Employment Opportunity

Forensic Investigator

Elk Grove Police Department, Elk Grove, California

Salary: $66,076.00 - $88,549.00 Annually

Final Filing Date: June 7, 2023

Under general supervision, the incumbent will perform a wide variety of complex specialized and technical non-sworn forensic investigative duties within the Police Department by recording, collecting, analyzing, and processing evidence in order to establish links between suspects and crimes. The scope of work for this position includes the full range of forensic investigative duties, with limited guidance and direction from higher-level employees. A strong commitment to public service and the ability to exercise considerable judgment and discretion are critical for the position coupled with the ability to maintain confidentiality and act with integrity.

This is the journey-level class in the Forensic Investigator series. Incumbents at this level perform the full range of forensic investigative duties, with limited guidance and direction from higher-level employees. Forensic Investigators are expected to become proficient in all aspects of the job, ranging from manual and automated examination of latent fingerprints to the full range of functions performed in a forensic laboratory as well as the broad range of duties performed in relation to crime scene investigation.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


The following duties are typical for this classification. Incumbents may not perform all of the listed duties and/or may be required to perform additional or different duties from those set forth below to address business needs and changing business practices.
  • Responds to scenes of police-related incidents and performs a variety of forensic investigative duties; searches for and identifies evidence utilizing various tools and methods; evaluates items to determine whether or not they are indeed evidence; records the condition and location of evidence utilizing photography, videography, and diagrams.
  • Assesses evidence to determine the best means of collecting and preserving the items; collects various types of physical, trace, and biological evidence using a wide array of packaging materials and preservation methods.
  • Analyzes evidence at the scene in order to create a reconstruction of the incident; examines and interprets location and condition of evidence, including blood stains, gunshot damage, etc., to aide in reconstructing the events that took place; serves as the principal forensic investigator and point of contact for all forensic work processes and products for major crime scenes and other scenes as assigned.
  • Conducts thorough examinations of latent print evidence and makes the most complex identifications of suspects; utilizing current industry accepted methodology, identifies, analyzes, evaluates, compares, and verifies latent prints from objects of evidence, structures, or natural materials through the use of various developing powders, chemicals, dyes, casting material, specialized photographic techniques, lasers, alternate light sources, or other specialized equipment; utilizes laser dyes and photographic digital equipment and methods for the development and enhancement of marginal latent prints on difficult surfaces; processes all items using sequential processing methods in order to obtain the best quality latents from evidence.
  • Fingerprint persons, living and deceased.
  • Evaluates, selects, analyzes, and prepares unknown latent impressions developed on evidence or from crime scenes for input into the Cal-ID Automated Latent Print System, including the Western Identification Network, FBI database and other California databases.
  • Makes thorough latent and fingerprint comparisons and identifications from the results of automated searches; verifies identifications using the current, industry accepted methodology.
  • Processes evidence using various mechanical, chemical, and photographic techniques in a laboratory setting to obtain latent impressions; evaluates and analyzes items of evidence in order to determine the sequential process to be utilized; documents the various stages of the sequential processing; mixes and tests chemicals and reagents to insure a positive reaction; utilizes and monitors forensic equipment to obtain required results.
  • Receives and maintains all latent print evidence from crime scenes, lab processing, Community Services Officers, Police Officers, and Department of Justice returns; intakes latent print evidence in the property module.
  • Prepares written records and establishes/maintains the chain of custody of evidence items; prepares supplemental forensic reports.
  • Maintains a variety of logs and records including statistical information covering the range of functions performed; gathers information and prepares routine reports as assigned; enters, inputs, and retrieves a variety of information using a computer terminal.
  • Provides detailed instruction and training to police personnel, students, interns, and members of the community on the techniques utilized in crime scene processing, crime scene photography, and latent print processing; provides training on forensic fingerprint equipment (live scan).
  • Testifies in court as an expert witness including as to: methods, techniques, and processes used in the crime scene investigation; diagrams, photography, documentation, latent print processing, collection of firearm evidence, collection of trace evidence, and collection of blood/DNA evidence; methods, techniques, and processes used to process evidence in the laboratory; results of the automated latent print searches and fingerprint comparisons; and results of manual comparisons using the current, industry accepted methodology.
  • Maintains awareness of new forensic techniques and court rulings; attends and participates in job related training courses; participates in peer review process; incorporates new developments as appropriate.
  • Assists in preparing the section budget and monitors the expenses of the assigned unit; identifies, researches, and prepares requests for purchases related to the forensics operation.
  • Assists in development and implementation of department operating procedures and forensic protocols.
  • Researches and assists in the development of grant applications pertinent to the forensics operation.
  • Maintains the upkeep of assigned facilities, vehicles, and equipment; maintains adequate supplies and forensic equipment and material.
  • Serves as unit liaison to other Police Department units, other City departments, and members of the public as required.
  • Performs related duties as required.


