How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland has one of the highest per capita crime rates of any city in the United States. Though the city has seen a reduction in murders, from 261 in the year 2000, to 196 in 2011, the city still consistently ranks as one of the top 20 most dangerous cities in the country. Crime rates are due in part to high rates of drug dealing and consumption. In fact, ABC News deemed Baltimore the nation’s “Heroine Capital.” High levels of poverty and unemployment also contribute to crime.

Baltimore police officers have their hands full battling a combination of gang and neighborhood violence, drug dealing, and other anti-social behavior. However, over the years Baltimore police have strengthened their arsenal in the fight against criminals by focusing more on prevention. With the help of such professionals as crime scene investigators and forensic laboratory scientists, whose job it is to enter the scene of some of Baltimore’s most notorious neighborhoods and crime scenes, Baltimore is turning the tide against crime. CSI agents in Baltimore collect vital samples at the scene of the crime, take witness statements, and collect other evidence that will help law enforcement put the bad guys behind bars.

The field of crime scene investigation is expected to see 19 percent growth between 2010 -2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field, which is called “forensic science technicians” by the BLS, has a median pay in the range of $51,570.

Also of note:

  • Baltimore Police officers start at $41,058
  • Baltimore County PD cadets earn $24,295, while officers start at $46,699
  • Maryland Transportation Authority Police cadets earn $23,524, while officers start at $40,207
  • Maryland State Police (Troopers) start at $40,000

Getting a University Degree

The Baltimore area is known for its dense population of world-class colleges and universities. This is a good location in which to study for a career in forensic science and crime scene investigations.

Though many fields of study are possible, a degree in any forensic science is preferable. However, other formidable degrees include:

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Baltimore should be considered a mid-sized city with the police department of a major city. The Baltimore Police Department is the 8th largest municipal police force in the country. Coming up through the ranks as a police officer in Baltimore may be enough to facilitate entry into the field of CSI, but having at least an associate’s degree is always preferred. Becoming a police officer in order to eventually enter the world of forensic science does have its benefits, including learning proper police procedures, and making a name for one’s self. However, it should be noted that in order to successfully complete the police academy, and be promoted to a full-fledged police officer in Baltimore, could take a year or more.

Crime Scene Investigator and Forensic Laboratory Scientist Employers in Baltimore

Maryland State Police – The Maryland State Police is the official police department for the entire state of Maryland. Described as a “paramilitary organization”, they take their organizational structure cues from the U.S. military. This is both a powerful and well-funded police force in the state of Maryland, and in Baltimore.

Baltimore City Police – The Baltimore City Police is the primary police department in the city of Baltimore. They are usually the first responders to crimes and situations that arise within city limits.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police – The Maryland Transportation Police are a statewide agency, but have their largest contingency in Baltimore, as it is the state’s largest city. CSI agents in this department can expect to see a combination of transportation and crime related cases.

Baltimore County Police – Baltimore County Police are responsible for Baltimore County, as opposed to Baltimore City. These two departments must work together closely as the border shared by the two municipalities does not hinder the criminal element.

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