Crime scene investigators are highly trained individuals who must learn both how to investigate and how to record and process crime scenes. In Maryland, opportunities exist for high quality, accredited crime scene investigation (CSI) training and education. Careers can be found in Maryland’s state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as with federal agencies that have offices in the state. The in Located in Rockville, the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division has the largest laboratory in the state. This lab is utilized not only by State Police CSI professionals but also by crime scene investigators working within Maryland’s county and municipal agencies. County sheriff’s offices and city police departments house crime scene investigation careers as well.
Some CSI careers in Maryland require that applicants first work as police officers, but many are open to properly trained civilians with education and experience. Maryland CSIs must adhere to rules to make sure that evidence is collected properly and can therefore be used in criminal trials. These rules include Maryland’s DNA Collection Act and the Maryland Rules of Evidence.
Crime scene investigators in Maryland function in a number of different roles that include:
- Forensic science specialist (FSS)
- Evidence response team
- Evidence technician supervisor
- Crime scene technician
- Crime scene specialist
Crime Scene Investigator Education in Maryland
Becoming a crime scene investigator, or CSI, in Maryland requires education and training in the proper investigative techniques and the latest technology. Depending upon the type of CSI job that one seeks in Maryland, a certificate, undergraduate degree or graduate degree in forensic science, crime scene investigation or a closely related field may be necessary.
Accreditation of a college/university program by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences is also preferred by some Maryland CSI employers, but is not a strict requirement.
CSI Certificates and Associate Degrees in Maryland
Colleges in Maryland that offer certificates and associate degrees in CSI-related fields are intended for those who want to pursue careers in crime scene technology, evidence collection and field evidence technology. Most CSI college certification programs in Maryland require that students first have a minimum number of college credits completed prior to admission, perhaps with coursework in criminal justice and/or law enforcement. CSI jobs in Maryland that typically require a certificate or associate’s degree include:
- County Sheriff’s Office Latent Print Examiner
- City Police Department Crime Scene Technician
CSI certificates and associate degrees currently offered in Maryland include:
- Certificate: Crime Scene Investigation
- Associate of Science in Forensic Science
CSI Bachelor and Graduate Degrees in Maryland
A bachelor’s degree or higher is necessary for the following CSI jobs in Maryland:
- County Sheriff’s Office Fingerprint Assistant
- City police department Crime Scene Supervisor
- County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Analyst
For those who wish to pursue these types of careers in crime scene investigation, colleges and universities in Maryland offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs such as:
- Bachelor of Science in Forensics
- Master of Forensic Science
- Master of Science in Crime Scene Investigation
- Master of Science in High Technology Crime Investigation
CSI Professional Certification in Maryland
Two professional organizations offer certification programs for those who are already in the crime scene investigation field. These programs are intended for professionals who already have criminal justice, crime scene or law enforcement experience. They include:
- International Association for Identification Crime Scene Certification (IAI) – Maryland falls into the Chesapeake Bay Region of this international organization. Certifications in the following areas are offered for those who have a minimum of one year to six years of crime scene experience:
- Certified Crime Scene Investigator
- Certified Crime Scene Analyst
- Certified Crime Scene Reconstructionist
- Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst
- American Board of Criminalistics – Maryland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists under this national organization. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree plus two year of professional experience working in criminalistics.
Law Enforcement Organizations that Support CSI Jobs in Maryland
- FBI –Baltimore Division – Evidence Response Team – These special agents who are trained in crime scene investigation are sent to federal crime scenes to secure the scene, gather, and process evidence. One notable Maryland case in recent years that FBI crime scene investigators worked concerned a case of the murder of a newborn baby in Ocean City.
- Maryland State Police (MSP) Forensic Sciences Division – In the MSP, Crime Scene Investigation falls under the Forensic Sciences Division of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, Operational Services. This section of the division operates mobile units statewide for handling crime scenes, collecting evidence, photographing and support staff. The main laboratory is at the Maryland State Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Pikesville. Regional laboratories in Hagerstown and Berlin also support the work of the MSP Forensic Sciences Division.
- Montgomery County Police Department – -Criminal Investigations Division – Crime Laboratory -Crime Scene Unit (FSS)– This county police department’s Crime Scene Unit is responsible for crime scene investigation in six districts within Montgomery County – Bethesda, Rockville, Montgomery Village, Germantown, Wheaton and Silver Spring.
- Charles County Sheriff’s Office – Criminal Investigations Division – Investigations Section – Forensics (CSI) – The CSI division of this county sheriff’s office is responsible for investigation of crime scenes in four districts across Charles County – Waldorf East, Waldorf West, Indian Head and La Plata. FSU professionals in Charles County are specially trained in advanced crime scene processing, including evidence recovery, blood collection and fingerprinting. In 2012, FSU workers in Charles County responded to over 175 crime scenes and collected 515 items for DNA analysis from 127 investigations. FSU work was responsible for solving a 27-year-old kidnapping and rape case in 2012, as FSU professionals used new technology to get a DNA profile on the assailant. As a result, he was arrested, indicted and remanded to Jessup’s Maryland Department of Corrections.
- Harford County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Collection Unit – Trained crime scene investigators work in this county sheriff’s office evidence collection unit, under its Criminal Investigations Division. They are responsible for crime scene investigation across Harford County, including (but not limited to) Abingdon, Aberdeen, Bel Air, Churchville, Darlington, Fallston, Fawn Grove and Havre de Grace.