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Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Career Education in New York

According to a report by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, in 2012 the following New York counties had the highest overall crime rates:

  • Bronx County
  • Kings County
  • Nassau County
  • New York County
  • Erie County

Crime scene investigators, or CSIs, are specially trained individuals who gather and analyze evidence from crime scenes. They are assigned to investigations all across the state, not only in the above-mentioned counties. Pre- and post-employment training and education are important components to becoming a successful crime scene investigator in New York, giving candidates the proficiency to hold jobs with the following titles:

  • Police officer
  • Police detective
  • Medicolegal investigator
  • Criminalist

Getting a Crime Scene Investigator Education in New York

Education and training in CSI techniques, methods and processes is vital to becoming an efficient and proficient crime scene investigator in New York. CSI jobs are offered at many different levels in New York, from those requiring one to two years of post-secondary training, to those needing four or more years of training and education. Experience also plays an important part of advancement in CSI jobs in New York.

Crime Scene Investigation Certificates and Associate Degrees in New York

Depending upon the type of crime scene investigator job one seeks in New York, a certificate, associate degree, bachelor degree or graduate degree may be required. The following CSI jobs in New York usually require CSI career school training, a certificate or an associate’s degree:

  • Special Inspector
  • Fingerprint Technician
  • Evidence Technician

In New York, these CSI certificates and associate’s degrees are currently offered:

  • Associate of Science in Forensic Investigations
  • Associate of Science in Forensic Science Studies
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology/Latent Evidence
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

CSI Bachelor and Graduate Degrees in New York

These types of CSI jobs in New York require at least a bachelor’s degree:

  • Forensic Examiner
  • Criminalist
  • Medicolegal Investigator
  • Investigations Manager

New York’s colleges and universities offer these four and five year CSI degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

CSI Professional Training in New York

For those who already hold CSI jobs in New York, professional training might be required to keep or advance those jobs. The following professional training opportunities for CSIs in New York are provided:

  • FBI Evidence Response Team, New York – often provides crime scene training to state and local law enforcement as well as transit authority officers in New York. Topics include:
    • Fingerprint collection and development
    • Biological evidence identification and collection
    • DNA identification and collection
    • Explosive residue collection

Law Enforcement Organizations that Support CSI Jobs in New York

  • New York County District Attorney’s Office Investigation Division – Investigators working in this unit of the New York County District Attorney’s Office primarily investigate organized crime and financial/white collar crime scenes. The division, based in Manhattan, also houses the following units or bureaus:
    • Investigation Bureau
    • Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau
    • Public Integrity Unit
    • Rackets Bureau
    • Major Economic Crimes
    • Official Corruption
    • Special Prosecutions
    • Money Laundering and Tax Crimes
    • Asset Forfeiture
  • New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner– This office employs criminalists and forensic investigators to help in the investigation of crime scenes occurring throughout New York City. Specifically, the office investigates death by criminal violence, suicide, accident and sudden death.
  • New York City Police Department Crime Scene Unit – This unit of the city’s police department employs crime scene investigators and criminalists who work both on the scene of the crime and in the department’s laboratory in Jamaica, Queens.
  • FBI New York Division Evidence Response Team – The Evidence Response Team o the FBI’s New York division secures and gathers evidence from federal crime scenes occurring within the state. They may use photographs, diagrams, DNA and evidence recovery in their investigation of these crimes.

Forensic Scientist Salary in New York

The job market for forensic scientists in New York state is considered very favorable by the state’s Department of Labor.  They project that forty jobs a year will become available in the period from 2010 to 2020.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 590 forensic science technicians were employed in the state in 2012.

The BLS provides information on the salaries of these technicians throughout the state and in certain cities.  The average salary of a forensic science technician in New York state was $60,750 in 2012.  Those in the 90th percentile made $84,250 a year.  The salary levels for selected cities are listed below:

New York City
Average Annual Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy
$63400
New York City area
$61720

In addition to the wages of forensic science technicians being slightly higher in the Albany area, this metropolitan area had the ninth highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area in the U.S.  There were 120 such positions in 2012.  Approximately one out of every 3000 employees in the city was a forensic science technician in that year.

One type of forensic scientist job available in the state is that of a criminalist.  The New York City Police Department has five different types of positions for criminalists, depending on their educational level and amount of experience.  In 2013, a Criminalist IA earned $43,727, while a Criminalist IV made up to $104,454.

Other types of forensic science jobs take place out of the lab.  Scientists who go into the field and preserve evidence at crime scenes are known as crime scene investigators (CSIs).  Some law enforcement agencies use sworn officers who are experts in investigation as their CSIs, while others employ civilians in this position.  One type of civilian position is an evidence technician.  Such a position in Albany started at $30,928 a year in 2013.

