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Recruitment #21-BM2-01





THE JOB: Under general supervision, performs duties involved in crime scene investigations and identification of evidence by performing chemical, physical, and microscopic analysis in the laboratory and in the field; interprets the results of findings; prepares materials for presentation in criminal court; appears in court as an expert witness. May specialize in at least one discipline based on agency needs: Latent Prints, Digital Evidence, Biology/DNA, Forensic Anthropology, or Firearms & Toolmarks; and performs other work as required.

The current vacancy is for a certified latent print examiner in the Latent Print Discipline unit of the Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Division Crime Laboratory. Major duties include the comparison and evaluation of latent print evidence, latent print processing and crime scene investigations of major cases. Effective July 11, 2020, this position has been furloughed by 7.5%. * Please note: the official title for this classification is Criminalist II.

Criminalist II is the journey level in the criminalist series. Incumbents independently perform professional forensic services with limited supervision, which includes a variety of skilled and semiskilled forensic work. This class differs from the Criminalist I in that it is responsible for performing technically complex and difficult forensic scientific casework in at least one forensic discipline; also included is providing training, case review, and technical advice to the Criminalist I.

Employment Standards

THE REQUIREMENTS: Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, criminalistics, natural sciences, physical anthropology, computer science, or a closely related field. For Forensic Anthropology specialization: an MA or Ph.D. in anthropology with graduate level coursework in human and non-human osteology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, human variation, statistics and dental anthropology is required. For DNA assignment: a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) or an advanced degree related to biology, chemistry or forensic science is required and must provide evidence of successful completion of coursework covering the following subject areas: biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology; and coursework and/or training in statistics and/or population genetics as it applies to forensic DNA analysis AND three years of experience performing forensic analysis in Latent Prints, Digital Evidence, Biology/DNA, Controlled Substance/Toxicology, Firearms & Toolmarks or Forensic Anthropology or a related field of specialization and crime scene investigation in a local, county, state, and/or federal forensic laboratory or similar setting; a Master’s or PhD degree may be substituted for one year of experience.


Three years of experience as a Criminalist I at Santa Cruz County or equivalent. For Digital Evidence specialization: Active certification through the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists as a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner is required to be obtained within the first year of employment as a Criminalist II. For Latent Print specialization: Latent Print Examiner certification is required to be obtained within the first year of employment as a Criminalist II. For Biology/DNA specialization: Possession of a master’s degree is highly desirable. For Firearms & Toolmarks specialization: Association of Firearms and Toolmarks Examiners (AFTE) certification in at least one of the following: Firearm, Toolmark, or Gunshot Residue, is required to be obtained within the first year of employment as a Criminalist II.

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Certification with the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) as a Diplomate or Fellow and/or active certification through the International Association for Identification (IAI) as a crime scene investigator, crime scene analyst, crime scene reconstructionist or senior crime scene analyst is highly desirable.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS/CONDITIONS: Mentally and physically capable of performing the classification’s essential functions as summarized in the typical tasks section of this job specification with or without reasonable accommodations. Physical Ability: Tasks require the ability to exert up to 50 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects; typically involving some combination of climbing and balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling; and may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials. Sensory Requirements: Requires the ability to recognize and identify similarities and differences between shade, degree or value of colors, shapes, sounds, forms, textures, or physical appearance associated with job-related objects, materials, tasks, or people. Environmental Factors: Exposure to variable temperatures, confined work spaces, and heights; strong unpleasant odors; infectious bio-hazardous materials, such as blood, urine and semen, which might cause chronic disease or death; dust, pollens, chemical irritants; toxic substances; individuals who may be hostile and abusive; evidence that may be disturbing such as homicide evidence. Hours: May be required to work flexible hours, shifts, weekends, and holidays and be subject to holdover and callback duty; and to provide a telephone number or means by which employee can be reached. License Requirement: Possession and maintenance of valid Class C California Driver License issued by the California State Department of Motor Vehicles by the time of appointment. Background Investigation: Ability to pass a full background investigation.

