Crime Scene Sciences and Evidence Management Section
Crime Scene Sciences Unit
The Crime Scene Unit is the first link in the forensic chain, and is the forensic element charged with recognizing, recording, and recovering evidence at crime scenes. Crime Laboratory Technicians answer calls for service sand respond to crime scenes 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The Crime Scene Unit processes items at crime scenes for the presence of evidence such as latent fingerprints, as well as the identification and preservation of potential physical and biological evidence. Evidence recovered by Crime Laboratory Technicians is delivered to the Evidence Management Unit for preservation and storage and, if needed, it will be forwarded to the appropriate forensic unit for analysis.
The Crime Scene Sciences Unit responds to scenes of crimes to assist investigating officers in documented the scene and in recovering physical evidence to used in identifying participants in the crime. Our Crime Laboratory Technicians respond to homicides, shootings, sex offenses, aggravated assaults, robberies, carjackings, and burglaries. The primary function of a Crime Laboratory Technician is to document the scene and to package all available physical evidence for further processing.
The Crime Scene Unit currently consists of 5 squads with 9-10 Crime Laboratory Technicians per squad. Each squad covers a 12 hour period (0600-1800 and 1800 - 0600) with each Crime Laboratory Technician working a 10 hour tour of duty with tours flexed to cover shift changes and times of day when demand for Crime Scene Unit services is the highest.
Career As A Crime Laboratory Technician
Being a Crime Laboratory Technician is physically demanding, as processing a scene may require bending, climbing, twisting, or crawling under objects. The career can also be emotionally challenging for some and requires compassion to be able to relate to witnesses or victims that may be extremely upset, as well as handle difficult or even shocking scenes of violence.
A career in Crime Scene Investigations requires patience and the ability to think though a process. Crime Laboratory Technicians are often called upon to testify in a court of law regard the evidence they collected. Despite these physical and emotional demands of the career, for the right person, being a Crime Laboratory Technician is a rewarding career path.
During a Crime Laboratory Technician's training the trainee will receive 120 hours of intense classroom instruction on crime scene inspection techniques and procedures as well as extensive individual training from their assigned supervisor. Trainees will also receive on-the-job training from experienced technicians by accompanying them on service requests for 6-8 weeks. Additionally, after two years of service a Crime Laboratory Technician I becomes eligible for promotion.
Eligible applicants for a Crime Laboratory Technician position will typically have a bachelor's degree in a science, forensic science, biology, chemistry, physics, or related field. The skills required for a Crime Laboratory Technician are patience, an eye for detail, critical thinking, and problem solving. Please visit the careers page for potential job postings.
The Photography Unit is one of the Division's few unaccredited units. It's main purpose is to receive photographs taken by the Crime Scene Sciences Unit and upload those digital photographs into Evidence.com which is the Division's current permanent repository for digital images.
The Photography Unit does provide other services to the department such as aerial photography, retirement photography, special event photography, development of digital photographs taken, and the photographing of evidence when necessary.
Evidence Management Unit
Property and evidence management is the sole responsibility of the Forensic Science & Evidence Services Division's Evidence Management Unit. The Evidence Management Unit is responsible for receiving, cataloging, safekeeping, storing, and management the disposition of items received into its custody by members of the Baltimore Police Department, as well as some outside agencies.
The Evidence Management Unit's responsibilities encompass the time items are received by receiving counter personnel until such time that continued custody is no longer necessary, and they are disposed of. Inherent in its function is:
- ensuring that submitted items are documented properly;
- ensuring that temporary and long term storage of items is consistent with best practices in the property/evidence field and COMAR regulations;
- ensuring that items which no longer need to be preserved are disposed of in a timely manner. Disposition actions include:
- returning stolen items to their rightful owners
- destroying dangerous/sensitive items
- donating/auctioning unclaimed items of value
The integral function of the Evidence Management Unit includes the creation and maintenance of standards and policies that reflect the best practices in the field, and application of those standards, from the time an item is received, through its retention, to its timely disposal.