600 East Walnut
Columbia, MO 65201-4491
The Forensic Evidence Team provides support services in the form of crime scene processing, fingerprint identification, and forensic imaging to members of the police department, as well as other agencies. The goals and objectives of the Crime Scene Investigator are the collection, preservation, packaging, transportation, and documentation of physical evidence left at the crime scene.
The Forensic Evidence Team is responsible for investigating and evaluating complex crime scenes occurring inside the City of Columbia, including surrounding jurisdictions upon request. As part of their duties investigators utilize forensic equipment which aids in locating and collecting physical evidence for scientific evaluation and comparison. They also prepare detailed reports relating to their observations and activities. In addition, investigators offer testimony in court regarding their findings and processing methods.
The Forensic Evidence Team concept was introduced in 2003 following a series of murders which exhausted crimes scene resources and personnel. The department decided to establish a formal team and the first ten members were chosen in September, 2004.
Becoming a member of the Forensic Evidence team involves a formal selection process. All personnel have at least three years of Columbia Police Department police experience and have demonstrated strong characteristics of initiative, job interest, dedication, high availability for work, and have a low sustained complaint record. Members have demonstrated a strong desire to conduct crime scene investigations during routine activities and are in good physical condition. Member have demonstrated an ability to work well with others and be good team members, as well as being able to handle high stress situations.
If selected for membership, officers are sent to a three week basic crime scene school at the Kansas City Missouri Police Crime Laboratory. Students learn a wide variety of techniques used to locate, collect, and preserve physical evidence. They are also introduced to a variety of advanced technologies, such as laser documentation, utilizing blood enhancing chemicals, alternative light source applications, and advanced photography techniques. Following the basic academy, investigators receive continuing education through in-service training and other training programs. Within two years of assignment, members attend an advanced level crime scene training program. To assist in qualifying investigators as expert witnesses, all members join one professional crime scene organization and attend a minimum of one crime scene investigation seminar per year.
Crime scene investigation is both challenging and rewarding. However, forensic disciplines are constantly advancing, which requires commitment in order to stay current.
The Crime Scene Van, assigned to the investigations division, is equipped with all the necessary equipment to investigate complex scenes. The Forensic Evidence Team Commander directs the usage of the van during day‑to‑day operations. All Forensic Evidence Team members are trained regarding use of the van.
Each member is also assigned, or has available, standard evidence-collection equipment.