Criminalist

Laboratory Name: 
Medical Examiner-Coroner_Los Angeles County
City: 
Los Angeles
State: 
California
Job Description: 

Essential Job Functions

Performs physical, chemical, and microscopic analyses of evidentiary material (e.g., narcotics, drugs, trace materials, tool marks, body tissues and fluids, etc.) encountered in the course of criminal investigations by utilizing microscopic techniques, comparison macrophotography, chromatography, spectroscopy, and physical analytical and comparison techniques using laboratory instruments (e.g., thermocyclers, genetic analyzers, light and electron microscopes, gas chromatographs, spectrometers, basic laboratory equipment, etc.) to determine the nature and quality of toxic substances in body tissue and fluids of deceased persons for forensic or criminalistics purposes; assists the deputy medical examiner in determining the cause, circumstance, and manner of death (e.g., natural, accident, homicide, suicide, etc.); and complies with Federal and State laws, County ordinances, safety guidelines, and departmental policies.
Identifies, collects, documents, and properly stores physical evidence (e.g., gunshot residue, appliances, ligatures, prescription drugs, narcotics and paraphernalia, trace evidence, sexual assault evidence, etc.) by operating relevant investigative equipment (e.g., digital camera and alternate light source), and maintaining a proper chain of custody (e.g., ensuring that evidence is not contaminated and limiting access to evidence, etc.) to ensure the integrity of the collected evidence and complying with the Federal and State rules regarding evidence collection, safety guidelines, and departmental policies.
Performs scientific forensic investigations at various crime scenes by examining, collecting, documenting, interpreting, and preserving physical evidence (e.g., gunshot residue, appliances, ligatures, prescription drugs, narcotics and paraphernalia, trace evidence, sexual assault evidence, etc.); operating relevant investigative equipment (e.g., digital camera and alternate light source); and maintaining a proper chain of custody (e.g., ensuring that evidence is not contaminated and limiting access to evidence, etc.) to ensure the integrity of the collected evidence, preparing evidence for analysis and evaluation, and complying with the Federal and State rules regarding evidence collection, safety guidelines, and departmental policies.
Prepares a variety of written documents (e.g., technical reports of laboratory analyses and results, displays for court presentations, investigative reports, evidence logs, email correspondence, etc.) by compiling and organizing facts and conclusions, and composing the text in a logical manner using appropriate computer software programs (e.g., word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, etc.) in order to write technical reports of analytical findings and offer expert opinion based on those findings; presents information to appropriate parties (e.g., supervisors, attorneys, investigators, medical staff, etc.) and facilitates accurate and effective communication, reporting, and record keeping within and between the Department, law enforcement agencies, and general public in compliance with Federal and State laws and departmental policies.
Provides expert testimony in judicial proceedings by conveying procedural and/or technical information related to laboratory analyses and criminal investigations, articulating clearly and concisely the facts and conclusions of the case, rendering expert opinions, and responding to challenges with professionalism and clarity in order to accurately represent the findings and conclusions determined by the analysis of the evidentiary material.
Interacts with a variety of individuals (e.g., coworkers, supervisors, law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, other scientific investigatory agencies, etc.) to coordinate findings, seek alternative methods of analysis involving specific case studies, provides support and information on cases, and serve as a point of contact; communicates with various law enforcement agencies with respect to departmental policies, laboratory procedures, and issues in order to represent the Department in a professional manner; and facilitates communication and cooperation between the Department and interested parties.
Maintains current scientific knowledge and practices in the field of forensic sciences (e.g., ASCLD/LAB-ISO requirements and departmental policies and procedures) by attending professional conferences or meetings (e.g., Society of Forensic Toxicologist, American Academy of Forensic Science, California Association of Criminalist, etc.), scientific training sessions, in-service education programs, annual training and proficiency programs, and by reviewing information obtained from Department memoranda, staff meetings, professional publications, etc. to maintain proficiency in the practice of forensic science.
Complies with all applicable health and safety standards and good laboratory practices (e.g., using personal protective equipment and ensuring it is in good working condition, following appropriate blood-borne pathogen practices, handling of chemical and biological materials properly, etc.) by following the applicable guidelines (e.g., CAL-OSHA) and reporting defects or problems so they can be appropriately addressed or repaired in order to maintain a clean, safe, and professional work environment.
Complies with established quality control procedures (e.g., technical and administrate reviews) to ensure proper functioning of laboratory and safety equipment, analytical instruments, reagents, and work areas in compliance with the ASCLD/LAB-ISO guidelines (e.g., technical and administrative reviews), safety guidelines, and departmental policies and procedures.
Conducts research and development into new scientific methods and techniques related to forensic science by researching applicable publications, implementing new industry guidelines, and studying emerging research in the field of forensic science (e.g., new narcotics) to maintain the competencies of the forensic laboratory.

Contact Info
Contact: 
oarteaga@hr.lacounty.gov