The Polk County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Section is comprised of civilians who are specially trained in the documentation, collection and preservation of evidence. Specialized training for Crime Scene Technicians includes: bloodstain documentation, photography and videotaping for documenting the scene, and collection of all types of evidence to include several methods for processing latent prints.
Crime Scene Technicians respond to crime scenes where evidence processing is beyond the capabilities of the normally equipped and trained deputy who originally responds to the scene. The Crime Scene Section also responds at the request of other law enforcement agencies to assist them by processing their crime scenes.
Crime Scene Technicians respond to all types of calls for service; including criminal mischief (where in some cases only photographs are necessary), injured persons, burglary, robbery, battery, sexual battery and death investigations (to include homicide cases). The time spent investigating the scenes can be anywhere from one hour to several days.
Evidence collected from crime scenes is processed in-house; however, if lab work is needed it is forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Laboratory for evaluation and analysis. The laboratory findings (from evidence collected) and the results of the investigation (which is conducted by detectives) are presented in court proceedings to aid in the successful conviction of criminals.
In addition to their regular duties, the Crime Scene Technicians give in-service training to newly appointed deputy sheriffs and detectives. Crime Scene Technicians are also called upon to give demonstrations to schools and civic groups throughout Polk County explaining their duties and responsibilities. Demonstrations can also include setting up a mock crime scene to provide a hands-on view of crime scene processing.