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City of Torrance
Class Code: 7408

Class Designation: Civil Service

October 2009

Representation Unit: Torrance Professional &
Supervisory Association 


Forensic Identification Specialist


Under direction, performs field and laboratory analysis for processing and comparing fingerprints, and processing crime scenes; and performs related work as required. 

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is the entry level class within the forensic series. Working under supervision, this class is distinguished from the Senior Forensic Identification Specialist by the performance of the more routine or less complex tasks and duties assigned to positions within this series. Gathering, preserving, interpreting and presenting crime scene evidence or processing evidence in the lab is done under direction of a supervisor or Senior Forensic Identification Specialist.
Supervision Exercised/Received
Receives direction from the Forensics Supervisor or Police Lieutenant.  Receives technical direction from Senior Forensic Identification Specialists.

Examples Of Essential Duties

The following duties represent the principle job duties however; they are not all-inclusive.
  • Processes crime scenes requiring specialized techniques in recognizing, searching, collecting, and preserving all types of friction skin evidence, including partial distorted latent prints, and physical evidence;
  • Develops, collects, and preserves latent fingerprints by dusting, and applying various chemical processes and utilizing alternative light source technology;
  • Prepares, enters, and compares latent fingerprints in the automated system currently in use by the Police Department;
  • Makes casts and impressions, including tool marks, tire tracks, and shoeprints at crime scenes;
  • Takes still and video photographs and/or recordings of crime scenes, victims and injuries, suspects, and traffic accidents;
  • Processes photos and maintains files and indexes of photographs, recordings, and records;
  • Appears in court to testify as an expert witness on comparisons of partial and distorted friction skin evidence and processing of crime scenes;
  • Takes physical measurements and prepares diagrams of crime scenes and traffic accidents;
  • Prepares crime and other original reports;
  • Prepares court exhibits;
  • Performs detailed comparisons of partial and distorted friction skin evidence to known friction skin exemplars.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:
  • Participates in training of staff and outside agency personnel;
  • Participates in case related research projects and evaluates new procedures;
  • Attends division and department meetings as required;
  • Serves on various committees as appropriate;
  • Performs related duties as required.
  • Minimum Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of
  • Federal, State and local laws regulating the collection and preservation of evidence;
  • Specialized techniques in processing and documentation of crime scenes;
  • Recognition, search techniques, collection, and documentation of latent prints from physical evidence;
  • Automated systems and chemical methods used to identify and compare latent fingerprints to partial and distorted friction skin evidence as well as known friction skin exemplars;
  • Modern photographic equipment and photography techniques;
  • Methods of preserving evidence at crime scenes;
  • Methods used to make cast impressions of tire tracks, shoeprints, and other physical evidence;
  • City ordinances and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations;
  • General City operations.
  • Ability to
  • Interpret and apply Federal, State and local laws, rules and regulations regulating the collection and preservation of evidence;
  • Take and process effective and useful crime scene photos;
  • Lift and classify latent fingerprints according to established systems and procedures;
  • Operate digital, film and video equipment in the gathering and presentation of evidence;
  • Accurately and confidently give courtroom testimony regarding the collection of crime scene evidence;
  • Prepare and present thorough and accurate crime scene reports;
  • Research case projects and evaluate new forensic techniques and procedures;
  • Work any shift including evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays;
  • Work with minimum supervision;
  • Work in a team environment and provide specialized knowledge and advice to investigators;
  • Communicate effectively with a wide variety of individuals;
  • Make effective oral presentations and conduct training sessions;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with City staff, other agencies, elected officials, community representatives, public and volunteers;
  • Plan, organize and ensure the completion of work assignments in a timely manner;
  • Learn the processes necessary to accurately reconstruct a crime scene for use during courtroom testimony;
  • Learn the skills necessary to present expert testimony.
  • License/Certification Required 

    Must possess a valid State of California driver's license of the appropriate class.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that would have provided the knowledge and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way to obtaining the necessary knowledge and abilities is:
    Graduation from college with an Associate's degree in forensic science, administration of justice, police science, or a related field or one year of paid experience in law enforcement identification work; including investigative photography, fingerprint identification, collection, development, and preservation of physical evidence or the equivalent at an accredited forensic laboratory, or law enforcement agency, participating in site investigations and laboratory analysis.

    Special Requirements 

    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes he following physical demands and/or working conditions.
    Work is performed in an office, laboratory, and in outside weather conditions, with exposure to hazardous conditions. In the event of an emergency, may on occasion be exposed to blood and other body fluids and adverse conditions for an extended period of time. Incumbents must be able to complete the collection of crime scene evidence which includes activities involving climbing stairs and ladders, bending, lifting, crawling into small/confined spaces, working with chemicals in the processing of photographs and evidence, and tolerating adverse conditions such as fingerprinting and photographing deceased victims.
    May be required to travel to a variety of off-site locations and available to respond during off duty hours. 
    Career Ladder Information
    Experience gained in this classification may serve to meet the qualification guidelines for promotion to Senior Forensic Identification Specialist.