Knowledge: Subject matter and practices within an area of specialization, such as Crime Scene Investigation, Photography, Latent Prints, Digital Evidence, Biology/DNA, Firearms & Toolmarks or Forensic Anthropology; principles of forensic science, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, photography, and natural sciences as related to criminalistics; electronic search methods and examination techniques sufficient to access, preserve, and extract appropriate evidence from a variety of media; basic laboratory safety procedures; laboratory techniques used for scientific examination of forensic evidence; forensic analysis techniques, laboratory protocols, scientific methodologies, and forensic computer examination procedures sufficient to conduct detailed and complex analyses to interpret the significance of evidentiary items; collecting and preserving physical evidence, scientific research methods, and procedures in the forensic science field. Some knowledge of applicable federal, state and local laws, codes, rules, regulations, and statutes; recent developments, current literature, and sources of information in the field of criminalistics.

Ability to: Conduct chemical, biological, physical, microscopic, digital, and other comparative laboratory analysis as required; conduct crime scene investigations and collect evidence in the field; relate pieces of evidence to each other and draw logical conclusions; prepare and maintain clear, accurate and concise reports, records, and case statistics/findings; operate personal computers, Laboratory Information Management Systems and related software; follow oral and written technical instructions; perform assigned tasks according to prescribed procedures; meet timelines and handle multiple and changing priorities, projects, and schedules; comply with laws, regulations, and professional practices governing law enforcement services and operations; research regulations, procedures, and/or technical reference materials; work in a safe and prudent manner; communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing; maintain confidentiality of information; read, understand, and follow departmental policies, rules, instructions, laws, and ordinances; establish and maintain good working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, demonstrating tact diplomacy, patience, and compassion; adhere to employing agency’s code of ethics; operate and maintain laboratory instrumentation associated with the assigned forensic discipline, such as various types of microscopes and cameras and laboratory information systems; analyze, interpret, and present statistical data and outcomes to diverse audiences, including law enforcement agencies, the courts, and other agencies; understand, interpret and explain regulations and policies governing the collection and preservation of evidence; present evidence clearly and accurately in court when called to testify as an expert witness; work under physical and mental pressure and in potentially hazardous situations and environments; follow highly technical oral and written instructions.


- 22 days first year, increasing to 37 days after 15 years of service. Available for vacation and/or sick leave.
HOLIDAYS - 13 paid holidays per year.
BEREAVEMENT LEAVE - 3 days paid in California, 5 days paid out-of-state.
MEDICAL PLAN - The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans. For most plans, County contributions pay a majority of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents.
DENTAL PLAN - County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.
VISION PLAN - County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.
RETIREMENT - Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013(PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years. County participates in Social Security.
LIFE INSURANCE - County paid $20,000 term policy. Employee may purchase additional life insurance.
DISABILITY INSURANCE - Employees in the General Representation Unit participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. This program is funded 100% by employee payroll deductions.
DEPENDENT-CARE PLAN - Employees who make contributions for child or dependent care may elect to have their contributions made utilizing “pre-tax dollars.”
H-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay a County medical premium may elect this pre-tax program.
HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) - Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.
DEFERRED COMPENSATION - A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.

Selection Plan

THE EXAMINATION: Your application and supplemental questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental questionnaire. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental questionnaire. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply Online Now!  Click on the link below; or print out an application and supplemental questionnaire and mail/bring them to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.  For information, call (831) 454-2600.  Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711.  Applications will meet the final filing date if received in one of the following ways:  1) in the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date, 2) submitted online before midnight of the final filing date.

In order to process your application a copy of your transcripts, resume, and an Applicable Coursework Form click here to view that form) are required. Please upload these documents electronically during the application submittal process or submit a copy via email to Personnel@santacruzcounty.us, via fax to 831-454-2411, or in person to 701 Ocean St., Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  If you have a disability that requires test accommodation, please call (831) 454-2600.

To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S.

NOTE: The provisions of this bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract.

An Equal Opportunity Employer

County of Santa Cruz




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