The rate of violent crime in the city of Wichita in 2010 exceeded the national average by nearly 100 percent and the rate of violent crime in the state of Kansas by over 117 percent. The state of Kansas includes in their definitions of violent crime acts of murder, rape, physical and sexual assault, and robbery. These kinds of crimes are only expected to increase in frequency in the greater Wichita area in the coming years.
Considering the current rate of violent crime and the expected increase, there is a demand among law enforcement agencies in Wichita for highly skilled and reliable crime scene investigators and forensic science technicians. Crime is an ongoing problem in every metropolitan area in America and the fight against that epidemic involves bringing those who perpetrate violent crimes to justice.
Crime scene professionals in Wichita play an integral role in the prosecution of criminals in the Kansas justice system through the meticulous and detailed collection, documentation, and analysis of physical evidence that is gathered at a crime scene. Traditionally crime scene investigators have typically been hired from within the law enforcement community as many CSIs began their careers as police officers or at least completed Police Academy training. Recently, however, it has become more and more common for agencies to hire civilian CSI professionals with little or no law enforcement experience but who have been trained in the science of criminal investigations.
Requirements for Careers in Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigations in Wichita
In order to maintain a successful career in crime scene investigations, you must be serious about not only the job itself but about the education and training that are necessary for success. The educational requirements for becoming a CSI in Wichita vary from agency to agency and although there is generally no requirement among them for any specific type of degree, most CSIs have at least an associate’s degree in a criminal justice-related field. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree.
Universities and community colleges offer degree programs in fields directly related to crime scene investigations:
- Molecular Biology
- Forensic Chemistry
- Forensic Biology
- Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Forensic Science
Certification and Continuing Education
Education for crime scene investigators does not stop once they finish school. The complexities and proliferation of new knowledge within this expansive field are extensive and ongoing and as such require every CSI professional to continually update his or her knowledge base and skill set. As mentioned earlier in this article, many CSIs hold master’s degrees in their area of expertise in crime scene investigations. Pursuing your master’s is one of the best ways to keep your skills sharp and to stay abreast of the latest technology and innovations in the field of forensic science.
Additionally, certification in a particular area is an option that most CSIs exercise at some point early on in their careers. Crime Scene Certification is available through the International Association for Identification and can be earned in:
- Crime Scene Analysis
- Crime Scene Reconstruction
- Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
- Forensic Photography
- Tenprint Fingerprinting
While certification is not a requirement per say, it is something that you will more than likely want to pursue once you have had some firsthand experience as a CSI professional. Certification helps advance your career and can open up doors to exciting opportunities in crime scene investigations that would otherwise be unavailable.
Forensic Careers in Wichita
The CSI series of television shows as well as other similar movies and television dramas have garnered unprecedented popularity among the general public. As such, there has been an exponential increase over the last few years in the number of people who are pursuing a career in forensic science. And while the movies and television shows that portray crime scene investigations are compelling and exciting to watch, they do something of a disservice to those wishing to become a CSI professional because they tend to over-glamorize the job. To be sure, a career as a CSI is an extremely exciting, fulfilling, and rewarding one but it is also tremendously demanding, so much so that many people who begin the education and training involved in becoming a CSI in Wichita never finish and move on to other endeavors.
The demands of the job are intense and require not only a high level of skill and competence but also a great deal of resilience and fortitude. Crime scenes are often grisly, gruesome areas and are not for the faint of heart. But if you are serious and you believe you have what it takes to be successful in this line of work, then you may be exactly the kind of professional that the Wichita law enforcement community is looking for.
There are a number of law enforcement agencies in Wichita that hire forensic science technicians and crime scene investigators. Some of them include:
- The Wichita Police Department Homicide-Robbery-Follow Up Unit
- The Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Department
- The Kansas Highway Patrol Department
- The Criminal Division in Wichita