(Digital Evidence)

(Pattern Evidence)




            This is forensic science work at the program leader level. Positions in this class are found in one of four specialties: Biology, Chemistry, Digital Evidence, or Pattern Evidence. Positions allocated to the Pattern Evidence specialty are assigned to one of the following disciplines: Documents, Firearms/Toolmarks, or Latent Prints.  Additionally, a Quality Assurance assignment exists that may be filled with a qualified individual from any of the forensic specialties.  Employees in this class serve as a program leader, developing and overseeing scientific programs within a specialized unit or an interdisciplinary program at the Office of Forensic Science of the Philadelphia Police Department.  Work in each specialty includes examining evidence associated with crimes for presentation of laboratory findings in written reports and through expert testimony in criminal trials or ensuring that forensic examinations are conducted within national and international quality standards.

            This class is differentiated from lower-level technical classes by the development of program design, identification of program goals within defined parameters, evaluation of program results in response to new regulatory and legislative requirements and development of quality assurance procedures. Work includes networking with professionals and scientists in private industry, government agencies and universities to remain current in the relevant techniques and methodologies. Employees in this class function as a technical expert and provide guidance to a team of technical personnel within the context of assigned projects. All work is performed in accordance with national and international quality assurance standards in the accredited Office of Forensic Science of the Philadelphia Police Department. Work is performed under the general direction of a Forensic Supervisor.


ALLOCATING FACTORS: (The following conditions must be met for a position to be allocated to this class.)


1.    Positions in this class must perform programmatic or quality assurance work in the respective specialty/discipline at the program leader level, and serve as a technical expert and provide guidance to a team of technical personnel within the context of assigned projects.

2.    Positions in this class must develop and identify program goals within defined parameters, evaluate program results in response to new regulatory and legislative requirements and develop quality assurance procedures within a specialized unit or an interdisciplinary program.

3.    Positions must be located in the Office of Forensic Science of the Philadelphia Police Department.






·         Performs the technical casework duties of the lower level, Forensic Scientist 3 in the assigned specialty/assignment

·         Performs the duties of the assigned specialty/discipline at the program leader level.

·         Conducts initial analyses of new regulatory and legislative requirements or proposed service enhancements; determines and makes recommendations regarding the scope and direction of a program; develops and sets initial program goals, objectives and work plans; identifies timetables, staffing levels, equipment requirements, and budget needs; conducts initial research work; designs and performs initial experiments; researches current literature, regulations and legislation related to a program field; gathers and analyzes data; selects statistical methods to evaluate test results; develops, tests, and documents methodology; consults with program personnel on interpretation of test results; determines the need for related discipline analyses and plans; coordinates and reviews such analyses.

·         Provides technical direction to a professional staff on an assigned project; evaluates research results; prepares written reports to summarize data, document findings and recommend treatment; makes oral presentations; prepares reports for publication.

·         Prepares quality assurance project plans and standard operating procedures for laboratory programs; keeps current with changes in regulatory and legislative certification requirements; evaluates laboratory compliance with quality assurance procedures; may participate in the evaluation of contractor laboratories.

·         Makes recommendations to management regarding the need for ongoing programs; develops on-going monitoring strategies; oversees implementation of program procedures and protocols; provides technical guidance in the development of computerized databases for the storage of analytical data, communication and response procedures, statistical and computer applications, quality assurance procedures, and sampling and analytical methodologies; provides on-the-job training; reviews results and recommends changes in procedures and protocols.

·         Develops training materials and provides basic instruction to lower level examiners and trainees; trains personnel in the theory and operation of instrumentation for the appropriate specialty.

·         May alter computer-assisted instrumentation to enhance interpretation of results; researches appropriate available computer software to improve instrument interpretive capability.

·         Determines adequacy of department's resources to accomplish program goals; may serve as project officer for consultants; may technically review work on a contract and make recommendations to a technical superior.

·         Serves as resource to the Department in area of expertise; interacts with members of the legal system; interacts with the public for general education purposes or to address issues of concern; arranges evaluation of public responses to areas of departmental responsibility.

·         Presents expert testimony in court that is understandable to non-professional court participants. Appears in court to testify on individual findings of chemical and physical tests; may provide some interpretation of significance of findings.

