Employment Opportunity

Criminalist I

Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Oakland, California

Salary: $77,147.20 - $92,788.80 per year

Final Filing Date: March 5, 2018

Criminalists utilize scientific methods and techniques in the recognition, collection, and characterization of physical and digital evidence in the Crime Laboratory as well as at crime scenes. They prepare written reports regarding their findings and provide expert testimony in court. They perform related duties as required. All positions are located in the Sheriff's Office and may be subject to overtime.

Criminalist I is an entry-level classification in which the incumbent works under close supervision. Incumbents handle the more routine cases and receive a substantial amount of on-the-job training, working closely with senior staff members in a tutorial/intern atmosphere. After gaining two years of experience in several areas of laboratory investigation and expanding their expertise, they are expected to promote to the journey-level class of Criminalist II.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


  • Establishes and maintains competency in specialty discipline(s) where casework is assigned and performed.
  • Utilizes various analytical techniques such as photography, microscopy, wet chemistry, chromatography, mass spectrometry, spectroscopy, DNA typing, database searching, and digital media processing for the identification and comparison of evidence such as biological fluids, toxic substances, drugs, ignitable materials, digital media, firearms related items, as well as fingerprints and impression evidence.
  • Complies with established quality control procedures to ensure proper functioning of reagents and equipment.
  • Adheres to established safety standards in the preparation, storage, and disposal of chemicals and testing of evidence materials.
  • Maintains laboratory equipment, instruments, and work area.
  • Prepares materials for presentation in court; appears as an expert witness and interprets results of laboratory findings to law enforcement officers, attorneys and the courts.
  • Prepares clear, comprehensive, and accurate reports and maintains accurate records of laboratory findings through detailed notes, photographs, sketches, and maintenance of analytical data.
  • Processes crime scenes utilizing observational skills, note-taking, sketching, photography, and laser scanning in order to identify, document, and collect, and interpret evidence.
  • Assists less experienced laboratory personnel and law enforcement officers in the methods of analysis employed in the laboratory and in the methods used for collecting and preserving evidence.
  • Researches, develops, and/or evaluates methods and procedures for laboratory testing of physical or digital evidence.
  • Participate in community outreach activities such as tours, presentations, and mentoring.
  • Perform related work as required.


  • Possession of a Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited four-year college or university with a major in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biology, Criminalistics or a closely related physical science field.
  • Candidates for all three classes must possess a valid California Motor Vehicle Operator's License.
Special Requirements:
  • Candidate for all three classes must be found to be free of uncorrected colorblindness at the time of the County pre-employment physical examination.
  • A thorough background investigation will be conducted of all prospective Criminalists to ensure they are suitable for law enforcement related work.
  • Criminalists will be required to work day, evening, night, rotating shifts, or call back shifts including weekends and holidays.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE - In addition to meeting the minimum qualifications, the ideal candidate for the Criminalist I position will possess the following critical attributes:
  • Excels in technical knowledge and skill – keeps up with current developments and trends in areas of expertise.
  • Approaches change positively – Maintains effectiveness when experiencing major changes in work responsibilities or environment.
  • Learns and assimilates job related information – Applies new job-related information in a timely manner.
  • Identifies issues and develops solutions – Identifies and understands problems and opportunities; takes action that is consistent with available facts, constraints, and consequences.
  • Operates with integrity – Interacts with others in a way that gives them confidence in one’s intentions and those of the organization.
  • Maintains focus under pressure – Exhibits stable performance under stress or opposition.
  • Maintains an exceptional level of quality – Accomplishing tasks by considering all areas involved, accurately checks processes and tasks.
  • Communicates effectively – Clearly conveys information and ideas.
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS - The most suitably qualified candidates will possess the following competencies:
Knowledge of:
  • The principles of forensic science, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, microscopy, statistics, photography, and natural sciences as related to forensic laboratory examinations and crime scene processing.
  • Basic principles of operation for scientific instruments and apparatus used in forensic laboratory examinations and crime scene processing.
  • Modern criminal investigation and identification techniques and procedures.
  • Basic laboratory safety procedures.
  • Basic legal and courtroom processes.
Ability to:
  • Conduct basic chemical, instrumental, biological, microscopic, digital, and other forensic laboratory analyses as required.
  • Conduct crime scene documentation, evidence collection, and interpretation as required.
  • Present evidence clearly and accurately in court when called on as an expert witness.
  • Prepare and maintain clear, accurate, and detailed case records, statistics, and reports.
  • Provide training and assist in evaluating the work of others.
  • Follow detailed technical instruction while maintaining an exceptional level of quality.
  • Approach change positively.
  • Learn and assimilate information in a timely manner.
  • Identify issues and develop solutions.
  • Maintain focus under pressure.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively, orally and in writing, with scientists, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, the public, and the courts.
  • Work effectively in an environment in which incumbent may encounter disturbing, sensitive, or confidential situations.
  • Work effectively in a highly structured, rank-organized environment.
  • Establish and maintain effective work relationships with those contacted in the performance of required duties.
  • Work safely with a wide variety of materials which may contain biohazards and/or hazardous materials.
  • Effectively resolve analytical problems through the application of logical thought processes, consultation of the scientific literature, and/or applied research.
  • Respond to crime scenes outside of normal working hours.

Do you have the Education Required? See available on-line and campus-based degree programs now!

How to apply: Apply online

Posted: February 9, 2018

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