A criminal investigator is a person who conducts investigations for criminal cases. This person is responsible for collecting and assessing evidence for a case to pinpoint guilty parties. If you have ever watched an episode of CSI, you have seen criminal investigators in action. The ones in the real world do roughly the same work, but they don’t always have dramatic cases to deal with. If you have been looking for a career in criminal justice, though, this could certainly be an exciting one to pursue. Here is an overview of the work you may go through if you decide to become a criminal investigator.
Criminal Investigator Job Duties
The job duties of a criminal investigator will vary based on the crime on hand at the time. That is why it is hard to identify an exact criminal investigator job description because each investigator goes through a different set of tasks each day. Nevertheless, there are some common duties that happen in most cases. Those include:
- Examining case files
- Using law enforcement equipment, such as police radios and evidence containers
- Preparing evidence before a trial
- Testifying in court about a criminal case
- Gathering evidence at a crime scene
- Working with forensic scientists and psychologists to assess a crime
- Identifying suspects on a crime
- Recruiting witnesses for a criminal court trial
Your specific job duties may branch off from these, but that should give you a rough idea about what you would have to do as a criminal investigator. You can check with your future employer to find out more about the specific work you will have to do in your position in the field.
A Day in the Life of a Criminal Investigator
A criminal investigator will do different things on different days, depending on how the case he or she is working on is proceeding. Every criminal case goes through a certain process before it is complete. The steps to the process aren’t always in order, but they happen in almost every case that a crime investigator gets to work on. Below you will find a basic outline of how a criminal investigator works through an investigation. This may give you better insight into the work you might be doing in the future.
Step 1 – Case Evaluation
Before a case can even begin, a criminal investigator has to evaluate it to make a plan of attack. That plan is what determines the order of the steps below. Once an investigators knows what he or she is dealing with, he or she can collect information more effectively.
Step 2 – Evidence Collection
Once an investigator arrives at a crime scene, he or she is responsible for collecting evidence to be used in a case. This may involve taking fingerprints, taking pictures, conducting chemical tests, finding weapons, and anything else along those lines. This is one of the most crucial steps in crime scene investigation, and it must be done as soon as possible to preserve the crime scene evidence
Step 3 – Forensic Analysis
In many cases, the evidence a criminal investigator collects will be sent to a forensics lab for analysis. The lab will then test the evidence for chemicals, DNA samples, traces of blood, and more.
Step 4 – Suspect Identification
Once the lab produces some results from a collection of evidence, the criminal investigators can begin identifying possible suspects for a case. There is no guarantee that these suspects actually committed the crime at hand, but this information gives investigators a chance to weed out the innocent.
Step 5 – Suspect Interrogation
Most of the suspects that the crime scene investigators identify must be brought in for questioning. The investigators will then interrogate the suspects to determine if they are telling the truth or not. They can use the information from those interrogations to potentially pinpoint the criminal in a case.
Step 6 – Court Trial
With the potentially guilty parties identified, the crime scene investigators can then go to court to testify about their findings. Their efforts will serve as a major part of the prosecution on a criminal case.
Step 7 – Justice
If the criminal investigators did their jobs correctly, the guilty party or parties will be put behind bars. This is not always the outcome of a case, but it is a goal for most of them.
If you think that this process sounds intriguing to pursue, you may do well as a criminal investigator.
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