CSI Vs Weather
I imagine in CSI Miami it never rains, the sun is always out and the evidence is never destroyed/compromised by the weather. It’s just glorious sunshine, but not too hot, just the right temperature to not make them sweaty or have a hair out of place? This is the perfect scenario for a CSI. Therefore I’m sure that you realise this is not only unrealistic but just ludicrous. In real life it's never that simple or even remotely glamorous. The uniform we are forced to wear deals with that instantly - horrendous!! In reality it's definitely CSI Vs Weather! Who will win?
All those delusions that we look exactly the same as we did at the start of the examination are dashed as we get a glimpse of ourselves four hours later in the van window; quick, hide!
It’s the UK, so this is just standard weather for us, but it nevertheless ruins a lot of our scenes. Not only does it ruin my hair that I quickly blow-dry every morning (no joke!). Worse still it makes evidence soggy or disappear, neither of which is ideal. Torrential rain is no fun to be out as your scene suit gets soaking and your fingerprint brush turns in to a useless mop! It doesn’t matter if people run around your scene covering things up with buckets, plastic bags or tents. Inevitably the rain will find a way to penetrate it! Just lingering in the air waiting……. And did I mention it ruins my hair??
Whilst we are grateful that for once the rain is not chucking it down on us, inevitably the heat from the sun brings its own issues. Now I’m not just talking about your average nice sunny day. Lets face it we don’t have too many of those over here. We like extremes of weather!
Setting the scene;
It’s a lovely hot sunny day, and it would probably be very enjoyable if you are at the beach with an ice cream. Or literally anywhere else but the scene you are about to enter.
The Uniform Doesn't Help!
You are already wearing your uniform made out of fabric that’s mostly plastic. Over that you are now tugging on a lovely white scene suit which is also made of plastic to stop anything going through it (safety first – sweaty next!). Then put on not one but two pairs of plastic gloves. The first pair doesn’t come off until you have completely finished at the scene which could be hours later. Pair number two gets changed 1,000,000 times per scene! I may exaggerate slightly here! But your hand will definitely get sweaty. I have experienced the unpleasant feeling where you hold you hand up and water pours out of the glove and down your arm! Horrendous and not remotely sending you to the top of the glamour list! When you finally do get to take it off, your hand will now resemble something that got left in a bath overnight! Gorgeous!
And It Doesn't Stop There!
Let’s not forget you will also be wearing a face mask, and either the hood of your scene suit or a mob capp. The latter will make you look like you work behind a cheese counter. However, the combination of these items ensures that any heat which could possibly escape from your head is now trapped, and your breath in your mask adds to the sweat inevitably forming on your face.
When you remove these you will look like you have been for a swim because your hair will be wet! And your clothes will be wet! You could probably wring your socks out which have been in your uniform boots and then surrounded by another plastic item called an overshoe!
It’s a bit like being shrink wrapped, is that glamorous? You could lose a few pounds though - silver lining!
This particular weather makes tricky situations all that more difficult and once again ruins your hair!! Can you see a theme? The scene tent that you practise putting up in the rear yard suddenly turns in to a kite or the sail of a boat. (Read The Inconvenient Body to see how I'm not so good with a scene tent!)
The tent wants to drag you along the road or fly away, making it look like its your first time erecting one of these stupid things. As you can appreciate, not all evidence is heavy, we pick up things like paper, cigarette ends etc etc. Lots of light things that can just blow away in a light breeze let alone a gale.
Wind can not only make you look unglamorous but it can also freeze the hell out you. Being called to road accident in the middle of winter when you are surrounded by open fields can literally chill your bones! You will be there for hours, turning bluer & bluer, attempting to press the buttons on your camera. Increasingly made more difficult as your hands have turned to ice slabs!
And That's Not All!
Let's address fingerprint powders here. Especially that black colour. You’ve just examined a silver car with your black powder and go back to your van. Only now you notice your face and any other exposed part of your body are no longer the colour they were. The stuff goes everywhere, especially if you are the wrong side of a breeze! When you touch even the most tiny drop it spreads as you try and brush it off! Nothing but a shower will help! Or maybe going to a rainy scene!
So I got a phone call in the middle of the night because something had happened in a car park and they needed a CSI. What a glamorous location this will be I’m already thinking! Someone had been assaulted on a car bonnet and therefore the car needed examining and the scene needed photographing. Now obviously having been asleep I had no idea what the weather was doing outside so just assumed (clearly wrongly) that what was being asked was achievable. I was however speaking to a buffoon because they then proceeded to tell me the car was no longer in the car park and that it was foggy!
Let's Spell This Out!
So my scene is no longer there and the location is basically in a blanket of cloud! What kind of camera do they think I own? One that can pierce through the fog like a laser and miraculously make it reappear? Because if that was an invention then wouldn’t all cars have them as headlights? Needless to say I did not get up out of my bed to go to an invisible non-existent scene!
It's cold. Not my favourite weather to go out in, I like it warm on a beach or by an open fire. Not many of those settings around at a crime scene on a normal day in the UK. Nope, we like cold-windy-rainy please. Oh and if its really cold then please give me snow to melt on my scene and then freeze it encapsulating it in ice. Completely ensuring that it's ruined.
The scenes might look good on your Insta account but its just the same as trying to fingerprint in the rain!
Fun Fact Though!
Whilst stomping around in your warm uniform boots or wellies, you can in fact make a cast of a snow print with plaster! "Even though it gives off a heat reaction whilst setting which would surely melt the snow?" I hear you say.
Well we have some secret spray that fixes it and stops it melting! Clever!
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I may be a Crime Scene Investigator working for a Police Force but there have been occasions when I have had to call for help when I’m at a Crime Scene! Just because I wear a uniform doesn’t mean I’m safe. More often than not it means I’m more of a target because of it. The average person I visit is in need of my help, however you can never tell what’s behind the door – or who! Sometimes the victim will turn out to not be what you thought. Occasionally the victim becomes the suspect!
I’m not a police officer, never wanted to be one, and after today I definitely haven’t changed my mind! Chasing burglars is not my idea of a good day out! I do fingerprinting! Police Officers have a really tough job and are mostly unappreciated in my opinion. They are however the first people everyone calls when they are in trouble.
Being a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) means we investigate crime scenes…..wherever they may be. Therefore when we got the call about investigating an arson in a jail we know one of us will be going to it, just as we would any other scene. But hang on a minute, this is in a jail and isn’t even remotely like any other scene we examine!
Every scene has it’s challenges. Some are in difficult locations, some are hot or cold, and some you just know you are going to be at for days! Others however, have things in them that are just beyond your control. Are what are they? Pets – specifically pets who seem intent on ruining your crime scene and seem to enjoy it!
We have no control over where or when we die. We don’t know when or where it will be but it probably never occurrs to us that someone could find a dead body ‘inconvenient’! Well why would we? CSI’s don’t find death inconvenient, it’s our job. Even when someone is stuck in a tricky position, it’s not inconvenient, it just requires logistics!