Downey Police Department – California

Forensic Specialist

Closes: 05/15/2020


The position is located in the Forensics Unit of the Investigations Division of the Downey Police Department. The mission of the Police Department is to preserve the peace and protect and serve all who live or work in, as well as those who travel through the City, and in doing so, to make a meaningful contribution to the quality of life in the community.

Under general supervision the position conducts criminal investigations in the field utilizing advanced procedures to develop, evaluate and collect items of evidence. The Unit is responsible for searching, collecting and preserving physical and biological evidence.  Among other duties, photograph and video record crime scenes, perform various analytical techniques such as chemical processing and analysis of latent prints, process evidence for DNA collection, examine computers and other digital media, and Forensic video and audio reconstruction.
List established from this recruitment may be used to meet other full and temporary/part-time vacancies as needed. 
Temporary/Part-Time Appointments: Temporary/Part-time appointments do not qualify for City benefits, except for those required by law. The City does not belong to the Social Security system; however, enrollment in an alternative retirement program is mandatory which requires an employee contribution of 7.5% of base earnings. The City contributes 2.5% and the employee contributes 5% of base earnings. There are no rights to employment and employment may end with or without cause or advance notice.
Part-Time shifts may not exceed 999 hours on a fiscal year basis (July 1 through June 30).

Certain City operational budgets may not include funding for mandated CalPERS employer contributions; therefore, a qualified candidate who is a current member of CalPERS may be restricted from temporary/part-time employment.

The following examples are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by persons assigned to each classification.  Depending on assignment, duties may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Respond to crime scenes to search for evidence such as fingerprints, footprints and other physical and trace evidence.
  • Take photographs and video record crime scenes, traffic collisions, suspects, and/or evidence.
  • Take physical measurements and prepare diagrams for criminal and non-criminal cases.
  • Compare and identify fingerprints and palm prints.
  • Prepare exhibits and testify in court as to fingerprint/palm comparisons and evidence collection.
  • Search the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to identify latent prints.
  • Operate cameras, video and audio equipment, computers, and other specialized devices for identification and crime report purposes and for miscellaneous public relations and training purposes.
  • Utilize audio/video enhancement equipment in criminal investigations.
  • Collect and preserve evidence for use in criminal cases.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the knowledge, skills and abilities would be:

Education: High school graduate or equivalent.

Experience: Twelve (12) months of full-time work experience as a Forensic Specialist with the duties (but not limited to) crime scene investigations, crime scene photography, evidence collection, latent print comparisons, latent print development, and court testimony.


Twelve (12) months of full-time work experience in latent print comparison or ten (10) finger inputting into the AFIS system or fingerprint classification.


The completion of a recognized forensic identification program affiliated with a two (2) or four (4) year college curriculum with emphasis in, but not limited to, crime scene investigations, crime scene photography, evidence collection, latent print comparisons, and latent print development. 

Experience in the collecting and analyzing of digital evidence from computers and cellular telephones is desirable

Knowledge of: Police identification techniques and procedures; photography; fingerprinting; fingerprint comparisons and crime scene investigation; use of audio/video enhancement equipment; and, how to file evidence and confiscate property; identification techniques and procedures in latent print comparison or ten (10) finger inputting into the AFIS system or fingerprint classification techniques used to obtain fingerprints from live persons, dead bodies and bodies in advanced state of decomposition; methods and techniques in the operation of film and digital photographic equipment and development of photographs for criminal identification and investigation; modern fingerprint classification systems currently in use in law enforcement; fingerprint pattern recognition; rules of evidence and requirements for chain of custody; basic safety precautions for biohazards and chemical usage; methods and techniques of collecting gunshot residue; use of various specialized equipment for evidence collection and analysis; and digital forensics programs.

Ability to: Communicate effectively, orally and in writing; follow both oral and written instructions; work with minimum supervision; prepare related technical material; work accurately and quickly; and, maintain effective and cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the performance of duties; operate varied film and digital photographic equipment, develop prints and enlarge photographs; use vacuum sweeping techniques in searching for trace evidence; testify authoritatively in court on the collection, preservation and maintenance of evidence; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; maintain the confidentiality of privileged information; establish and maintain effective working relationships with department and City officials, sworn officers, attorneys, other governmental agencies, the public and others encountered in the course of work.

License: Due to the performance of field duties, a valid California Class C Driver’s License and acceptable driving record at time of appointment and throughout employment is required.ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Pull Notice System: An incumbent appointed to this position is subject to enrollment in the California DMV Pull Notice Program. The Pull Notice program provides information on the incumbent’s driving record and Driver’s License status on a periodic basis to the City of Downey. An employee assigned a City vehicle must acknowledge receipt and understanding of City Administrative Regulations covering the use of City vehicles.

Physical Tasks and Environmental Conditions: Work is performed indoors and outdoors in a variety of locations to include on-site work at incidents, in a vehicle and in the Police Department. When working outdoors, may be exposed to the elements; may work under damp conditions, in confined spaces; may work on slippery and uneven surfaces; crouch, sit, stand, walk, bend, kneel, pull, reach, push, twist; may be exposed to dust, chemicals, solvents, paint, grease/oil, fumes, electrical and mechanical hazards, vehicular traffic, vibration and noise; meet the physical requirements of the class and have mobility, vision, hearing, dexterity and use of both hands and legs appropriate to the duties to be performed; the ability to lift up to 25 pounds as required.