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CRIMINALIST II (Latent Print Examiner)

Recruitment #16-BM2-01


THE JOB: Under general supervision, performs duties involved in crime scene investigation and the identification of evidence by performing chemical, physical and microscopic analysis in the laboratory and in the field; interprets the results of the findings; prepares materials for presentation in criminal court; appears in court as an expert witness. Incumbent will specialize in at least one laboratory discipline based on agency needs.

The current opening is for a certified latent print examiner. Major duties include the comparison and evaluation of latent print evidence, latent print processing and crime scene investigation of major cases.

Employment Standards

THE REQUIREMENTS: Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain these would be: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s Degree in forensic science, criminalistics, natural sciences, physical anthropology, computer science, or a closely related field.


Three years of experience performing forensic analysis in Latent Prints, Digital Evidence, Toxicology, Firearms & Toolmarks or Forensic Anthropology or a related field of specialization and crime scene investigation in a local, county, state, and/or federal forensic laboratory or similar setting; a Master’s or PhD degree may be substituted for one year of experience. OR  Three years of experience as a Criminalist I at Santa Cruz County or equivalent.  

For toxicology specialization: college course work must include 24 semester hours of chemistry including organic chemistry and quantitative analysis. Additionally, candidates must meet the criteria for a Forensic Alcohol Analyst as specified under Title 17, California Code of Regulations by the California Department of Health Services at the time of appointment.
For forensic anthropology specialization: an MA or PhD in anthropology with graduate level coursework in human and non-human osteology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, human variation, statistics and dental anthropology is required.
For digital evidence specialization: Active certification through at least one of the following recognized professional associations: Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (ICS2), Certified Computer Examiner (CCE), Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE), Digital Forensics Computer Board, International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, or International Society of Computer Investigation Specialists, or equivalent certification is required.
For latent print specialization:  Latent Print Examiner certification is required.
For Firearms & Toolmarks specialization: Association of Firearms and Toolmarks Examiners (AFTE) certification in at least one of the following: Firearm, Toolmark, or Gunshot, is required.  

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Active certification through the International Association for Identification (IAI) as a crime scene investigator, crime scene analyst, crime scene reconstructionist or senior crime scene analyst is highly desirable. Active certification through the professional association or accrediting agency associate with the assigned forensic discipline, such as: American Board of Toxicology, American Board of Forensic Anthropology, EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE), is highly desirable.  

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS/CONDITIONS: Mentally and physically capable of performing the classification’s essential functions as summarized in the typical tasks section of this job specification with or without reasonable accommodations.  

Physical Ability:  Tasks require the ability to exert up to 100 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 50 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects; typically involving some combination of climbing and balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling; and may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials. Sensory Requirements:  Requires the ability to recognize and identify similarities and differences between shade, degree or value of colors, shapes, sounds, forms, textures or physical appearance associated with job-related objects, materials, tasks or people. Environmental Factors:  Exposure to variable temperatures, confined work spaces and heights; strong unpleasant odors, infectious bio-hazardous materials such as blood, urine and semen which might cause chronic disease or death; dust, pollens, chemical irritants; toxic substances; individuals who may be hostile and abusive; evidence that may be disturbing such as homicide evidence. Hours:  May be required to work flexible hours, shifts, weekends and holidays and be subject to holdover and callback duty; and to provide a telephone number or means by which employee can be reached. License Requirement:  Possession and maintenance of valid Class C California Driver License issued by the California State Department of Motor Vehicles by the time of appointment. Background Investigation:  Ability to pass a full background investigation.  

Knowledge: Working knowledge of subject matter and practices within an area of specialization, such as latent prints, digital evidence, toxicology, firearms & toolmarks, and forensic anthropology; principles of forensic science, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, photography and natural sciences as related to criminalistics; electronic search methods and examination techniques sufficient to access, preserve and extract appropriate evidence from a variety of media; basic laboratory safety procedures; laboratory techniques used for scientific examination of forensic evidence; forensic analysis techniques, laboratory protocols, scientific methodologies and forensic computer examination procedures sufficient to conduct detailed and complex analyses to interpret the value of evidentiary items; collecting and preserving physical evidence and scientific research methods and procedures in the forensic science field; common types of evidence such as: narcotics, toxins, trace evidence, firearms, poisons, explosives, and biological evidence.  Some knowledge of applicable federal, state and local laws, codes, rules, regulations, and statues; recent developments, current literature, and sources of information in the field of criminalistics.

Ability to: Conduct chemical, biological, physical, microscopic, digital, and other comparative laboratory analysis as required; conduct crime scene investigations and collect evidence in the field; relate pieces of evidence to each other and draw logical conclusions; prepare and maintain clear, accurate and concise reports, records, and case statistics/findings; operate personal computers and Laboratory Information Management Systems and related software; follow oral and written technical instructions; perform assigned tasks according to prescribed procedures; meet  timelines and handle multiple and changing priorities, projects, and schedules;  comply with laws, regulations, and professional practices governing law enforcement services and operations; research regulations, procedures and/or technical reference materials; work in a safe and prudent manner; communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing; maintain confidentiality of information; read, understand, and follow departmental policies, rules, instructions, laws and ordinances; establish and maintain good working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, demonstrating tact diplomacy, patience, and compassion; adhere to Sheriff’s Office code of ethic; operate and maintain laboratory instrumentation associated with the assigned forensic discipline, examples include, but are not limited to: spectrophotometers, gas chromatographs, energy dispersive X-Ray, GC-MS, density and refractive index apparatus, various types of microscopes and cameras, and laboratory information systems; analyze, interpret, and present statistical data and outcomes to broad audiences including law enforcement agencies, the courts and other agencies; understand, interpret and explain regulations and policies governing the gathering and preserving of evidence; present evidence clearly and accurately in court when called on as an expert witness;  work under physical and mental pressure and in potentially hazardous situations and environments; and follow highly technical oral and written instructions.


ANNUAL LEAVE– 22 days first year, increasing to 37 days after 15 years. Available after six months for vacation and/or sick leave.
HOLIDAYS – 12.5 paid holidays per year.
BEREAVEMENT LEAVE – 3 days paid in California, 5 days paid out-of-state.
MEDICAL PLAN – The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans. For most plans, County contributions pay a majority of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents.
DENTAL PLAN – County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.
VISION PLAN – County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.
RETIREMENT – Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013(PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years. County pays a portion of retirement contribution and participates in Social Security.
LIFE INSURANCE – County paid $20,000 term policy. Employee may purchase additional life insurance.
SDI – Employees in the General Representation Unit participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. This program is funded 100% by employee payroll deductions.
DEPENDENT-CARE PLAN – Employees who make contributions for child or dependent care may elect to have their contributions made utilizing "pre-tax dollars."
H-CARE PLAN – Employees who pay a County medical premium share of cost may elect this pre-tax program.
HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) – Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.
DEFERRED COMPENSATION – A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.
OTHER – Other pay and benefit items apply to certain positions or assignments, such as Bilingual Pay and Night Shift Differential.    



Selection Plan

THE EXAMINATION: Your application and supplemental application will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental application. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental application. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply Online Now!  Click on the link below; or print out an application and supplemental questionnaire and mail/bring them to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 310, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.  For information, call (831) 454-2600.  Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711.  Applications will meet the final filing date if received in one of the following ways:  1) In the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date, 2) submitted online before midnight of the final filing date.  Following a review for minimum qualifications, applicants who are selected to move forward in the recruitment process will be notified that they must submit a completed conviction history questionnaire in order to continue to the examination phase of the process.


To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S.

NOTE: The provisions of this bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract. 

 An Equal Opportunity Employer