·         Collaborates with other experts in the OFS to ensure that all integrated examinations across disciplines are performed when required.

·         Follows evidence control procedures to maintain chain-of-evidence integrity; insures evidence is locked securely in designated locker or space before and after analysis.

·         Operates computer consoles to analyze results of tests or to perform mathematical calculations involved in the analyses of evidence.

·         Maintains data records; prepares reports.

·         Communicates findings and conclusions with investigators and attorneys.

·         Maintains compliance with all quality assurances standards for forensic accreditation.

·         Checks instrumentation for validity and reliability against standards and recalibrates.

·         Participates in research projects by performing routine tests.

·         Provides presentations in the field of specialty.

·         Serves on interdisciplinary committees within the OFS

·         Performs related work a required.


Quality Assurance Assignment


Actively performs internal audits across disciplines of the OFS; participates in the preparation and planning for external audits; coordinates external proficiency testing programs; reviews and edits protocols and policies for compliance to national and international quality assurance standards

Develops and implements training and other quality projects to maintain OFS accreditation; monitors unit compliance, tracks progress, recognizes trends, identifies risks, and implements mitigation procedures as necessary. 

Performs basic statistical calculations as they relate to forensic science.

Performs related work a required.




Examines physical evidence for trace materials to be tested with presumptive and confirmatory procedures, including but not limited to, those for the presence of blood, semen, saliva, hair, and other biological material.

Extracts DNA from various biological samples (i.e. blood, semen, saliva, etc.) using DNA extraction techniques, such as, Chelex and organic methods; amplifies extracted DNA for particular genetic markers using PCR technology; prepares samples for DNA analysis and/or outsourced specialty analyses.

Establishes genetic profiles for biological samples collected from crime scenes and reference samples collected from suspects/victims through the use of standard molecular biology techniques, equipment and software, such as capillary electrophoresis analyzers and GeneMapper; compares genetic profiles established from scene samples to genetic profiles established from reference samples.

Performs basic statistical calculations to determine frequencies of matching profiles and advanced statistical calculations to evaluate biological relationships associated with kinship.

Performs related work a required.




Collects and analyzes samples of liquid, solid, and gaseous materials, substances and compounds for qualitative and/or quantitative results; logs in samples in compliance with departmental and national forensic accreditation procedures.

Analyzes macroscopic and microscopic suspected substances for presence of illegal elements, by use traditional and instrumental chemistry techniques; identifies controlled substances, precursors, by products, and substances used for drug dilution; examines and identifies suspected drug paraphernalia; analyzes foodstuffs for the presence of drugs and poisons, and identifies possible poisons; analyzes urine for drug content and quantifies concentrations.

Analyzes samples with wet chemistry methods or standard laboratory equipment and/or advanced instrumentation, such as, atomic absorption/emission spectro-photometers, gas/liquid chromatographs, UV-visible, infra-red spectrophotometers, mass spectrometers, scanning electron microscopes, compound microscopes and/or any related equipment.

Performs related work a required.




            Performs program leader level duties related to forensic digital evidence assignments; analyzes forensic evidence files; validates the originality and authenticity of digital evidence utilizing advanced techniques; determines the type, format, characteristics and proper playback method of digital files; extracts and examines metadata associated with files; captures or converts data from proprietary formats to universal file formats in a forensically sound manner; performs digital examinations and extractions of forensic evidence from cell phones and other media devices with accepted techniques and instruments; utilizes advanced techniques to correct color balance, adjust tonal values, aspect ratios, remove image noise or otherwise correct audible or visible distortions in digital media.

Forensically examines, clarifies or otherwise enhances digital media such as video images, still images, audio tracks and other related digital evidence; uses advanced techniques and software to develop potential suspects from still / video images; uses advanced scientific techniques to calculate speed and direction and other motion vectors from video evidence; uses expert scientific techniques to calculate height, length, distance, and other measurements from image data. 

            Provides expert opinion on artifacts, anomalies and other inconsistencies that can commonly exist within digital audio/video; prepares digital evidence for court exhibition in a manner that gives value to the evidence while maintaining its integrity; prepares official reports regarding the examination of digital evidence for the use of investigators and prosecutors.

