic Anthropology
- Psychological Statistics
- Criminal Evidence
- Fingerprint Development and Analysis
- Forensic Serology
- Seminar in Forensic Science Techniques
How to Become a Forensic Scientist in Kansas
Individuals who want to learn how to become a forensic scientist in Kansas should first understand the minimum requirements for forensic scientists (often referred to as forensic specialists) working in this state.
In general, all forensic scientists must possess a bachelor’s degree in a science, regardless of the area of forensic analysis. Further, forensic scientists who work as DNA analysts must possess college coursework in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and statistics.
All candidates for forensic scientist jobs can expect to undergo an interview, background investigation, drug screening, fingerprinting, and polygraph test as a condition of hire.
Typical job duties of the forensic scientist include:
- Maintaining quality control measures
- Performing under supervision analyses of physical evidence using complex laboratory instruments
- Performing analytical, chemical, physical and instrumental techniques
- Performing the proper procedures for collecting and preserving physical evidence
- Properly drafting reports of tests performed and conclusions drawn
- Presenting scientific testimony in municipal, district, and federal courts
- Participating in clandestine laboratory crime scene processing
- Participating in crime scene processing of violent crime cases