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City of Torrance
Class Code: 7409

Class Designation: Civil Service

March 2010

Representation Unit: Torrance Professional & Supervisory Assoc. 


Forensic Supervisor


Under direction, plans, directs and supervises the operations of Forensics section of the Police Department; performs the full range of complex and technical crime scene investigation duties to include testifying as an expert witness in the presentation of courtroom evidence; and performs related work as required.
Distinguishing Characteristics
Distinguished from the Police Sergeant or Police Lieutenant in that the incumbent is non-sworn and are primarily responsible for oversight of the Forensics section of the Department.  Distinguished from the Senior Forensic Identification Specialist in that the incumbent has primary responsibility for the oversight of the Forensics section of the Department. Incumbents are fully qualified technical specialists who are primarily responsible for supervising the field and laboratory activities of employees in the section, but do assist employees in complex or difficult work.  Incumbents perform a full range of complex tasks and work under direction within a framework of established procedures.  Work is judged primarily on overall results with latitude in determining work methods and assignment requirements. Work may require the development of recommendations consistent with directives, policies and regulations.

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives direction from a Police Lieutenant or Police Captain.  Provides direction to Senior Forensic Identification Specialists and Forensic Identification Specialists.

Examples Of Essential Duties 

The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive.
  • Organizes, plans, and oversees the day-to-day operations of an assigned section;
  • Supervises staff; including instructing, assigning, planning and reviewing work, evaluating work performance and completing performance evaluations, coordinating activities, maintaining standards, allocating personnel, acting on employee problems, selecting new employees, implementing employee discipline, providing training, advice and assistance as needed;
  • Assists with functions performed by line staff as necessary to maintain adequate service levels;
  • Participates in the development of related goals, objectives, policies, and procedures;
  • Implements and maintains operational procedures consistent with established practices and Government/Penal Code requirements;
  • Develops and implements training programs for assigned personnel and oversees training of new staff;
  • Institutes procedures to ensure accuracy; modifies or recommends modifications to systems or processes to improve accuracy and efficiency;
  • Monitors and participates in the lifting, identifying and preserving of fingerprints, the collection of physical evidence utilizing a variety of technical and chemical processes, and the rolling, classifying and comparing of fingerprints;
  • Oversees the classification of fingerprint data using the CAL ID System and other automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS);
  • Organizes and facilitates the input and retrieval of latent fingerprints in the CAL ID and other AFIS's for the City and participating jurisdictions;
  • Prepares written reports related to the Forensic Section;
  • Serves as the liaison between the Police Department and other law enforcement and judicial agencies as it relates to forensic identification;
  • Monitors the use and purchase of supplies;
  • Prepares budget requests and recommendations;
  • Keeps abreast of and evaluates the latest advancements in the field of forensic operations;
  • Presents results of forensic investigations of criminal cases in court, when required;
  • Operates and maintains computer graphic software, forensic databases and specialized digital imaging equipment;
  • Designs, develops, and coordinates training programs related to crime scene investigation and evidence preparation;
  • Participates in complex investigations and assists subordinates in specialized or difficult work;
  • Processes the most complex 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;
  • Prepares court exhibits and testifies in court regarding findings.
  • 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.
  • May serve as field supervisor at scenes of major crime investigations and evidence gathering;
  • Participates in case related research projects and evaluates new procedures;
  • Attends division and department meetings as required;
  • Serves on various committees as appropriate;
  • Performs other related duties.
  • Qualification Guidelines 

    Knowledge of
  • Principles of supervision, training and employee relations;
  • Municipal codes, police policy and procedures, penal code, vehicles codes, health and safety codes and business and professional code;
  • Basic English, grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and arithmetic;
  • Report writing techniques;
  • Effective interviewing techniques;
  • Effective safety principals and practices;
  • Federal, State and local laws regulating the collection and preservation of evidence;
  • Crime scene and laboratory unit including recognition, collection, preservation and interpretation of all types of evidence;
  • Processes used to classify latent prints and methods used for automated search and retrieval;
  • Type and content of testimony which constitutes being an expert witness;
  • 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
  • Supervise the work of subordinate staff including coordinating, assigning, monitoring and evaluating work as well as training, counseling, disciplining staff and handling grievances;
  • Inspire confidence in subordinate personnel and new employees in training;
  • Promote cooperative team work and customer service values among employees;
  • Deal constructively with conflict and develop effective resolutions;
  • Quickly assess a situation and take appropriate action under stressful and emergency conditions;
  • Manage multiple tasks, as well as determine priorities and adjust work schedule accordingly;
  • Act independently, exercise sound judgment within established guidelines and maintain confidentiality;
  • Interpret and apply Federal, State and local laws, rules and regulations regulating the collection and preservation of evidence;
  • Independently and accurately conduct crime scene investigations;
  • Effectively use such photographic techniques as macro, micro, infrared, ultraviolet and alternate light source (laser) to record or visualize physical or trace evidence;
  • Use the automated system currently in use by the Police Department to process and interpret latent prints;
  • Collect, photograph, preserve, classify and identify fingerprints, palm prints and other types of body prints;
  • Collect, photograph, preserve, identify and perform basic analysis of bloodstains and other types of physical evidence;
  • Prepare accurate, concise and thorough written crime scene reports;
  • 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 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.
  • License and Certification 

    Must possess a valid State of California driver's license of the appropriate class.
    Education and Experience 
    Any combination of education and experience that provides the required knowledge and skills is qualifying.  A typical way of obtaining the necessary knowledge and abilities is:
    Graduation from an accredited college with a Bachelor's degree in criminalistics, police science, or a related field and; three years paid experience as a Forensic Identification Specialist or the equivalent at an accredited forensic laboratory, or law enforcement agency, participating in site investigations and laboratory analysis including two years working in a lead or supervisory capacity. Experience may be substituted for the required education on a year-for-year basis to a maximum of four years experience.
    Special Requirements
    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the 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. 
    May be required to travel to a variety of off-site locations and be available to respond during off duty hours.