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City of Reno, NV Criminalist in Reno, Nevada



Class Title


Class Code



$55,764.80 - $78,499.20 Annually

  • Definition

  • Benefits

Classification Description Summary

Under general supervision, responds to crime scenes and performs a broad range of investigative tasks to document the crime scene including taking photographs, recovering and processing evidence, evaluate and process evidence, examine latent fingerprints and performs related duties as assigned in accordance with the Police Department policies and procedures.

Essential Functions

The following duties are typical for this classification. Incumbents may not perform all of the listed duties and/or may be required to perform additional or different duties from those set forth below to address business needs and changing business practices.

Performs detailed investigations in conjunction with law enforcement agencies regarding a wide variety of crime / death scenes for the presence of all types of evidence such as biological fluids (i.e., blood, etc.), DNA, hairs / fibers, control substance, latent prints, gunshot residue (GSR), shoe and tire impressions, firearms / weapons, clothing, etc.

Maintain accurate documentation of observations and actions taken while investigating a crime / death scene.

Photograph crime / death scenes, victims, autopsies, traffic accidents, property damage, stolen property, arson sites, and arrestees, in accordance with prescribed procedures.

Perform forensic photography and videography of victims, suspects crime scenes, items of evidence, latent prints and other items and objects.

Measure location and relational distances of victims, suspects and other individuals, evidence, objects, building, vehicles and other items using manual and automated equipment and prepare diagrammatic material depicting those measurements and locations as found at crime scenes.

Collect and preserve evidence using clean collection techniques.

Maintain the integrity and the chain of custody of all evidence from collection, logging into the computer system, and distribution to the appropriate law enforcement or judicial agency.

Attend autopsies to document, collect and preserve evidence involved in a death investigation.

Examine and process items of evidence, both at crime / death scenes and in the laboratory, for the presence of latent prints. In accordance with prescribed processes, lift and preserve prints for use in comparisons / eliminations.

Develop latent fingerprints with powders, chemicals, or other approved methods, both in the field and in an evidence laboratory, on a variety of objects and surfaces and perform related specialized photography.

Evaluate developed latent prints and compare them to inked prints from known subjects.

Complete measurements, rough sketches and computer aided diagrams of crime / death scenes for investigation and court purposes.

Document findings and compose investigative reports for submission to law enforcement agencies and courts.

Provide other forensic services based on education and training.

Provide expert witness testimony citing involvement in a particular case, observations and information obtained through the course of attending crime / death scenes, autopsies or latent print processing results.

Participate in criminal pre-trial investigations regarding violent and non-violent cases.

May perform other general duties including updating computerized records, filing, maintaining and storing an appropriate inventory of supplies, and maintaining laboratory equipment.

Perform related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.

Knowledge of:

Federal, state and local laws regarding collection and preservation of evidence for use in court and its legal admissibility (i.e., rules of evidence, search and seizure law, etc.)

Reno Police Department policies and procedures.

Advanced techniques of digital forensic photography and videography.

Principles, practices and procedures utilized in the investigation of crime / death scenes, and the collection and preservation of evidence.

Forensic photography techniques and digital imaging procedures.

Techniques of developing latent fingerprints with powders, chemical or other approved methods.

Basic understanding of fingerprint pattern recognition.

Evidence collection, preservation, protection and establishment and control of the chain of custody.

Report writing.

Safe work methods and safety regulations, including the handling of biological and hazardous materials and firearms.

Computer aided diagrams.

Basic practices and procedures of the dispatching of law enforcement, including radio operation and radio etiquette.

Post mortem changes and the variety of traumatic injuries to the human body.

Basic understanding of computer operations and/or word processing programs.

Ability to:

Secure and process evidence.

Provide keen attention to detail and engage in critical thinking and analysis.

Work at locations involving human trauma of all types and degrees of severity and in high stress situations.

Perform crime scene investigation work involving extended hours and physical effort, in inclement weather and at a variety of locations.

Understand and carry out oral and written directions.

Perform a variety of record keeping, filing, indexing, and other general clerical work.

Learn fingerprinting procedures.

Learn police procedures and methods for crime scene investigations.

Learn physical and biological evidence collection, crime scene photography, videography and diagramming.

Learn proper handling and maintenance of safety equipment and chemicals.

Establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees, City departments, governmental agencies, and the general public.

Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.

Provide effective testimony in court.

Prepare records and reports.

Perform related work as required.

As knowledge, skill and abilities develop, exercise independent judgment and work with a minimum of supervision.

May perform other general duties including updating computerized records, filing, maintaining and storing an appropriate inventory of supplies and maintaining laboratory equipment.

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


Completion of sixty (60) units from an accredited college or university with major work in forensic science, criminal justice, chemistry, biology, or a closely related field.


Two years experience performing the full range of duties and responsibilities related to crime scene investigations, evidence processing and evaluation, forensic photography and videography, manual and/or automated crime scene diagramming, and/or latent fingerprint examination, identification and verification.


A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university with major work in forensic science, criminal justice, chemistry, biology, or a closely related field may substitute for one (1) year of experience.

License or Certification:

Possession of an appropriate, valid driver's license.

Possession of, or ability to obtain, valid NCIC certification for inquiry.


Completion of courses in fingerprints, crime scene investigation/reconstruction, crime scene photography, and blood stain pattern examination.

Certified Latent Print Examiner or Certified Bloodstain Pattern Analyst from the International Association for Identification (IAI).

Supplemental Information


The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

Environment: Work is performed in a standard office environment, a laboratory environment, as well as various indoor and outdoor off-site locations.

Physical: The ability to stand on slippery, uneven or unsteady surfaces for an extended period of time. Ability to frequently stand, walk, stoop, crouch, squat, and kneel. Ability to lift and move objects or deceased individuals weighing up to 100 lbs. Visual acuity to distinguish basic colors and shades of colors. Ability to tolerate / work under conditions involving exposure to inclement weather conditions, infectious diseases, insects / parasites (maggots, bed bugs, fleas, etc.), decomposed remains and other strong odors, noise, fumes, gases, smoke, dust, solvents and chemicals, blood and airborne pathogens. Must be willing to accept shift work, on-call assignments, and a non-standard work week. Will be expected to travel outside Washoe County to perform crime / death scene investigations including rural and desert environments. Must complete annual proficiency testing. Selected candidates must provide a DNA sample for elimination purposes.

Respiratory Protective Equipment: Work in this class may require wearing respiratory protective equipment at times. When assigned to such work, facial hair must be shaven when it interferes with the safe fitting of respiratory protective equipment.

Other Requirements

Local 39 Non-Supervisory


JD 11/2020


No state income tax.

Nevada PERS retirement plan. Vesting in 5 years.

No social security participation (1.45 % Medicare deduction required).

City paid medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage for employee. City pays a substantial amount towards dependent coverage.

City paid long term disability insurance and life insurance.

Twelve paid holidays.

Deferred compensation plans 457 and 401(a) available.

Vacation leave accrued at 4 hours per bi-weekly pay period.

Sick leave accrued at 4 hours per bi-weekly pay period.

Credit Union available.


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