The Seattle Police Department has created a Crime Scene Investigation Unit, joining other ties that are combining and deploying high-tech tools and specially trained groups of crime busters, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The new unit, a six-month pilot project, features 10 of the department’s most experienced detectives working together rather than in their former separate units. The group will deploy three mobile units, specially equipped vans containing equipment ranging from petri dishes and sterile swabs to saws, rubber gloves, and biohazard suits. The vans will be available around the clock for dispatch to homicides, assaults, burglaries and other major crimes.
Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said the unit makes financial and tactical sense at a time when gathering evidence has become high-tech and expensive. By merging the expertise of top detectives, offering specialized training and tools, and allowing the unit to teach new officers, the department can save money and stay “state of the art,” he said. The project is being paid for with $100,000 from the city, with three of the 10 detectives working part time. Federal funds help with the costs of training, which has included evidence processing, bombs and booby traps, arson investigation, and bloodstain-pattern analysis. “Every city our size, like Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas, Indianapolis and others back east, have a dedicated CSI team,” said Det. Mark Hanf. “They understand the importance of having this.”