How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in Knoxville, Tennessee

Over 24,000 crimes were committed in Knoxville in 2012.  The local police department was able to solve nearly 46% of these offenses, partly due to the efforts of local forensic scientists and crime scene investigators (CSIs).

Prospective students in Knoxville who want to obtain a degree in forensics have a choice of forensic programs available in state schools, as well as online programs.  Those who seek criminal justice programs can obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a number of online colleges.  Programs in criminal justice frequently feature CSI techniques as part of their curriculum, and some are available with a full CSI concentration.

How to Become a Forensic Scientist or CSI in Knoxville

Knoxville Police Department – All of the members of the Forensic Unit of the Knoxville Police Department have their degrees from a forensic academy.  This includes the supervisors of this unit.

Applicants for crime scene technician positions frequently obtain associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice to enhance their chances of being accepted and to improve their knowledge of police work.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – The requirements to work in forensics for the TBI vary greatly depending on whether one is applying to be a forensic technician or a scientist.  Technician positions often require as many as two years of experience.  Obtaining formal secondary education can substitute for the requirement for experience (up to two years).

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The forensic scientists at this agency are required to have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Natural or physical science
  • Chemistry
  • Forensic science
  • Medical technology
  • Mathematics

Unlike technicians, these scientists are special agents.  As such, they are required to be trained to carry and use weapons.

CSI and Forensic Science Employers in Knoxville

Law enforcement agencies in Knoxville employ both forensic scientists who work in the lab and crime scene technicians who work in the field processing crime scenes.

Knoxville Police Department – This agency has a Forensic Unit as part of its Criminal Investigation Division.  Members of this unit responded to over 5,500 service calls in 2012.  This unit is comprised of six special details that are listed below:

  • Crime scene processing
  • Photo lab
  • Firearms identification
  • Fingerprint identification
  • Polygraph
  • Phone forensics

The Criminal Investigation Division had the following civilian positions in 2011:

  • Crime scene technician I
  • Evidence technicians
  • Evidence technicians Sr.
  • Firearms examiner

Both the crime scene technician and the evidence technicians process crime scenes for evidence.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – The TBI has one of its regional labs located in Knoxville that serves 30 counties.  In addition to having a Violent Crime Response Team that has CSIs who respond to crime scenes, it has the following units:

  • Toxicology
  • Evidence receiving
  • Drug chemistry
  • Serology/DNA
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