The Identification Technicians are the front-line troops of the Crime Scene Unit. Virtually every piece of physical evidence from every major crime is identified, collected, documented, preserved, packaged and booked into the Property and Evidence Unit by an Identification Technician. But this is not all they do. Every Identification Technician receives hundreds of hours of specialized training in crime scene investigation, latent fingerprint comparison, footwear and tire impression comparison, serial number restoration, crime scene photography, and crime scene reconstruction.
Nine ID Technicians staff the Crime Scene Unit, working three shifts to provide around-the-clock crime scene response for the entire office. A Senior Identification Technician supervises them. In addition to field calls, the ID Technicians provide expert services in the following areas:
- Latent fingerprint processing and examination (including entering fingerprints into the Cal ID automated fingerprint identification system),
- The restoration of obliterated serial numbers on firearms and other serial number-bearing devices such as stereos, televisions, and appliances,
- Photography and physical evidence collection at post-mortem examinations,
- Examination and identification of shoe and tire tracks collected from crime scenes,
- Processing, packaging and preserving fragile or easily destroyed evidence such as biological materials destined for examination by the DNA/Serology Unit,
- Separation and packaging of expended bullets and cartridge casings collected from shooting scenes, readying them for examination by the Firearms/Toolmarks Unit, and
- Lifting latent fingerprints from narcotics packaging prior to analysis by the Narcotics Analysis Unit.
A specialized unit within the Crime Scene Unit is the Video and Electronic Services unit, which provides a host of services, including crime scene videography, video surveillance, the production of training tapes, and public service videography for office staff.
In addition to providing the services described, members of the Crime Scene Unit are always ready to respond instantly to homicides and other major crimes at the request of detectives from the Persons Crimes Unit. They also respond to requests for crime scene investigation assistance from other police agencies in Fresno County.
All these tasks are performed at professional levels that qualify the Identification Technicians as expert witnesses in court. It seems almost impossible to do with only nine technicians.