Statewide, in 2011, crime in Utah decreased by almost five percent, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s 2011 Summary Analysis. Violent crime in Utah decreased by 4.63 percent, although homicides increased by 13.04 percent. Firearms were used in almost half (46.15 percent) of the homicides that were tallied. Crime scene investigators at every level of law enforcement in Utah – local, state and federal- were involved in the investigation of many of these crimes. Investigation of crimes scenes in Utah ranges from collecting DNA, fingerprint and trace evidence at the scene of a crime to analyzing blood spatter patterns and other biological evidence.
These types of crime scene investigation jobs are found throughout the state of Utah:
- Forensics examiner
- Forensics investigator
- Police detective
- Forensic scientist
Crime Scene Investigator Education in Utah
Education is vital to any crime scene investigation position in Utah. The type and duration of that education depends upon one’s desired CSI career track. For some CSI jobs in Utah, an associate’s degree or certificate is sufficient. Others require a four-year or graduate degree. Some, but not all, CSI jobs in Utah require that one first becomes a sworn peace or police officer.
Crime Scene Investigation Certificates and Associate Degrees in Utah
These CSI jobs in Utah require at least an associate degree or certification:
- Peace Officer
- Crime Scene Technician
Utah schools in state and online currently offer the following certificates and associate degrees in crime scene investigation:
- Associate of Science in Criminology and Forensic Technology
- Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation
CSI Bachelor and Graduate Degrees in Utah
CSI jobs in Utah that require at least a bachelor’s degree include (but are not limited to):
- City Police Detective
- Forensic Investigator, City Police Department
- Field Investigator
These bachelor and higher degrees in crime scene investigation areas are currently offered in state and online in Utah:
- Bachelor of Science in Biology-Forensic Emphasis
- Bachelor of Science in Chemistry-Forensic Emphasis
- Master of Science in Digital Forensics Technology
- Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Forensic Psychology
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology-Criminal Justice
Professional Training for Crime Scene Investigators in Utah
Crime scene investigators already working in Utah often require professional training, to become acquainted with new methods and techniques in forensic science and to keep their skills sharp. These agencies provide professional training opportunities for Utah CSIs:
- Crime Scene Specialist Training at the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services – Both basic and advanced classes are held at the Larry H Miller Public Safety Complex at Sandy for Utah law enforcement agents.
- Forensic DNA Training by the National Institute of Justice – These online courses are intended for law enforcement employees in Utah and may be taken online
Law Enforcement Organizations that Support CSI Jobs in Utah
- Utah Bureau of Forensic Services – This division of the Utah Department of Public Safety helps federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in investigating major crime scenes. Things that they investigate include computers, tool marks, firearms, forensic biology and chemistry, forensic analysis, and impression evidence. Their labs, which are internationally accredited by ASCLD/LAB (American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board) offer services free to Utah law enforcement agencies. Labs are located in Ogden, Price, Cedar City and Salt Lake City.
- Escondido Police Department Investigations Bureau – This city police department made news in 2013, as it acquired a new professional CSI vehicle – a custom designed crime scene van. This vehicle is the CSI department’s first new vehicle in its history of more than 30 years, as it was using a refurbished ambulance prior to acquiring the $75,000 custom-made crime scene van. This vehicle helps CSI professionals investigate serious and violent crimes in the city, which has had 15 homicides since 2010.
- South Jordan Police Department Investigations Division – The city of South Jordan’s police investigations division handles, among other things, crime scene management and processing of evidence gathered at the scene. It employs seven full-time police detectives who are specially trained in crime scene investigation.
- West Valley City Police Department Investigations Section – This city police department’s investigations section includes four squads dedicated to different crime types, including major crimes, property crimes, sex crimes and juvenile crimes. The department made national news in 2009 when mother Susan Powell went missing, and in 2012, her husband killed himself and his children.
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Salt Lake City (District of Utah) – This local division of the federal U.S. Attorney’s Office handles major, federal cases in the state. Recently, in May 2013, it took over the search for missing West Valley City mother Susan Powell, after her husband killed himself and their children in 2012. The case remains unsolved as of September 2013.
Forensics Salary for Lab Technicians and CSIs in Utah
Utah’s occupational report for forensic science technicians gave a rating of four stars out of a possible five for this type of career. That indicates that the field is considered to have both a good employment outlook and wages that are relatively high.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Utah had the fifth highest concentration of jobs of any state in 2012. Salt Lake City had the tenth highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area. Of the 200 forensic scientists employed in the state in 2020, 80% were located in this city.
Information on the 2012 salary levels of forensic scientists in Utah is available from the BLS and is shown below:
Forensic scientists tend to work either as lab technicians or as investigators in the field. Utah has two crime labs that provide both types of positions.
Utah’s Department of Public Safety Bureau of Forensic Services has a central lab in Salt Lake City with satellite labs located in Cedar City and Ogden. The other crime lab in Utah is that of the Utah County’s Sheriff Office. This Evidence and Forensic Lab is part of the Detective Division of this office. The lab handles over 80,000 pieces of evidence at a time.
Crime scene investigator (CSI) positions can be filled by either sworn officers or civilians. The pay range varies greatly depending on the background of the individual being hired. According to Indeed.com, the average CSI salary in Utah was $45,000 in period from November 2012 to October 2013.
Detailed salary information from the BLS on the forensic science technicians employed in Salt Lake City in 2012 is shown below: