Like on the TV? CSI? Do you see dead bodies? Do you go to murders?
Some common questions I'm asked when I speak to people about my job or even when I'm attending a not so violent scene.
My favourite one was:
"Ethel (can you tell I made that name up?) the guy from Forensics is here, you know, like off the TV, that program, VIS"
VIS? What is VIS?! Just smile and nod CSI guy.
I didn't grow up wanting to be a CSI. I thought of a career within the Police and worked a number of paid and voluntary roles within a Constabulary before I decided it was what I wanted to do.
I love my job. I get up at 0500am when I'm on earlies and I don't moan one bit (well, a little) It doesn't feel like I'm going to work! I'm sure in time, that may change, but I hope not.
In the time I have been with my current force, I have seen some gruesome things. The deceased male in the bath (see post) was one of them. I'd seen a deceased person before, when I worked for another force, but not as a CSI. If a week goes by without attending a scene where there isn't a deceased person, then it feels odd.
I've seen a lot of deceased people who have commited suicide. I've also seen deceased people who've been murdered. The strangest ones to attend are when someone has passed away without incident, without being involved in a fight or taking their own lives. We go to some incidents where people have passed away and the circumstances are unclear. Normally we'd attend to take photographs and confirm there had been no foul play. The photographs are taken on behalf of the coroner.
Friends and family ask me how I go to jobs and I don't get upset. It's not because I have no heart or I'm cold and have no feelings. I'm able to do it because I know that I have a job to do and I do it as professionally as possible. I think that if I'm one of the last to see that person before they are buried or cremated then I will do my best to ensure they are dealt with, with dignity and respect.
A lot of people say they couldn't do it.
I go home at the end of the day to my better half and I do normal things like everyone else. I might tell her I've had a stressful day so she makes the dinner though!
I enjoy going to any scene, but I enjoy going to major scenes more. I get a little buzz knowing that I'm one of only a few people that will attend that scene and will be able to help decipher what has happened and ultimately identify offenders.
As a CSI you should also expect some periods of inactivity. There is a lot of paperwork involved. You have to be meticulous in everything that you do. You have to be prepared to go to court and explain your actions and evidence to a Jury, some months later in some cases.
Depending where you are based in the Country will depend on the type of jobs and how often you attend those jobs. It's easy to make assumptions as to what incidents occur in what areas, but all sorts of crimes happen where you'd least expect it.
The benefit of my force, and it's the same in most others, is that a number of CSI's work from the same office. This means that everyone you see on a day to day basis goes through exactly the same as you do. Undoubtedly they've been to a scene before similar to the one you've just returned from. It's helpful to others to talk about what you experienced at a scene and what your thoughts were.
I'll be going on call as of July. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be sure to blog about my first call out.