The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of forensic science technician salaries for various locations in New York state in the following table:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
120
63400
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
410
Estimate not released
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
370
61720

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, and Erie County as a whole, are part of the Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System (SABIS). This system allows law enforcement officials across the state to search records and access three types of fingerprint files:

  • Unsolved latent files, containing unidentified fingerprint lifts
  • Tenprint files, containing images of index fingers
  • Latent cognizant files, consisting of all 10 fingerprints for selected categories and crimes

The latent cognizant files are used most often in identifying cold case suspects. Buffalo is part of SABIS’ Western New York Region, that includes over 70 law enforcement agencies in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Niagara and Erie counties. Systems such as SABIS have contributed to more jobs for forensic science professionals and crime scene investigators (CSIs) in the Buffalo area and across the state of New York.

Forensic Science and CSI Education in Buffalo

Buffalo CSI and forensic science jobs usually require some sort of college certificate or degree. Programs related to the field and found in the Buffalo area include:

  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Chemistry
  • Associate of Science, Crime Scene Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Science
  • Master of Science, Criminal Justice

Jobs that one may encounter in the CSI and forensic science disciplines in Buffalo include:

  • Laboratory Preparation Technician
  • Computer Forensics Examiner
  • Professor or Instructor (College level)
  • Medicolegal Death Investigator

Top Forensic Science and Employers in Buffalo

  • Erie County Forensic Laboratory – The main county crime laboratory is located in Buffalo. It supports more than 40 law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels. The laboratory is accredited to analyze the following:
    • Firearms
    • Forensic biology/DNA
    • Trace evidence (including chemical analysis, general physical analysis, impression evidence, fire debris and paint)
    • Controlled substances
  • Western New York Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory – The region’s computer laboratory analyzes digital evidence to support criminal investigations. This evidence may contribute to solving crimes in the following areas:
    • Child pornography
    • Terrorism
    • Violent crime
    • Homicide
    • Internet crime
    • Intellectual property crimes
    • Fraud
  • Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office – The county Medical Examiner’s Office performs medicolegal investigation of suspicious or unattended deaths in counties in Western New York. There are three sections:
    • Laboratory (includes Forensic Toxicology and Histology)
    • Field Investigation
    • Forensic Pathology
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation – Buffalo Division – The Buffalo office of the FBI includes evidence recovery and processing professionals. There are three Evidence Response Teams, each containing eight specialists/special agents, who work at crime scenes. The Buffalo Division also has a Computer Analysis and Response Team, forensic examiners of computer and digital evidence.

Professional Associations for Buffalo Forensic Scientists and CSIs

Professional certification and/or membership in organizations can benefit forensic science workers and crime scene investigators. Buffalo CSIs and forensic scientists may be interested in joining professional organizations such as the following, to increase networking and advancement possibilities:


CSI and Forensic Scientist in Hempstead, New York

The Mayor of Hempstead along with the Nassau County District Attorney recently launched an anti-crime initiative that reduced drug crimes in Hempstead by 87 percent. However, based on the Uniform Crime Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the total crime and violent crime indices for Hempstead are higher than the national average. The total crime index in Hempstead in 2012 was 196, above the national average of 100. The violent crime index that year was even higher, at 246 (with 100 being average).

Professionals in the crime scene investigation and forensic science field who serve in the following roles help resolve these crimes and see that justice is done in Hempstead:

  • Laboratory Analyst
  • Criminalist
  • Forensic Investigator
  • Investigative Consultant
  • Latent Print Specialist

Getting a Degree in Forensics

Most jobs in forensic science and CSI in Hempstead require that the applicant have a four-year degree. Hempstead area schools offer the following related degrees:

  • Associate of Science, Forensic Investigations
  • Bachelor of Science, Criminal Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Science
  • Master of Science, Forensic Science
  • Master of Science, Public Administration

Forensic scientists, criminal justice professionals and CSIs in Hempstead often need to fulfill requirements for continuing education, whether these requirements stem from a professional certification body or from their own employer. The Continuing Education Department at Hofstra University offers two CE programs in Forensic Science:

  • The Real World of CSI – This course, taught by a former Nassau County prosecutor, teaches students how real crime scene investigators gather evidence and have it analyzed so that it stands up in court.
  • Forensic Linguistics – This course helps law enforcement agents solve legal problems through linguistic analysis. It includes concepts such as:
    • Threat level analysis
    • Authorship analysis
    • Demographic linguistic profiles

Types of cases and situations that forensic linguistics may apply to include:

  • Criminal communications
  • Threat assessment
  • Terror campaigns

Employers of Forensic Lab Technicians and Crime Scene Investigators in Hempstead

  • Nassau County Police Department Detective Division, Forensic Evidence Bureau – The county police department’s Forensic Evidence Bureau is charged with the responsibilities of gathering and analyzing all evidence collected by crime scene investigators and detectives. The following sections are maintained within this bureau:
    • Firearms Identification Section
    • Latent Fingerprint Section
    • Evidence Assessment Section
    • Criminalistics and Documents Section
    • Crime Search Section
    • Drug Chemistry Section
    • Photography and Rogue Gallery Section
      • Photographic Lab
  • Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office Division of Forensic Services – Also known as the Nassau County Office of the Medical Examiner Crime Laboratory, this forensic laboratory system contains two departments:
    • The Department of Forensic Genetics provides forensic DNA testing for law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system of Nassau County
    • The Department of Forensic Sciences provides all other types of analysis of evidence (not DNA) for law enforcement agencies throughout the county

CSI and Forensic Scientist in New York, NY

The most recent crime statistics for New York City indicate that, although crime rates in the city are down, they are still occurring at an alarming rate. In the latest published data in the one-week period from September 30, 2013 through October 6, 2013, there were 11 murders reported in the city, 28 rapes, 427 robberies, 421 cases of felonious assault, 341 burglaries, and 938 grand larceny cases. Crime scene investigators are dispatched to many of these crime scenes, and forensic lab technicians analyze the evidence gathered by these CSIs. Both types of professionals play an important role in the criminal justice system of New York City.

