The Crime Scene Unit is a support unit under the Criminal Investigation Section. This is a civilian unit that consists of four full time crime scene technicians, two part time latent print examiners and one supervisor.
The Crime Scene Unit is responsible for several crucial tasks at the Lakeland Police Department:
Crime Scene Processing – Crime Scene Technicians are responsible for documenting the crime scene through photography, videotaping and diagrams. They are also responsible for the collection and processing of physical evidence. Crime Scene Technicians are available twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to major crime scenes. All full time members of the Crime Scene Unit have obtained certification through the International Association for Identification in Crime Scene Analysis.
Evidence Processing – Members of the Crime Scene Unit are responsible for the processing of physical evidence for fingerprints and the collection of DNA evidence. A multitude of evidence processing techniques are used daily to include the use of cyanoacrylate chambers, alternate light sources, and various chemicals and powders.
Video Analysis – The Crime Scene Unit is charged with retrieving and analyzing surveillance video evidence from businesses and home owners. Images of suspects are captured from the video evidence and provided to detectives for further investigation. One member of the Crime Scene Unit holds a certification in Forensic Video Analysis which is held by very few people in the country.
Digital Media – The Crime Scene Unit is responsible for maintaining all crime scene photographs taken by any and all members of the police department. This includes maintaining a secure server that houses all of the crime scene photographs.
Latent Print Examination – Latent print examination is the comparison of finger and palm prints collected at the crime scene or off of physical evidence to known suspect’s fingerprints. The use of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System is used to search finger and palm prints when there is no known suspect. This system allows the searching of Florida’s fingerprint database and the FBI’s database. One member of the Crime Scene Unit holds a certification in Latent Print Examination.
All members of the Crime Scene Unit testify in court. They are expected to provide unbiased testimony to their scientific exams of crimes scenes, evidence, video analysis and fingerprint examinations.
The role of the Crime Scene Technician is far from what is often glamorized on television. It is a job that often requires long hours, tedious, and dirty work. The work performed by the Crime Scene Technician is crucial to criminal investigations and must be done as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.