            Provides program leader level instruction regarding digital evidence; prepares job aids and bulletins for use by officers in the field; prepares coursework to be used for training forensic examiners or other departmental staff.

Performs related work as required.




Document Assignment


Examines, classifies and/or compares documents, papers, checks, stickers, stamps, impressions, handwriting and other related evidence; utilizes advanced techniques to restore or visualize identifying marks and obliterated or altered evidence.


Firearms/Toolmarks Assignment


Examines, classifies and/or compares firearms, ammunition, tools, toolmarks, and other ballistics evidence; checks files to ascertain if recovered weapons have a previous record of being stolen or wanted as evidence.

Utilizes advanced techniques to restore identifying marks or serial numbers, which may have been obliterated; performs comparative analysis on various comparison microscopes and documents findings through photomicrography and written notes.

Test fires weapons and performs safety checks.

Performs related work a required.


Latent Print Assignment    


Examines and classifies incoming fingerprint impression evidence; enters work received into a computerized tracking program.

Evaluates and enters suitable latent prints into an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) for searching; uses AFIS results to pull files for manual comparison

Makes decisions of individualization based on ACE-V scientific methodology.

Performs related work a required.








·         basic and advanced laboratory techniques and the techniques and equipment used in a forensic laboratory related to the specialty

·         basic program management principles and practices

·         forensic quality assurance practices

·         policies and procedures related to chain of custody

·         policies and procedures related to expert testimony

·         safety practices and procedures as they apply to a forensic laboratory related to the specialty

·         current federal, state and municipal legislative procedures and court decisions regarding forensic sciences

·         city, state, national, international and departmental standards, laws, directives, and guidelines that apply to assignment area

·         specific laboratory, and analytical, and interpretational protocols related to the procedures utilized in the PPD/OFS in the area of assignment

·         guidelines, procedures and regulations from the National Research Council, Scientific/Technical Working Group(s), ISO standards, and any other relevant city, state, national or international forensic standards, and the implementation of the recommendation(s) within the laboratory environment

·         the principles and practices of quality assurance as they relate to the laboratory setting

·         the critical elements involved in the preparation of a scientific program and its successful implementation

·         the application of information systems as they relate to forensic analyses, data analyses and report generation

·         research methods and techniques

·         principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.




·         the principles of biology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, forensic science, and statistics

·         basic biology and molecular biology techniques and equipment used in a forensic biology laboratory

·         National Standards for Forensic DNA Analysis




·         the principles, methods and practices of chemistry, in particular analytical chemistry

·         mathematics and statistics as they relate to chemistry

·         techniques and equipment used in a forensic chemistry laboratory




·         methods and practices for editing and adjusting digital still/video images and audio tracks

·         principles, methods and practices of forensic still/video image and audio analysis

·         tools and equipment used for the extraction, manipulation and examination of digital evidence

·         standards, guidelines and best practices for the handling of digital evidence

·         mathematics and statistics as they relate to digital multimedia evidence




·         the principles of comparative analyses used in a forensic science laboratory for pattern evidence, specific to the area of assignment.

·         mathematics and statistics as they relate to forensic pattern evidence

·         reference standards in relation to the area of assignment




·         national accreditation procedures and policies

·         ISO 17025 standards and audit techniques

·         basic and advanced techniques used in a laboratory.

·         forensic quality assurance practices.

·         policies and procedures related to chain of custody

·         policies and procedures related to expert testimony

·         safety practices and procedures as they apply to a molecular biology laboratory






·         identifying characteristics inherent in forensic samples

·         independently performing forensic analysis according to established protocols as a qualified expert in the area of specialty or assignment

·         establishing, developing, and maintaining technical programs in the area of assignment

·         representing the PPD/OFS on committees or working groups at the national level.

·         maximizing efficiencies and working the most complicated forensic cases.

·         utilizing current laboratory equipment and techniques in the assigned discipline.

