For adopting any profession, having the right skill set and the right educational qualification are two of the most important factors. This also applies to the profession of Crime Scene Investigation. This criterion for becoming an investigator is in terms of both knowledge and skills. Some of the skills needed are natural and can be improved with practice and experience, while there are others that can be acquired by acquiring some knowledge, theoretical or practical in the form of training.
Sometimes in criminal cases, only incidental evidence is available while everything else is a haze. In times like these, it is the intuition of the Crime Scene Investigator that kicks in. This is the natural instinct of a person with strong attention to detail and intuition. The ability to notice small details is one of the most important determinants in how good a Crime Scene Investigator someone can be. Another role that fine attention to small details plays is that it helps in connecting the pieces and enables the investigator to look at the big picture, the way the small details form this picture.
There is the debate of whether the qualities and abilities that make a great detective can be taught or one is born and raised with them. There is the factor that a person born and raised with good perception, observation and intuition can be a better investigator than one who practices these qualities upon becoming an investigator. Good memory is another quality essential in anyone who aspired to be part of a CSI Crime Scene Investigation team. All these are the most basic abilities and characteristics needed for being a good investigator.
In terms of professional skills and abilities, being able to use firearms is an essential for going into Crime Scene Investigation. This is a requirement on part of the department and necessary to be fulfilled. Having skills in the area of analyzing ballistics and explosives is another one of the skills required in investigators. These come in handy when analyzing gunshot wounds. Other than these law enforcement skills, an investigator also needs to be physically fit and have a routine to keep in the best shape.
Effective and clear communication is another important skill necessary for an investigator. This is required because investigators need to communicate very frequently with the family of the victims and also with any witnesses. In dealing with the family of the victim, the investigator has to draw a perfect line between not being personally involved and not showing coldness or indifference, but being compassionate and understanding while remaining detached. In addition, sometimes, investigators also have to Liaison between departments or between external experts and the law enforcement department. Other than the oral communication skills, written communication skills should also be very good, as investigators are required to formulate all kinds of reports as part of their investigation.
Rationality and logic are other skills that are considered assets in investigators. This is important because wiring reports is a main part of their job. In these reports, they are required to give scientific observation. This means no analysis, personal opinion, assumptions or conclusions, but pure facts related to the crime scene and the victim and the evidence. For these reasons, rational thinking and logic are important. Rational thinking in investigators is necessary also because they should not get emotionally or personally attached to a case or a situation related to the case.
Patience is another valuable virtue and skill for an investigator to possess. This is because resolving cases takes time. Patience is especially important in team leaders. This is because their entire team depends on them and their attitude.
Those people who are good at photography and also have an interest in criminal investigations and police work can always become Crime Scene Photographers. They are also investigators, but the focus of their job is on the responsibility of photographing the crime scene. While the photographer needs education in criminology or forensics, having photography skills is very important for the right kind of pictures to be taken from the right angles. Knowing how to operate the camera efficiently and right use of lens and lighting is important. These are the kind of skills that investigators get to learn at the university if taking a photography course, or in the police academy. Skills gained from practical knowledge and training is also important for investigators to have. These include, especially the skills and knowledge related to biology, forensics, and chemistry.
For Crime Scene Technicians, other than having the scientific skills, it is also required that they should be good at recordkeeping, as they are the ones who have to collect and manage the evidence from the crime scene. They should have some accounting skills because paperwork and filing in forms for cases and evidence is one of the biggest parts of their job. There is a lot of cataloging and recordkeeping involved in criminal investigation and it is the investigator who forms all these reports and does the cataloging when collecting evidence at crime scene.
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