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

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Memphis had the fifth highest murder rate of any major city in the U.S. in 2012, and members of the Memphis Police Department are solving these homicides at an impressive rate.  In fiscal year 2013, homicide investigators cleared 80% of the city’s murders—a rate that is above the national average.

Memphis has been fighting its crime problem through a program known as Blue Crushthat aggressively uses crime statistics to target hot spots of high criminal activity within the city.  One of the strategic goals of the Memphis Police Department in fiscal year 2014 is to increase the level of crime scene training to help investigators solve even more cases.

Forensic Science and CSI Colleges in Memphis

Residents of Memphis who want to obtain a bachelor’s degree in forensic science have their choice of several state schools.  Those seeking criminal justice degrees have a choice of several degree programs from schools located in Memphis.  Such programs frequently have a CSI component.  They include:

  • Criminal justice:  associate or bachelor
  • Criminology and criminal studies:  bachelor or master

Another option to obtain these types of degrees is to seek online training at one of the many colleges that offer these options.

Types of Forensic Science Jobs in Memphis

The crime scene investigations of the Memphis Police Department are part of the Investigative Services Branch.  It employs five latent print examiners and a criminalist.  Officers who work as crime scene investigators (CSIs) process and secure evidence at major crime scenes.

The unit has a mobile state of the art crime response vehicle that it deploys to major crime scenes.  In addition, the Memphis PD has a goal of training at least 50 police officers to be fingerprint technicians in fiscal year 2014.

Additional forensic work in Memphis takes place at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).  It has a regional crime laboratory located in the city.  It serves 22 counties and provides the following types of forensic analyses:

  • Toxicology
  • Serology/DNA
  • Firearms identification
  • Drug chemistry

This crime lab also has a Violent Crime Response Team that has forensic technicians who are trained to document crime scenes, collect evidence, and help forensic scientists analyze the evidence back in the lab.

Career Opportunities as Forensic Scientists in Memphis

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – One way in which to work in the forensic sciences in Memphis is to work for the TBI as a forensic technician.  The minimum qualifications are a high school education and two years of full time experience in a lab or receiving and classifying evidence.  Up to two years of college credit can substitute for the experience requirement.

To become a forensic scientist for the TBI involves having substantially more education.  The agency requires a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

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

Applicants also become special agents and must be willing to qualify, carry, and use weapons.

Memphis Police Department – One of three backgrounds is required to be able to apply to become a Memphis police officer.  They include:

  • College credit:  54 semester hours at an accredited school
  • Military service:  two years of continuous service with an honorable discharge
  • Post certified LEO employment:  three years at a department with at least 20 officers

Although no field is specified as part of the education requirement, LEO applicants frequently get formal training in criminal justice to prepare themselves for a career in law enforcement.

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