Forensic Career Opportunities
Work at the Crime Lab
The Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory requires a bachelor’s degree in a science for all areas of forensic analysis. Additionally, DNA analyst applicants must have completed coursework in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and statistics. Applicants will undergo an interview, fingerprinting, background investigation, and polygraph test before hire. This process can take several months to complete. Persons interested in applying should submit a cover letter and resume/CV as well as fill out a job application through Human Resources. Click to learn more information about KCPD’s professional staff hiring process.
Get a Career in Forensic Science
The KCPD Crime Laboratory often receives inquiries about employment opportunities in the field of forensics. If you have such an interest, here is some introductory information about the field as well as some pointers to locations with further information.
“Forensic science” is a broad term referring to nearly any application of scientific techniques to resolving an issue which might result in litigation (either criminal or civil). Several terms are used to refer to staff in this field, including forensic scientists, examiners, forensic specialists, or criminalists.
|Crime Scene Investigation
|Process crime scenes for potential evidence,
document and collect any evidence found at scene.
|Chemical analysis of substances
|Chemical, physical and microscopic characterization
and comparison of materials
|Typifying serological fluids or other biological materials
|chemistry or biochemistry;
molecular biology preferred for DNA
|Identification and testing of firearms and their projectiles
|Processing for revealing and collecting fingerprints
and other patterns from objects
Duties and Responsibilities
In some laboratories, criminalists may be expected to be generalists that perform actual examinations across a broad range of disciplines. The KCPD laboratory tends to categorize criminalists so they concentrate on performing actual examinations within a limited number of these specialties; for example, a forensic chemist may not be expected to perform a detailed toolmark comparison. Even if they are not expected to conduct the actual examination, all criminalists are expected to have familiarity with all specialties in terms of the significance of evidence and how it should be processed and preserved, both within the laboratory and at crime scenes.
Criminalists may be asked to respond to crime scenes to help interpret evidence at the scene and advise on processing or perform specialized processing. However, crime scene technicians specialize in evidence collection and usually handle all but exceptional samples.
Criminalists should also be able to produce detailed reports suitable for submission to investigators and legal representatives, and they should be able to evaluate and interpret real and hypothetical situations and defend them under cross-examination. The ability to support any conclusions in the face of adversarial debate (including investigators, the media, litigators, or their peers) should be the benchmark of any criminalist.
If you’re looking for some hard examples of the knowledge required, the American Board of Criminalistics has an online study guide for their general knowledge examination that includes several working references.
Also be aware that many forensic laboratories are associated with law enforcement agencies, and as such, in addition to your professional credentials there will likely be security and veracity concerns. Security checks such as a background investigation (which may include a polygraph examination) or job-related drug screening may be part of their hiring process and a condition for ongoing employment. You may wish to consider whether you would find such monitoring intrusive.
Below are links to other forensic science organizations that could be helpful:
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
The International Association for Identification
The American Board of Criminalistics
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors – Laboratory Accreditation Board
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission
There is a continuing need for good, conscientious people to enter the field of forensics. The staff of the KCPD Crime Lab hope the above information will assist in both your decision and, if you wish to pursue it, in finding a path to your desired specialty.
Volunteer at the Crime Lab
The Kansas City Police Department accepts auxiliary volunteers to help in many areas of the department. Volunteer positions are unpaid and can incorporate as many hours as the volunteer desires. Volunteers at the Crime Laboratory could involve:
Creating rape kits for hospitals | Filing case information | Assembling training materials | Preparing court-requested discovery files
If you are interested in volunteering at the Crime Laboratory, contact the KCPD Employment Section at 816-234-5400 about how to complete a Volunteer Application Form, making sure to indicate “crime laboratory volunteer” as the position. Previous lab experience is preferred.
College Juniors, Seniors or Graduate students can apply for a competitive summer internship position with the Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory. Intern applications are accepted for the summer beginning January 8th through February 5, 2024.
The following are requirements for the Summer Internship Program with the Kansas City Police Crime Lab:
– Copy of current and past college transcripts (cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher required)
– Two (2) letters of recommendation from professors and/or academic advisors
– Curriculum Vitae
– Short essay on why you should be selected as an intern and what section(s) of the laboratory is desired (Chemistry, Trace, DNA/Biology, Firearms, Digital Evidence, Latent Prints, Crime Scene)
– Items must be submitted via U.S. Mail to: Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory, 2645 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, MO 64127, or sent electronically to Kevin.Winer@kcpd.org.
– Once these are received and reviewed: Fill out an employment application and any additional forms required by Human Resources. Careers@kcpd.org will be able to guide you through these requirements.
Upon completion of these tasks an in person interview will be scheduled. If selected, the HR process will then begin. This process will include a polygraph examination and background investigation.