Manal Khalil ’12
Forensic Scientist (Crime Scene), DC Department of Forensic Sciences
Working as a crime scene technician for a police department requires many skills, both science-related and not. First of all, you must be able to interact with people in a professional and respectable manner. Working for the police department means that you encounter all types of people: suspects, victims, officers, detectives, and other crime scene technicians.
Understanding how to deal with these different types of individuals is a necessity. While at Cedar Crest it is almost impossible to deal with suspects and victims, working with professors and instructors is similar to working with officers and detectives. Cedar Crest provided many opportunities to work in groups and interact with other individuals in the program. These instances simulate working with other crime scene technicians.
Obviously, Cedar Crest provides courses that prepared me for the work that I would be doing. By Cedar Crest offering an Advanced Crime Scene Reconstruction class, I learned to hone my skills of investigating a crime scene. Learning how to collect, preserve, and process evidence allowed me to be a step ahead in my job.
When we go to a scene, knowing how to dust for fingerprints on different surfaces, if fingerprints are even recoverable—and how to lift and recover them if they are—is essential. Officers expect the crime scene technicians to know what needs to be dusted and how to lift fingerprints, similar to how instructors expect and teach that in a classroom setting.
Being able to be a graduate assistant for the undergraduate Crime Scene Pattern Analysis class allowed me to have more exposure to several different methods employed in my current job. While techniques such as casting a toolmark or footwear impression, or using the string method to determine point of origin of a blood spatter stain are not used every day, it gives me the opportunity to use them if a situation calls for it. Knowledge of those infrequently used techniques also allows me to assist my co-workers should they ever need to employ them.