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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Records Officers in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a police records officer, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,550 working police records officers in Washington; this should grow 5% to 1,630 working police records officers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for police records officers are expected to grow by about 16.6%. In general, police records officers collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.

A person working as a police records officer can expect to earn about $35 hourly or $74,610 per year on average in Washington and about $29 per hour or $60,910 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Police and Security, people working as police records officers in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Police and Security nationally. Jobs in this field include: detective sergeant, police photographer, and accident investigator.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a police records officer. The most common level of education for police records officers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn 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 Seattle 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

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a bachelor's degree program in Criminalistics and Criminal Science which graduated three students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five students in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three students in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five and six students respectively 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.