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‘CSI’ is sexy, but Phoenix Crime Lab’s work is reality

PHOENIX — It’s National Forensic Science Week and Officer James Holmes with Phoenix Police said the impact of forensic science on the criminal justice system is
growing.

It has become a method of producing investigative leads, exonerating the innocent and providing reliable evidence for prosecution, as a recent run-through of the process at the Phoenix Police Crime Lab showed.

Workers ran through evidence processing and collection at a mock crime scene.

Hillary Sellmeyer is a forensic scientist with Phoenix Police and specializes in fingerprint analysis. Her job is matching up fingerprints from crime scenes to those in a database. It can take hours or months. In other words, nothing is solved in an hour like the “CSI” TV shows.

“Fingerprints and DNA are the only two sciences that will allow you to identify an individual. It’s important to have both,” Sellmeyer said.

Solving a crime is “Wonderful,” she said. “Like no other feeling in the world. We get a lot of feedback from and it is generally very positive.”

Forensic scientist Matthew Sinclair’s job is covering everything from analyzing gunshot residue to tire tracks and footprints and more. He’s helped solve hundreds of crimes but said positive results is a team effort.

“We’re a tool for the detectives and officers to solve the crime. We help solve those crimes,” he said.

The Phoenix Crime Lab helped solve the high-profile murder cases involving the Baseline Killer and Serial Shooters.

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