Crime Scene Unit
The Crime Scene Unit (CSU) is a detail in the San jose PD Homicide Unit. CSU responds to homicides, officer involved shootings, in custody deaths, child deaths, suspicious deaths, and high profile violent crimes. CSU is responsible for documenting crime scenes; identifying, collecting, and preserving evidence. SJPD CSU also assists other units at San Jose PD with evidence processing, training and providing evidence collection samples.
Crime scene investigations g far beyond the scene of a crime. SJPD CSU works closely with the Santa Clara County Crime Lab, SJPD Central Identification, and the Santa Clara County Coroners Office. These entities are essential in the collection, identification, and scientific analysis of evidence.
Every crime scene is different. Some scenes involve the use of specialized areas of forensic science including; forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic psychology, or forensic odontology to name a few.
Each investigator in CSU has cold cases assigned to them. The investigators examine these cases and use the latest available forensic science techniques to examine the evidence on these cases. Cold case reviews have led to multiple cases being solved in the last year and several more developing extremely promising leads.
Evidence can be categorized as conclusive, circumstantial, or exclusionary. Physical evidence is any item that can be used to ascertain what in fact occurred, will assist in determining the truth about a fact in question, or anything which may indicate a crime was committed or connect a person to a crime. It can take the form of ballistics, fingerprints, writings, tool marks, DNA, photography, or unknown substances.
Crime scene investigation and forensic science have been enhanced with the development of new technologies. Numerous databases now exist to compare evidence from scenes with known persons and weapons. The CODIS databases, compare balistic evidence from scenes to known weapons. AFIS databases compare fingerprints from scenes to known persons.
Several area schools provide educational opportunities in the area of forensic science. At the High school level the CCOC has a forensic science program. At the college level San Jose State University also has a forensic science program. Career opportunities in the crime scene field are available but highly competitive. visit the following links for more information on education and employment in the area of forensics and crime scene investigation.