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Author Topic: DNA analyst to firearms examiner?  (Read 18054 times)

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DNA analyst to firearms examiner?
« on: June 30, 2007, 01:02:28 PM »
I am currently a Crim II DNA analyst, and have also spent time as an intern in the firearms section before I even graduated college. When I graduated college, it was hard to decide on whether to move into DNA or Firearms.  I am looking into relocating to a different state and possibly move into firearms.  I am aware that most agencies prefer an experienced examiner that can be thrown into casework after a competency test etc.  Are any agencies willing to train a DNA analyst to become a firearms examiner or would I be put into the same boat as a new college grad?  Thanks for any feedback.

Offline Richard Hitchcox

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Re: DNA analyst to firearms examiner?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2007, 01:31:39 PM »
You would start all over again with Texas DPS. 

That also applies to current Texas DPS employees who desire to change forensic disciplines.  If one were a Forensic Scientist III DNA Analyst who desired to become a Firearm Examiner and was not already trained as such, one would start out as a Forensic Scientist I (entry level), and one would progress up from there based upon one's experience as a Firearm Examiner.

The only exception that I am aware of is when management desires that a person be trained in more than one forensic discipline.  We had an example of that in McAllen when a Drug Analyst was cross-trained as a Trace Analyst, because management knew that a Trace Analyst would be leaving.  This was not done because the analyst requested it.  It was initiated by management after asking the person if they would be willing to cross-train.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2007, 03:51:30 PM by Richard Hitchcox »
1911 is faster than 911 ~ anonymous

Offline L. M. Kogler

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Re: DNA analyst to firearms examiner?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 03:40:10 PM »
Hmmmm, I think it's going to depend a lot on the agency and their needs.

If you're relocating to a different state & lab and want to go into Firearms exclusively, you're only going to be eligible for the entry level positions (i.e. positions that require no firearms examiner experience). You would be competing with the college grads, but at least you have lab experience and hopefully some courtroom testimony by now, so I'd like to think you'd have a bit of an edge.

The other possibilty would be to find an opening in a lab that would do cross-training, as Richard mentioned -- perhaps a small lab that could use both a DNA analyst and a firearms examiner trainee -- if you're still willing to devote a significant portion of your work hours to DNA for the foreseeable future. As labs become larger and more specialized, a position like this will probably be increasingly hard to come by, but there still may be something out there... somewhere....

If anything opens up like that at my little lab, I'll let you know!  O0
L. M. Kogler

Offline Michelle Dilbeck

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Re: DNA analyst to firearms examiner?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 12:39:32 PM »
You wouldn't have to start over here.  We have one Crim III training in fireams right now.  Keep an eye our county site, for openings.  We had some recent movement which should lead to openings.  Of course, with your quals, you will most likely wind up in DNA since they just lost a person.  But the best thing about here, you're not stuck in DNA.  We try to keep the generalist attitude here.
Alameda County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory


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