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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Records Officers in Birmingham, Alabama

There are many career and education opportunities for police records officers in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 1,330 people are currently employed as police records officers in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 26% to about 1,670 people employed. This is better than the national trend for police records officers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, police records officers collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.

Police records officers earn approximately $21 per hour or $44,090 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $60,910 annually. Police records officers earn more than people working in the category of Police and Security generally in Alabama and more than people in the Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: forensic investigator, crime scene investigator, and crime scene technician.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a police records officer. Given that the most common education level for police records officers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a police records officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Police Records Officer

In general, police records officers collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.

Police records officers testify in court and present evidence. They also package, store and retrieve evidence. Equally important, police records officers have to dust selected areas of crime scene and lift latent fingerprints, adhering to proper preservation procedures. They are often called upon to photograph crime or accident scenes for evidence records. They are expected to look for trace evidence, such as fingerprints or shoe impressions, using alternative light sources when needed. Finally, police records officers submit evidence to supervisors.

Every day, police records officers are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for police records officers to serve as technical advisor and direct with other law enforcement staff to share data on crime scene collection efforts. They are often called upon to perform emergency work during off-hours. They also identify and file fingerprints, using systems such as the Henry Classification system. Somewhat less frequently, police records officers are also expected to process film and prints from crime or accident scenes.

And finally, they sometimes have to process film and prints from crime or accident scenes.

Like many other jobs, police records officers must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Police Records Officer Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated nine and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.