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Dothan Newest Police Unit

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

Dothan Crime Scene Investigation unit was established in May, and Saunders Road homicide was the group's first murder. The unit was created to speed up the investigation process.

Dothan police are happy to have the added help of the CSI unit, but want to make sure the public is aware that a real CSI unit and the television show CSI are quite different.

Sometimes after watching shows like CSI, police say the public's expectations of turn around time and equipment capabilities are unrealistic.

The new program and personnel was established in May to allow lead investigators more time to question suspects and witnesses and allow the new crime scene investigators to specialize in collecting evidence.

"It cuts down half the time for investigators and lets them do what they need to do and so we can do what we have to do," said Jon Thomas of Dothan CSI.

The processes may not appear as impressive looking as in the show CSI, but these investigators say they work well and are more realistic than the tactics used during the television show.

"If someone breaks in I can get a print or I can take a drop of blood and hopefully identify the person who did it," said Becky Edwards of Dothan CSI.

Right now the department has two employees to investigate scenes and to process all of the evidence. After evidence is collected, it is sent to one of five state crime labs for further inspection. Here is one of the major differences between reality and television.

"Most people get upset that it takes us a year for results and on television it takes five minutes," said Thomas.

The crime scene investigators say unlike on CSI, their resources like time and money are limited, but their presence will help evidence be processed and sent off more quickly.

The new Crime Scene Investigators are also responsible for managing all evidence during court cases and cataloging new evidence that comes in.

Dothan Police Department officials hope for more funding in the future that will allow them to hire additional personnel for the crime scene investigation team.


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