Employment Opportunity

Criminalist II - Forensic Firearms

Oakland Police Department, Oakland, California

Salary: $87,978.59 - $108,027.12 Annually

Final Filing Date: June 10, 2019

The eligibility list established from this recruitment will only be used to fill the current vacancy and other vacancies for this selective certification in Forensic Firearms.

The City of Oakland is currently recruiting to fill one Criminalist II vacancy within the Oakland Police Department Crime Laboratory in the forensic biology discipline. The ideal candidate for this selectively certified position will meet the minimum requirements for a Criminalist II position and have specific experience and training in forensic biology. Ideal candidates will also exhibit leadership in Forensic Science through professional engagement, certification, publications, presentations, board positions or other tangible measures.

This position is a journey-level professional civilian position in the Crime Laboratory Criminalist series. The laboratory is ANAB accredited and meets ISO 17025:2005 standards. The forensic biology unit offers exposure to casework by testing items for the presence of biological material and DNA associated with evidence from property crimes, assaults, sexual assaults, homicides and other violent crimes. All Criminalist II positions require providing expert testimony and crime scene processing.

Under direction of a Criminalist III, the Criminalist II performs professional and technical duties related to laboratory examination of physical and chemical analyses of evidence required in scientific criminal investigation; provides expert testimony regarding laboratory findings; and performs related duties as assigned. Areas of examination may include analysis of firearm and tool-mark evidence, drug evidence, forensic alcohol analysis, biological evidence, trace evidence, and crime scene processing.

The current vacancy requires the candidate to serve as a firearms/toolmarks examiner. Candidates must have completed a comprehensive training program for a minimum of one year under the guidance of an experienced forensic firearms/toolmarks examiner; and must have conducted independent forensic firearms/toolmarks casework for a minimum of one year. Experience should include the following essential functions: determination of operational capabilities of firearms, comparison of fired projectiles and cartridge cases, shooter-to-target distance determinations, toolmark examinations and comparisons, serial number restoration, photographic documentation of evidence and comparisons, interpretation of laboratory analyses and results, operation of the IBIS/NIBIN system, preparation of reports in forensic firearms analyses, qualification previously as an expert witness in courts on forensic firearms examinations. Experience should be recent and encompass the range of armory currently encountered in forensic casework.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


  • Perform physical and chemical examination of evidence using quantitative and qualitative laboratory techniques; evaluate nature, origin and significance of evidence in criminal cases.
  • Use instrumentation, apparatuses and techniques such as microscopy, electrophoresis and photography applicable to the assigned job category.
  • Examine and identify controlled substances.
  • Examine evidence for biological materials and conduct DNA analysis.
  • Research technical journals, textbooks, chemical manuals and other source materials to determine the best methods of performing analytical testing.
  • Conduct research into new methods and procedures of scientific criminal investigation.
  • Perform forensic alcohol analysis.
  • Make accurate observations regarding examination; prepare detailed notes and comprehensive written reports regarding examinations.
  • Present fair and impartial court testimony concerning findings as established by laboratory analyses and interpret findings as a qualified expert witness.
  • Maintain chain of custody and integrity of evidence under their control.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment, instruments and work areas.
  • Provide technical training, guidance and advice to less experienced laboratory personnel, law enforcement officers, or other users of laboratory services in the methods of analysis employed in the laboratory and in the methods of collecting and preserving evidence.
  • May be subject to extended or additional work hours for crime scene duties or other time sensitive work.
For Selectively Certified Positions in Forensic Firearms, Additional duties may include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Apply analytical techniques to the examination of firearms and firearms related physical evidence.
  • Use a comparison microscope in forensic firearms examinations.
  • Determine operational capabilities of firearms.
  • Perform comparative evaluation of toolmarks and form competent opinions on common origin.
  • Perform serial number restoration.
  • Photodocument evidence and comparisons.
  • Evaluate gunshot residue pattern on clothing or other surfaces and perform muzzle to target distance tests.
  • Use IBIS/NIBIN for evidence entry and correlation reviews.
  • Operates the IBIS/NIBIN system.
  • Prepares reports in forensic firearms analysis.
  • Qualification previously as an expert witness in court regarding forensic firearms examinations.


Selective Certification in Forensic Biology:
  • This position requires that the candidate meets the FBI DNA Quality Assurance Standards for the Technical Leader which require the successful completion of specific scientific coursework and at least three years of human DNA experience as a qualified analyst on database or forensic samples. The Forensic Biology Unit is of a sufficient size and complexity and the supervisor of Criminalist II positions will maintain span of control, train and supervise staff, validate and adopt new technology, and meet the federally mandated quality assurance and accreditation requirements.
Minimum Requirements for Application
  • Any combination of education and experience that is equivalent to the following minimum qualifications is acceptable.
  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's degree in Criminalistics or a closely related physical or natural science which must include the successful completion of a minimum of 17 semester (or equivalent quarter) units of chemistry course work. Chemistry coursework must include laboratory and cover general chemistry and organic chemistry.
  • Two (2) years of progressively responsible work experience comparable to a Criminalist I in the City of Oakland including a demonstrated skill in two or more areas of Criminalistics or have exceptional documented expertise in a single area.
For Selectively Certified Positions in Forensic Firearms:
  • In addition to the requirement described above, candidates seeking appointment to a (selectively certified) forensic firearms position must demonstrate completion of a comprehensive training program for at least one year in forensic firearms/toolmarks examinations conducted under the guidance of an experienced forensic/toolmarks examiner is preferred.
License or Certificate:
  • Possession of Diplomate certification in Comprehensive Criminalistics issued by the American Board of Criminalistics is desirable. Incumbents are strongly encouraged to attain Diplomate certification by the American Board of Criminalistics in Comprehensive Criminalistics as well as certification in a relevant specialty area by an external, nationally recognized forensic certifying body within two years of appointment to the position of Criminalist II. For Criminalist II firearms position, certification by the Association of Firearms and Toolmarks Examiners is desirable.
  • Individuals who are appointed to this position will be required to maintain a valid California Driver's License throughout the tenure of employment.
  • Must be twenty one (21) years of age or older.
  • Must pass a thorough background investigation.


Knowledge of:
  • Basic principles, methods, materials, and techniques of Criminalistics.
  • Basic principles of chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and physiology.
  • Statistics and photography as related to Criminalistics. Principles of scientific instruments and apparatus used in a Criminalistics laboratory.
  • Laws of evidence, criminal procedure, and crimes.
  • Recent developments, literature, and sources of information relevant to Criminalistics.
Ability to:
  • Conduct various technical, chemical, and other comparative laboratory analyses. Follow detailed technical instructions.
  • Make accurate observations.
  • Prepare and maintain analytical and other laboratory records and technical reports.
  • Communicate clearly in oral and written form.
  • Operate instruments and scientific apparatus with skill and care.
  • Read, interpret, and follow departmental policies, rules and instructions.
  • Adopt a quick, effective, and responsible course of action, giving due regard to the circumstances of each situation.
  • Testify effectively in court as an expert witness.
  • Adhere to the laboratory's code of ethics.
  • Assist in training assigned staff in the fundamentals of Criminalistics and areas of specialization.
  • Apply theories and principles of chemistry and forensic science to forensic casework situations.
  • Resolve analytical problems arising from casework through consultation of the scientific literature and/or applied research.
  • Establish and maintain effective work relationships with those contacted in the performance of required duties.

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How to apply: Apply online

Posted: May 14, 2019

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