Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fact or Crap: Forensicz For Realz

**HUGE DISCLAIMER: I have yet to obtain any degree in Forensics, I'm only a student but I love learning about the subject and know a good amount**

Do you ever watch a show like CSI and think "are they for realz?" Yeah, well I hate to break it to you but I'm gonna have to say ITS HOLLYWOOD.

1. CSI investigates the cases: MAJOR CRAPOLA. CSI or Crime Scene Investigation is to collect the evidence and then bring it to the lab. They don't interrogate people! They just bag and tag everything!! CSI doesn't come knocking on your door with a search warrant, the cops do! (Well they do but its the cops who issue it...but you get it! A forensics tech isn't going to be wielding a weapon!)

2. AFIS? If your an avid NCIS fan like I am (by the way, that is the must accurate show, the actress who plays Abby does hold a MS in Forensics) you hear "AFIS" thrown around. AFIS stands for Automated Fingerprint Identification System which is a legitimate system created by the FBI which has fingerprints on record from criminals, government personnel, those in the armed forces, etc. The average person (who doesn't have a record) will probably not be in AFIS!

3. Labs are a one person operation: FALSE! Forensics labs contain many individuals who all have their own specialty, for the most part. Its not a one person job! It takes A LOT of time and patience to get results. Like lets say you find a glass chip on the scene, you don't just simply look for it in a database, you need to get all the specs. Everything is a long and delicate process.

4. Forensics degrees are available on the Interwebz so it must be easy to get! NO WAY! You're basically Pre-Med when you're a forensics major (I'm a minor). You need multiple chemistry, biology, organic chemistry and physics requirements. And calculus courses.

5. There are super awesome machines called Gas Chromatographs and Mass Spectrometers. TRUE! GC or gas chromatographs are frequently used in the lab and are an important piece. They are used to seperate chemicals which as one can assume, is very helpful when given an unknown substance. (I'm sparing ya the specs! Cause its damn confusing!)

6. As soon as CSI arrives on the scene, its time to collect all evidence! Collecting the actual evidence is actually one of the last steps. First you must secure the area. After which you must draw and sketch out the area and then take pictures of the area from EVERY SINGLE ANGLE. And before you touch the evidence? Gotta take a pic! Photos are crucial to referencing where the evidence came from and in what physical state. Once all this is done then you can bag the evidence and properly label everything. Also the initial sketches are redone to be more precise and to scale.

7. Labs love PCs: TRUE! Sorry Macs don't make the cut for forensics labs. PCs are the computer of choice!

That is all I can think of! Any questions? Let me know!!

♥ Chelsea

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