CSI: What is real?

If your impression of crime scene investigation is influenced by what you see on TV, this dose of reality is for you.

TV Reality
30–second DNA test Six month wait — or more — for DNA results
Instant fingerprint match Lengthy, detailed process to compare print
No black fingerprint powder on your clothes You’re dirty after dusting a large area for prints
Investigate crimes involving relatives Never investigate crimes involving your loved ones
Investigate scenes in the dark Turn on room lights unless using an alternate light source
No problem getting a search warrant Work for months getting probable cause to get a warrant
Spend minimal time on court preparation Spend weeks sitting in a witness room waiting for your turn to testify
Team has all necessary expertise We rely on experts such as cadaver dog trainers, anthropologists, entomologists, archaeologists, botanists, etc.
Spend little time writing reports Spend days writing reports, completing maps, logging evidence and photographs
Lab has all the equipment needed to process scene and evidence instantly Learn to work with what we have and call another jurisdiction if they have useful equipment