Paterson, New Jersey residents can rest assured knowing that the city’s forensic experts work 24 hours a day to collect solid evidence which is then meticulously examined in a lab. However a recent case brought the importance of those working in forensic science jobs to light: the resolution of an unsolved disappearance from 1972 involving the identification of remains discovered in 2000 near Bass River.
Through the use of the latest DNA analysis technology, forensic lab scientists were able to identify the remains as being from a missing Patterson boy who was thought to have been the victim of a serial killer responsible for the sexual assault and murder of at least 33 boys.
Forensic science jobs in Paterson can be found with three primary law enforcement agencies:
- Paterson Police Department
- Passaic County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit
- New Jersey State Police Investigations Branch
Education for the Future
When considering where to pursue forensic science degree and certification programs, candidates in Paterson can choose from over a dozen colleges located in the surrounding vicinity and one state college within the city limits. There are also several programs open to Paterson residents through online schools.
Forensic laboratory scientist and CSI jobs in Paterson require qualified applicants to fill their ranks due to the nature of the work. Municipal law enforcement agencies provide special training for their experienced CSI units, while non-sworn personnel are hired for the variety of expertise they provide in CSI units, such as crime scene reconstruction, photography, and print analysis. These specialists can increase their credentials with certification in fields such as:
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Blood Splatter Analysis
- Footwear and Impressions
- Forensic Art
Forensic laboratory scientists in Paterson require a high level of education to qualify for positions in this field, particular to their area of specialization. For example, a forensic toxicologist is required to have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following plus two years of experience in a professional laboratory setting:
- Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
Forensic scientists can also qualify with the same education-experience history, though their range of study includes any forensic science field which contains at least 24 science semester hour credits, such as:
- Forensic Science
Forensic scientists, including toxicologists, may also substitute one year of lab experience with a master’s degree in a relevant area of study.
Forensic First in Patterson Shooting Murder Case
Those interested in learning how to become a crime scene investigator or forensic scientist in Paterson will find it interesting to learn that forensic science helped break a tragic murder case that took place in the city in 1997, when a man and youth were gunned down in cold blood. Forensic laboratory scientists used a then-new state-of-the-art bullet analysis method and database, known as IBIS (Integrated Ballistics Identification System), to secure the first conviction in U.S. history based on database-generated bullet forensics.
The IBIS system was able to essentially take the gun’s “fingerprint” that was imprinted on bullets and connect the two murders in Paterson to a separate shooting that occurred in a different state. The IBIS system is still in use today, and forensic investigators have had over 350 cases in one county where the system provided the sole direction for the course of a shooting investigation.