Crime Doesn’t Pay

Last week I, along with several other writers, took a tour of the Idaho State Police Crime Lab. Our tour guide, Rylene Nowlin, is a DNA specialist. 

During the tour, I saw and learned so many interesting things. From the processing of rape kits to cyanoacrylate (super glue) fuming to develop latent fingerprints, and everything in-between. 

For obvious reasons, we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the crime lab. Here’s a shot of the outside of the building.

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Rylene shared stories that made us laugh (some people are clearly out to eliminate themselves from the gene pool), and stories that curled our hair (how can people be so cruel?).  

Did you know that a coroner is an elected official who doesn’t have to have a medical degree? In fact, they don’t have to have any type of degree. None whatsoever. They just have to be able to get elected. There are places where the local feed store operator is a coroner.

On the other hand, a medical examiner by definition is a licensed physician, and in most cases, they’re trained to be forensic pathologists. They’re appointed to the position. 

Some states have both coroners (usually in the rural areas) and medical examiners (usually in the non-rural areas). 

Did you know that forensics is a female-dominated field? That is so up my alley (when I was growing up I wanted to be a mad scientist). In another lifetime I’m going into forensics! 

In another lifetime, what field of study would you go into?

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