How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Overland Park, Kansas

Violent crime in Overland Park, Kansas has become a relatively widespread problem over the last few years. In 2011 there were 289 violent crimes committed in the greater Overland Park area, which accounts for nearly two violent crimes committed per 1,000 residents.

Because of the rate of violent crime in the city, there is a demand for qualified individuals to investigate crime scenes and perform detailed and thorough analysis of evidence collected therein. For example, forensic evidence gathered by CSI professionals in Overland Park led to the capture and conviction of a 27-year-old man in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of an 18-year-old in 2007. The work of the investigators involved was integral in the conviction, which resulted in a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Crime scene investigators play an important role in capturing the individuals who commit these heinous acts and bringing them to justice. As such, law enforcement agencies are in need of forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators to properly collect, document, analyze, and store physical evidence found at crime scenes in an effort to track down and prosecute violent criminals.

Requirements for Careers in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigations
in Overland Park

Despite some popular ideas to the contrary, the reality is that a career in forensic laboratory science or crime scene investigations involves painstaking work, often involving long hours as well as the need to be available and on-call around the clock every day of the year.  With Overland Park falling in the middle of Tornado Alley, CSI professionals could be called to help with evidence collection and examination in relation to tornado casualties and fatalities, which may present a fair amount of inherent danger.

For those with the right skills, the knowledge base and the fortitude to take on this challenging occupation, forensic science or crime scene investigations will present one of the most exciting and rewarding career choices available in America. CSIs enjoy a tremendous sense of pride and personal fulfillment in their contributions to the efforts of law enforcement and the prosecution of violent criminals.

Education is the key ingredient to success as a forensic science technician or crime scene investigator in Overland Park. There are a number of recommended degree programs that help prepare for the work involved. Some of the most relevant ones include:

  • Associate’s Degree in Criminal Investigations
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology
  • Bachelor’s of Science Degree in a Natural Science

Two and four-year degree programs are available at most Overland Park area colleges and universities. Specializing in a particular area such as evidence retrieval, DNA profiling, or toxicology may require education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

On-the-Job Training and Experience

One of the best ways to network and gain experience in the field of CSI is to get involved with members of the Overland Park law enforcement community while one’s degree program is still in progress. Getting involved with law enforcement and criminal investigations in any capacity can provide a form of supplemental training, and could be an invaluable way of getting acclimated to the job.

While the networking route does not carry any special requirements, becoming a police officer in Overland Park can be challenging. Consider the following law enforcement agencies with a presence in Overland Park:

  • The Overland Park Police Department –The Investigations Support Division of the Overland Park Police Department employs evidence technicians who collect, examine, and analyze physical evidence found at crime scenes.
  • The Johnson County Sherriff’s Office – The Johnson County Sherriff’s Office was established in 1861 and features several divisions including Investigations and a Criminalistics Laboratory.
  • Kansas Highway Patrol – The Kansas Highway Patrol has a force of over 800 officers. Founded in 1937, this force has reach across the entire state of Kansas.

As an example of challenge of becoming a police officer, consider the following example. In order to enter the Kansas Highway Patrol one would need to meet the following requirements (among others):

  • Have 20/40 corrected vision
  • Have good hearing and pass a hearing test
  • Pass physical agility test
  • Pass 23 weeks of rigorous training

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