Job Description

Overall Job Objective


This recruitment will establish an eligible list for the Biology Unit assignment.  Please attach copies of transcripts or coursework as required for the stated minimum qualifications.

A Forensic Scientist Technical Leader performs highly specialized forensic evaluations and/or examinations in connection with the identification and comparison of physical evidence submitted to the Police Department Forensic Services.  Technical Leaders are characterized by breadth of knowledge and experience in analytical methods, crime scene processing, complex casework, or evidence processing.  Technical Leaders provide quality assurance program support through technical oversight and leadership in the forensic disciplines.  Technical Leaders are casework performing analysts who report directly to the Unit Supervisor and work in collaboration with the Quality Manager (QM) in the performance of their assigned quality assurance duties.  Technical Leaders are responsible for monitoring the quality of analysis, including compliance with the ISO/IEC 17025- Requirements and the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) Forensic Science Testing and Calibration Laboratories Accreditation Requirements, within their disciplines and make recommendations for quality improvement.  Working in conjunction with the QM, the Technical Leader is responsible for the quality assurance program for their respective units.  As such, the Technical Leader is the primary point of contact for the Quality Manager and analysts in the discipline regarding technical issues.

Forensic Scientist Technical Leaders may be established for the following forensic areas:  Biology/DNA (has additional responsibilities and authorities outlined in the Federal Bureau of Investigations [FBI] Quality Assurance Standards for DNA Testing Laboratories), Controlled Substances, Fingerprint Identification, Firearms/Tool marks, Latent Print Comparisons, Toxicology - Blood Alcohol, and/or Toxicology - Blood Drug.

Technical Leader Responsibilities Include:  Annual review of unit procedure and training manuals and participation in the annual Forensic Services Biannual Management Review, making recommendations for changes to verify that the discipline procedure, training manuals, and the quality system manuals accurately reflect established standards and comply with the following standards (as applicable):  ISO/IEC 17025, ANAB Forensic Science Testing and Calibration Laboratories Accreditation Requirements, and the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories; providing feedback to unit members regarding technical procedures, training program requirements, novel technologies, national forensic science discipline trends and issues, and QA/QC standards; performing review of casework within the discipline to evaluate consistent use of technical procedures within each discipline and compliance to quality assurance standards with the Unit Supervisor, assigned trainer, and QM, developing the training plan for analysts in the discipline, and reviewing the training plan to confirm compliance with discipline training program requirements with the assigned trainer and Unit Supervisor, evaluating, reviewing, and documenting the analyst's progress toward meeting the training plan goals, making recommendations for supplemental training, or retraining as needed, and notifying the Unit Supervisor in writing that the trainee has completed the training plan; researching, reviewing, and monitoring quality control practices, best practices, or peer consensus within the discipline and making recommendations to the Quality Manager for corrective or preventive action for improvement and/or for analytical processes/procedures not explicitly outlined in the discipline procedure manual.  The Technical Leader will determine best practice; designing and submitting proficiency test plans to the Quality Manager and monitoring results; researching and evaluating new analytical procedures, equipment, or technologies and making recommendations to the Quality Manager for implementation within the discipline; and overseeing the development of research and validation projects and endorsing any proposed research or validation project prior to Supervisor approval.  With the Quality Assurance Manager, monitoring research or validation projects to evaluate progress and reviewing research and validation data; and performing an annual review to address discipline specific technical needs (examples:  training, equipment, resources) involving research and evaluation of new technologies, training, equipment, and quality assurance/quality control practices and requirements.  The plan recommendations are presented to management for consideration and incorporation into Forensic Services Biannual Management Review; serving as the primary point of contact for the Quality Manager and analysts for resolving daily technical issues and problem solving within a given discipline and assisting with resolving any technical differences of opinion; and assisting the Quality Manager with performing root cause analysis involving technical nonconformities to discipline procedures and/or ISO standards.  Evaluating the nonconformity, performing root cause analysis, and making recommendations for corrective action or preventive action; serving as the liaison between the unit members and the Quality Manager, and making sure effective communication occurs with all members of the discipline and with management; and has delegated authority from the Quality Manager to terminate testing in their discipline or an individual in the event of a major technical problem with either a technical procedure or instrument/equipment.  Working to resolve the issue, performing root cause analysis, and making recommendation for corrective and/or preventive action.  Communicating such action through the appropriate chain of command and informing the unit Supervisor of all technical operations.