Jobs in crime scene investigations and forensic science in New York City include:

  • Criminalistics Manager
  • Criminalist
  • Forensics Examiner, Consultant

Degree Programs in Forensics Found in New York City

The best way to break into the forensic science and CSI discipline in New York City is to get a degree in a related area. Degree programs available in the New York City area include:

  • Associate of Science, Forensic Investigations
  • Associate of Science, Forensic Science Studies
  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science, Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation
  • Master of Science, Forensic Science

Some forensic science and CSI jobs in New York City require professional training, that may be acquired on-the-job or in a state-sponsored program. One example of such a program is the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. In order to be eligible for this training, professionals must be currently and actively employed in a tribal, local, state or federal agency and have death investigation as their primary duty. Courses that are held at this training program include:

  • Forensic Specialties in Death Investigation
  • Medicolegal Investigation of Death
  • 40 Hour Basic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Course

Courses are offered to eligible applicants free of charge, thanks to a grant from the National Institute of Justice.

New York’s Top Employers of Forensic Professionals

  • New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner – Death investigations for persons in New York City who die from unnatural causes are handled at this office. Services performed here include forensic biology, forensic anthropology, and high sensitivity DNA testing.
  • Crime Scene Unit and Forensic Laboratory, Yonkers Police Department – This police department of one of the boroughs in New York City has two related units. The CSU examines crime scenes, collects physical evidence, and identifies fingerprints. The Forensic Laboratory processes and analyzes evidence and narcotics seized in Yonkers.

CSI and Forensic Scientist in Rochester, New York

Although it is primarily located in Monroe County, the fact that Rochester’s metropolitan area spills over into surrounding Wayne, Orleans, Ontario, Livingston and Genesee Counties means its forensic lab must handle evidence for a multi-county jurisdiction.

In 2008, Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics indicate that there were 2302 violent crimes reported in Rochester, creating an average of 1,121 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Aggravated assaults numbered the highest in the violent crime category, followed by robberies, rapes and homicides. In 2012, Neighborhood Scout ranked Rochester at number 80 among the top 100 most dangerous cities to live in within the United States. If the current trends continue, there will remain a great need for crime scene investigators and forensic science professionals in Rochester for years to come.

Forensic Science and CSI Degree Options in Rochester

Degrees in criminal justice, crime scene investigation and forensic science can help applicants land the perfect Rochester CSI or forensic science job. Options in the Rochester area include:

  • Master of Science in Computer Security
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Forensic  Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science/Crime Scene Investigation

Rochester area crime scene investigator and forensic scientist jobs might hold the following titles:

  • Principal Laboratory Technologist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Police Officer
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Criminalistics Specialist

Rochester CSI and Forensic Science Jobs In the News

In 2011, the Monroe County Crime Laboratory in Rochester made national news headlines when the existing facility, dating back to 1961, was replaced with a larger, more modern facility. Along with the new 45,000 square foot facility, the crime laboratory implemented a new workflow to improve efficiency. Sorenson Forensics of Salt Lake City, Utah trained the laboratory’s 13 forensic biologists and other analysts in a new management system, Lean Six Sigma. It changed the way work flows in the laboratory, with notes and forms ensuring that every scientist’s work is standardized. Lab productivity increased by 200 percent after these changes were initiated. They hope to clear their backlog of cases, which numbered almost 500, by 2014.

Organizations Supporting Forensic Science and CSI Jobs in Rochester

  • Monroe County Crime Laboratory – Located in Rochester, the county crime laboratory serves Rochester and the surrounding area, with a population of about 1.1 million people. Forensic services such as the following are performed here:
    • Vehicle examination/training bay
    • Evidence management
    • Drug chemistry analysis
    • Firearms and toolmarks
    • Fire debris/trace evidence analysis
    • Forensic biology/DNA analysis
  • Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory – This crime laboratory is located in Lockport, about 55 miles from Rochester. It serves all surrounding counties, and includes the following sections:
    • Firearms/toolmarks
    • Chemistry
    • Toxicology
    • Serology
    • Trace evidence
  • The Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences – Located in Syracuse, about 70 miles from Rochester, this forensic laboratory serves Onodaga and surrounding counties, providing the following services:
    • Forensic biology/DNA
    • Digital evidence
    • Firearms
    • Forensic chemistry
    • Latent prints

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