Senior team leader of Evidence Response Team gathers evidence from complex crime scenes so that it can be introduced in court.
What do you do? I am a special agent in the FBI Seattle Division and serve as the senior team leader of our Evidence Response Team (ERT). The ERT gathers evidence in an expert, competent and systematic manner so that it can be introduced in court. The team deploys regularly to manage and process complex crime scenes, which requires advanced forensic techniques and equipment.
How did you get that job? Beyond our initial 20 weeks of FBI Academy training, FBI agents continue to attend advanced training within our scope of investigative responsibility. My professional interests gravitated toward forensics and the tangibility of physical evidence in corroborating or discrediting witness accounts of events. I focused on honing my strengths in those areas and applied to join the Seattle ERT. I have been on the team for 15 years and am honored to be among such skilled individuals, many of whom have advanced degrees in forensics or other related fields.
How does someone else get a job like yours? I applied! I know that sounds really basic, but I like to emphasize that you’ll never know if a job is in reach if you don’t research it and apply. I didn’t set out to be the ERT senior team leader when I joined the FBI. As a Special Agent, I worked investigations involving fraud, crimes against children, violent crime and terrorism. This diverse casework piqued my interest in forensics. I sought training and experience to build upon my background and was thrilled to be selected to join and, years later, lead this specialized team!
What’s the best part of the job? ERT processes very raw and difficult crime scenes, often in very trying environments and over extended periods of time. One of the things I value most is our team’s unique kinship in learning how to depend on and take care of one another, which augments our ability to focus on meticulously processing the scene. The evidence collected by our team provides explanations for what did and didn’t happen within a scene and is a crucial part of any investigation, which is an incredibly rewarding contribution to further the FBI mission.
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What did you do before this job? Before serving as a special agent, I worked for four years as a professional support employee with the FBI. Primarily, I served as a victim-witness specialist, tasked with supporting victims and witnesses of crimes with finding resources to address their short- and long-term needs, while also keeping them informed on the status of the criminal investigation and prosecution. Prior to my employment with the FBI, I worked as a day treatment counselor for sex offenders in a group home setting.
What surprises people about your job? That it’s a far cry from the depictions on the “CSI” (crime scene investigation) TV shows. We don’t solve cases in an hour, nor always look glamorous doing it. We have specialized and cutting-edge resources, experts and equipment at our disposal, but processing a crime scene is dirty and takes a very long time to do correctly.