Alicia Rose Rossi
Forensic Identification Assistant
York Regional Police
Sector: Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security
Type: Career Profile
Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science
I have always been a customer-service focused individual. This job directly allows me to be out in the community and region in which I grew up. I get to interact with the people and to make a hands-on difference in society. I get to provide service and confidence to those who live in the region and who look to the police service to keep them safe.
My original plan was to complete a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physical Sciences. In second semester, I had to take an elective course. I decided to take Introductory to Forensic Sciences because I didn’t know what Forensic Science was and I wanted to challenge myself in learning about a new topic. After two weeks of being in this class, we had a special guest come in and lecture about fingerprints and it was love at first sight! The intricacy and level of detail required to study and become an expert in friction ridges captured my full attention. I knew then that my career would have to include friction ridge research or documentation.
I immediately changed my major to Forensic Science and completed my degree. The summer before graduation, I moved to Peace River, Alberta. Here I completed my thesis research in friction ridge analysis (i.e., fingerprints, palm prints, footprints, etc.) with the RCMP. I was lucky that, as I was getting ready to graduate, the job that I have now was posted as a new position with the organization. I applied right away and almost a year later I was ecstatic to learn that I had been successful in obtaining the position. I was excited to get started, especially to start documenting and looking at fingerprints at the scenes that I would attend!
It is important that the educational path you decide to follow is directly related to the field and job that you aspire to. The job market is so competitive that you must at the very least meet the educational requirement on a job posting. Another important piece of advice that I wish I had received while I was in school was to take advantage of every networking event available. It is so important to connect with industry professionals who can give you first hand knowledge. Once you connect, see if someone is willing to mentor you and support you through your journey to support your goal. Good luck!
On my time off, I volunteer at a shelter in York Region and I volunteer at the Community Safety Village in York Region. I enjoy giving back to the community because this is where I grew up. Often I can be found at a kickboxing gym in Vaughan. I also enjoy walking my dog and hanging out with friends and family!
I am part of a team of four. Although we are a team, we often work separately and complete different calls throughout the day. For scenes that are more complex, we will combine our skills and knowledge and complete the scene together. Communication is very important to what we do. Because we work separately during the day we have to work together to manage the calls that need to be completed. We also provide each other with support and feedback to make sure we are meeting our goals as a team, unit and service.
Each day, I attend scenes, collect evidence, and document the scene with photographs and notes. My team is part of the special investigations and support bureau. As a result, we are called upon to support officers on the road and investigators in specialized units. Everyday, I use the skills and knowledge that I gained in the science courses I took when I did my Bachelor of Science degree. This program had a very practical approach to learning and we were able to apply what we learned to mock crime scenes. I use and apply those hands-on skills every day and at every scene that I attend.
Problem solving and planning is part of our daily tasks. This happens as we prioritize calls of service that we need to attend as well as administration work that we need to complete. We also interact with members of the public and members in other units in the service. As a result, we are constantly considering the needs and feedback that we get from those that we interact with.
We use different types of equipment to complete our tasks each day. Cameras are used to document each scene we attend and to document any evidence we may collect. We have specialized cameras such as a UV-IR camera. This camera can “see” parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye cannot. These cameras ae used in documenting specialized evidence. We also use high-powdered oblique lights, called Crime-Lites, to assist us in documenting evidence such as footwear and fingerprints. We also use many specialized techniques at the scenes we attend to assure we are documenting the scene and the evidence in the most efficient and thorough way. We do this so that the evidence is clear and easy for investigators to decipher and use.
When I was
- Home Economic
- Physical Education/Health
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked helping people
- Organized activities for my friends
- Was motivated by success
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Always knew what I wanted to do
- Liked to take things apart to see how they worked