Medicine Magazine

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

Posted on the 28 July 2011 by Dplylemd

I visited the Eugene Police Department’s crime lab where the lead criminologist gave me a two-hour crash course in processing evidence. Many of the chemical references didn’t stick with me, but what I learned is that real-life evidence technicians (versus the CSI kind) spend most of their time processing latent fingerprints and watching/editing surveillance videos. Both are tedious pursuits that require attention to detail and patience, but what they produce is the critical evidence that leads to criminal convictions.

Here are the photo highlights of my visit.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

This is a downdraft table where technicians use various colors of powder to process fingerprints. The downdraft sucks up the excess powder, which would otherwise go everywhere.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

Technicians don’t really use superglue, only one of its chemical components: cyanoacetate, which mixes with steam to form a coating all over an object. The coating reveals latent fingerprints when it hardens.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

The lab refrigerator holds many things, including entomology evidence. Evidence technicians grow and kill flies at various stages to establish time of death for bodies that aren’t found in a timely manner.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

The large bay where technicians process cars, ATM machines, and other big items looks a lot like a homeowner’s garage, including a little blue kiddie swimming pool.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

No lab is complete without a shower. Many of the chemicals technicians use are dangerous, and they must have access to an immediate way to rinse of their clothes or bodies.

Guest Blogger: LJ Sellers: A Visit to the Crime Lab

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, and Dying for Justice. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and Spinetingler magazines, and the series is on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has two standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.


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