When people tend to think of South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore may come to mind, but definitely not crime. Yet, in 2012, the state had 14,854 crimes reported to authorities- including 26 murders. When compared to national crime rates, South Dakota ranks below average. Yet, there is still a demand for Forensic Scientists and other Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) specialists in order to help solve crimes and bring those responsible to justice. There are two Crime Labs in the state that are responsible for examining evidence related to violent crimes, one of which is located in the city of Madison.
A recent notable case in which the Crime Lab was used involved football star Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. In October 2013, Peterson’s 2 year-old son was found unconscious. After examination it was found that the boy had been injured through physical abuse at the hand’s of his caretaker at the time. It was the responsibility of Forensic Scientists to examine the boy’s body and determine how he was killed (this includes fingerprints, examining bruises and scratches, determining if a weapon was used, etc.)
How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientists in Madison
Colleges and Degree Granting Schools in Madison: The main requirement for a position with the Madison Police Department Investigation Unit is a four-year degree in a field closely related to Forensic Science and Crime Scene Investigation. There are both campus-based schools and online schools in and around Madison that offer degrees and certification programs, including:
- Bachelors Degree in Forensic Science
- Bachelors Degree in Forensic Biology
- Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice
- Masters Degree in Criminal Justice
Certification: Another major requirement for consideration in the Investigation Unit is Crime Scene Investigator certification. Certification typically is not required for entry-level positions, but is for the higher-up positions and will give an applicant preference over other people seeking out the position. The International Association of Investigation is one of the primary certifiers. They offer certification in the following fields:
- Footwear Identification
- Latent Print Identification
- Forensic Photography Certification
- Forensic Video Certification
Other Requirements: Previous experience in law enforcement is recommended, but is not required for consideration with the Madison Police Department. But, applicants must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background test and be able to pass physical and written examinations prior to employment.
Forensic Science CSI Jobs
Those working with the Madison Police Department’s Investigation Unit are tasked with examining and identifying multiple types of evidence in connection with serious crimes throughout the state. Forensic Scientists and Investigators with the unit will be tasked with interpreting blood stain patterns, examining trace evidence (hair follicles, fibers, etc,) process latent fingerprints, the examination of firearms and toolmarks, DNA processing and the identification of tread mark patterns and shoe patterns, among many other things. The section in which a person would be working depends on their prior experience, training and specializations. It is quite common, because of the size of the staff, for Forensic Scientists and CSI professionals to work in multiple departments within the Investigation Unit.