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  • Point me in the right direction

    I am one class away from getting my AS in Criminal justice, I plan to get into forensics some how,everyone tells me to start out as an officer but I don't know if I really want to be an officer, Is there any way around it.

  • #2
    Point me in right direction

    A lot depends on the agency you apply to. Quite a few agencies have criminalist. or similiar positions, which do not require certification as an Officer. I would suggest checking with some of your larger city agencies, or possibly the State of Kansas to see what the specifics are.


    • #3
      For what its worth. Unless you are working at a large metropolitan dept. It is my opinion that you will have to start out as a "beat cop" and then transfer into detectives! The experience you would gain as a cop, would help you out dramatically in the detective division.

      Remember CSI is Television!!

      Good Luck!!


      • #4
        Here you have to start as an officer. Which is good because you will get the higher officer pay. If you were to start as a lab tech the pay would be much lower.


        • #5
          In the 80's, everyone wanted to go straight to narcotics because of Miami Vice. With the proliferation of the CSI shows...everyone wants to go right into forensics.

          As with any career, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. The bottom in law enforcement, though it pains me to say it, is patrol. Learn that first, then start to specialize.
          Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

          Ronald Reagan


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sunnie25
            I am one class away from getting my AS in Criminal justice, I plan to get into forensics some how,everyone tells me to start out as an officer but I don't know if I really want to be an officer, Is there any way around it.
            When I was teaching criminal justice ten years ago, everyone wanted to be a profiler, because there was a popular show about profilers. Now everyone wants to be a CSI.

            Here's some basic information: first, the CSI job that you see on TV doesn't exist. Most full-time crime scene technicians aren't cops. They are civilians who collect evidence and process it. In other places, the cops collect the evidence and book it into an evidence locker, where it is later taken to a crime lab when it is appropriate to do so.

            The people that actually analyze the evidence (DNA, microscopic examination, voice analysis, etc.) are almost never cops, and they usually never leave the lab. They are usually people with hard science backgrounds, and if they weren't working in a crime lab, they would be in some other scientific setting. They tend not to have criminal justice degrees. They have degrees (usually graduate degrees) in biology, chemistry, and physics.

            Crime scene people and criminalists (the evidence analysts) never interview suspects, and in most cases they never even see a suspect. The detectives that handle the investigation do the interviews and often make the arrests.

            If you want to be a criminalist, you can certainly prepare for that field, but you will need at least a four-year degree in a scientific field like one of those listed above. Crime labs don't have much use for CJ degrees.

            Many college students seem to think that their degree will allow them to bypass the generic cop career path and move right into being a detective or something equally glamorous. Unless you go to work for an outfit that has only investigators, like the FBI (which won't even look at you without, at a minimum, a four-year degree and specialized skills, like fluency in an Arabic language), you're going to do a substantial amount of time as a patrol grunt, wearing a uniform, answering radio calls, and writing reports. However, many of us here believe that this is a noble calling and well worth the effort.

            If you're sure that you don't want to be an officer, and you don't want to get the additional education needed to be a criminalist, consider a career in private security. Most people think of the security guard in a baggy uniform standing in front of the skating rink when this topic is brought up, but in fact there are some very good careers for security professionals. Most of these have a lot more to do with insuring physical security and crime prevention than making arrests and gathering evidence.

            Good luck.
            Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.


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