Knowledge of: The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.
  • Basic law enforcement theory, principles, and practices and their application to a wide variety of activities and operations.
  • Crime scene evidence collection practices and procedures.
  • Methods of preserving evidence at crime scenes.
  • Analysis and identification procedures for latent fingerprint evidence.
  • Various methods of fingerprint classification; fingerprint pattern recognition.
  • Modern photographic and videographic equipment and techniques.
  • Current scientific techniques and methods utilized in laboratory analysis of evidence.
  • Use and care of laboratory instruments and apparatus used in evidence examination.
  • Methods used to make cast impressions of tire tracks, shoeprints, and other physical evidence.
  • Principles, practices, and safe work methods used in collecting, processing, logging, storing, and safeguarding evidence, property, and materials including hazardous materials.
  • Pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations and department rules, policies, and procedures including laws, policies, and procedures applying to the collection and preservation of physical evidence.
  • Modern office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers.
  • Computer applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications.
  • Methods and techniques used in the preparation of case notes, sketches, and records.
  • Report writing techniques.
  • English usage, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Ability to: The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.
  • Perform a full range of non-sworn law enforcement activities involved in providing a variety of forensic investigative services including the preparation of case notes, sketches, records, reports, and statements; exercise independent judgment and work with a minimum of supervision.
  • Understand the organization, operation, and services of the City, the Police Department, and of outside agencies as necessary to assume assigned responsibilities.
  • Understand, interpret, and apply pertinent federal, state, and local codes, laws, and regulations.
  • Understand, interpret, and apply general and specific administrative and departmental policies, procedures, and guidelines.
  • Apply crime scene evidence collection practices and procedures.
  • Recognize, collect, preserve, transport, and analyze physical evidence without contamination.
  • Prepare and testify in court on latent palm and fingerprint evidence.
  • Learn, utilize, and stay current with technological issues pertaining to forensic investigation.
  • Perform effectively and maintain professional composure at unpleasant crime and accident scenes.
  • Photograph and collect evidence from deceased persons; work with deceased persons in varying stages of decomposition.
  • Recognize fingerprint patterns.
  • Prepare clear, concise, factual, and thorough reports and statements.
  • Testify in court as an expert witness.
  • Operate and use modern office equipment including a computer and various software packages.
  • Operate assigned vehicle in a safe manner.
  • Operate specialized automated law enforcement information and communication systems including public safety computer systems to access and maintain data.
  • Use and operate assigned tools and equipment including camera and evidence/fingerprint kit.
  • Exercise good judgment in maintaining critical and sensitive information, records, and reports.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Analyze situations and adopt a course of action.
  • Use good judgment when confronted with difficult situations.
  • Understand and follow oral and written instructions.
  • Type and enter data accurately at a speed necessary for successful job performance.
  • Work irregular and on-call hours including weekends, evenings, and holidays.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the community.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
Education and Experience Guidelines - Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:
  • Education/Training: Equivalent to the completion of the twelfth grade supplemented by two years of college level and/or specialized training in forensic science, criminal justice, criminology, chemistry, biology, or a related field. A Bachelor's degree is desirable.
  • Experience: Two (2) years of increasingly responsible experience in a law enforcement agency performing the full range of forensic investigative duties and responsibilities including experience in investigative photography, fingerprint comparisons and identification, and the collection, development, and preservation of physical evidence.
License or Certificate:
  • Possession of an appropriate, valid driver's license.
  • Possession of certificate of completion of a recognized Fingerprint course.
  • Possession of certification from the International Association for Identification as a Latent Print Examiner is highly desirable.
  • POST coursework and/or certification is strongly desired.
Physical Demands and Work Environment - The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.
  • Environment: Office, laboratory, and field setting; travel from site to site; exposure to inclement weather conditions; some exposure to fumes, unpleasant odors, airborne and contact pathogens, bio-hazardous conditions such as blood and bodily fluids, unidentified chemicals, and narcotics; some exposure to moving mechanical parts; the noise level in the work environment is usually moderate but may be very loud due to sirens, etc. Incumbents are required to work various shifts, including evenings and weekends.
  • Physical: Primary functions require sufficient physical ability and mobility to work in an office, laboratory, and field setting; to walk, stand, or sit for prolonged periods of time; regularly stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, reach, and twist; occasionally climb and balance; work at heights on scaffolding and ladders; work and/or walk on various types of surfaces including slippery or uneven surfaces; regularly push, pull, lift, and/or carry light to moderate weights; frequently lift and/or move moderate to heavy weights; occasionally lift and/or more heavy weights; operate law enforcement and general office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement and fine coordination; requires a sense of touch, finger dexterity, and gripping with hands and fingers; ability to operate a vehicle to travel to various locations; and to verbally communicate to exchange information.
  • Vision: See in the normal visual range with or without correction; visually distinguish colors and picture resolution quality.
  • Hearing: Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction.

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Posted: May 9, 2023

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