This position is part of the management team in Forensic Services.  An employee in this class may conduct field investigations at crime scenes to search for, collect, and preserve evidence for laboratory analysis; and reconstruct situations and physical evidence of a crime in the demonstration of proof of the connection of persons, instruments, or materials with the crime.  Supervision is received from a Forensic Scientist Supervisor and work is reviewed through meetings, reports, and results achieved.  All work is performed in accordance with established departmental policies and procedures, federal/state guidelines, and accreditation standards.  This position involves working with chemicals and other hazardous materials.  This class is FLSA exempt-professional.

In addition to the Technical Leader responsibilities, each Forensic Scientist Technical Leader is responsible for performing the following casework in their unit assignments.  

Biology Unit Assignment:  A Forensic Scientist Technical Leader assigned to the Biology Unit performs serological and/or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis on items of evidence related to police investigations.  Duties include:  visual examination, microscopic examination, and/or serological testing on a variety of evidence items to examine for the presence of blood, semen, saliva, hair, and other potential biological material; preparation of samples for DNA analysis; DNA extraction using manual or robotic techniques; and quantitation using Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, PCR for the amplification of DNA extracts using a variety of DNA typing kits, and DNA typing using Capillary Electrophoresis.  The incumbent will interpret DNA typing results to include making comparisons to known profiles, making determinations about the inclusion or exclusion of contributors, and making determinations about profiles to be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  Additionally, the incumbent will utilize statistical databases to make determinations about the frequency of occurrence of profiles developed in the laboratory.  The incumbent must use significant judgment in determining tests performed and items tested.  Incumbents may be responsible for responding to crime scenes for Bloodstain Pattern Interpretation or they may be requested to interpret bloodstain patterns in the laboratory based upon photographs and evidence items collected from crime scenes.  Incumbents may also design and conduct experiments related to specific case issues.  This class performs related duties as required. 

Please refer to the link below for the full job description and additional information regarding assignments, preferred qualifications, and essential functions.

Qualifications & Requirements

Employee Values:  All employees of the City of Mesa are expected to uphold and exhibit the City's shared employee values of Knowledge, Respect, and Integrity.

Minimum Qualifications Required.  Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's or advanced degree in Biology/Biochemistry, Chemistry, Forensic Science, or closely related natural science.  At least four years' experience as a Forensic Scientist or equivalent in a recognized laboratory actively engaged in forensic sciences in the area that the Technical Leader is representing; experience testifying in court as an expert witness; and state-of-the-art expertise in a specialized area of forensic science as described in the Distinguishing Features section.  In addition, the following disciplines have specific minimum educational requirements:  Blood Alcohol:  24 credit hours of college coursework in chemistry completed successfully.  Controlled Substances:  20 credit hours of college coursework in chemistry completed successfully.  DNA:  A Master's Degree in a Biology, Chemistry, or Forensic Science related area; 12 semester hours or equivalent credit hours including a combination of graduate and undergraduate course work or classes covering biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and statistics or population genetics.  Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of three semester credit hours must be a graduate-level course.  The DNA Technical Leader must meet the minimum qualifications listed in the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for DNA Testing Laboratories.  Toxicology:  24 credit hours of college coursework in chemistry completed successfully.  Latent Prints:  24 credit hours of college coursework in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math) completed successfully and Latent Print Certification by the International Association for Identification (IAI) is required.

Special Requirements.  Because of the confidential, sensitive nature of information handled, successful completion of a background investigation and polygraph examination is required.  Must possess a valid Class D Arizona Driver's License by hire date.

Substance Abuse Testing.  Due to the safety and/or security sensitive nature of this classification, individuals shall be subject to pre-employment or pre-placement alcohol, drug and/or controlled substance testing as outlined in City policy and procedures.

Preferred/Desirable Qualifications.  Seven plus years of experience in the discipline that the Technical Leader is representing.  Experience as a Criminalist/Forensic Scientist in an internationally accredited laboratory actively engaged in forensic sciences.  Firearms Assignment:  20 credit hours of college coursework in chemistry completed successfully, experience with firearms examination, membership in the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners in good standing, and completion of the National Firearms Examiner Academy.

Link to Job Description

Application Instructions

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