·         maintaining forensic quality assurance standards

·         evaluating statistical data

·         safe and proper handling of laboratory equipment, reagents, and evidence to include items of a potentially hazardous nature

·         communicating in both written and verbal form

·         training junior members of the staff

·         providing guidance and training to customers, partners and the public in the area of specialty

·         representing the PPD/OFS at both technical and non-technical events




·         applying advanced principles and practices of forensic still/video image and audio analysis






·         Direct scientific and technical personnel towards the successful achievement of goals and objectives

·         Train various professionals and technicians in scientific procedures and techniques

·         Simplify, improve, adapt and standardize analytical procedures necessary to resolve problems

·         Prepare and interpret reports detailing the results of tests and analyses

·         Coordinate program activity with scientific and technical personnel in order to achieve program data quality objectives prioritize work and meet deadlines

·         independently analyze forensic evidence submitted in the area of specialization or assignment

·         assume responsibility over the most difficult and complicated casework

·         perform technical reviews of analysis and reports

·         prioritize work and meet deadlines

·         enter and evaluate statistical data

·         continually develop and advance expertise in the principles, practices, materials and equipment used in the assigned discipline

·         use and maintain sophisticated equipment in the assignment area

·         perform the tests, examinations and protocols required in the area of assignment

·         express ideas and facts clearly and effectively both orally and in writing

·         distinguish colors and visually analyze analytical results, which may include color changes, pattern recognition, graphs, charts, tables, and other forms of electronic data

·         perform standard tests and make accurate analyses, using quality control techniques

·         establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates and public

·         understand and follow oral and written instructions

·         maintain accurate records and prepare reports

·         testify effectively in court

·         operate a computer console to analyze results of tests or to perform calculations involved in the analysis of evidence

·         serve on interdisciplinary working groups and/or committees within the OFS

·         represent the PPD/OFS to both technical and non-technical audiences in a professional manner

·         represent the PPD/OFS on national programs, committees and/or working groups

·         critically evaluate current protocols and policies, and offer constructive solutions for improvement and advancement of the OFS mission

·         serve as a mentor and trainer to junior OFS staff


MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests.  Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 11/17.)




Completion of a bachelor's degree program at an accredited college or university with major coursework in:


SPECIALTY:             DEGREES               


BIOLOGY:                 Any of the following degrees, which include at least 3 credits in                                             EACH of the following courses: molecular biology, genetics and                                           biochemistry:


1.    Chemistry

2.    Biological Science

3.    Forensic Science

4.    Biomedical Engineering





Candidates must also have, prior to appointment, successfully completed 3 coursework credits or have documented training/experience in population genetics or statistics, in accordance with FBI Quality Assurance Standards.



1.    Chemistry




      Any of the following degrees with 24 semester hours in chemistry or       biochemistry:


1.    Biological Science

2.    Forensic Science

3.    Physical or Natural Science

4.    Applied Science

5.    Chemical Engineering






                                    1.         COMPUTER FORENSICS

                                    2.         COMPUTER SCIENCE/INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

                                    3.         DIGITAL FILMMAKING AND VIDEO PRODUCTION

                                    4.         VISUAL EFFECTS AND MOTION GRAPHICS

                                    5.         MEDIA STUDIES

                                    6.         PHOTOGRAPHY



1.    Chemistry

2.    Biological Science

3.    Forensic Science

4.    Physical or Natural Science

5.    Applied Science

6.    Engineering




1.    SCIENCE OR NON-SCIENCE DEGREE with coursework in statistics or applied research methods







            Five years of forensic science work, two years of which shall have been as a qualified examiner, equivalent to a Forensic Scientist 3, in the preservation, examination, handling, and comparative analysis of items of evidence collected in criminal investigations in the assigned specialty/discipline, with responsibility for providing basic instruction to junior examiners and trainees and assisting in the development of training materials.


NOTE: Employees in the Fingerprint Identification Specialist series of classes (6C12-6C14) with permanent Civil Service Status prior to September 17, 2014, who promoted to the Forensic Scientist 1 class, and who had completed a required specific training course as identified on the class specification prior to September 17, 2014, will be waived from the degree requirement for promotion to this class from the Forensic Scientist 3 class for the Pattern Evidence Specialty, Latent Print Assignment only. 


NOTE: Candidates must provide documentation support their qualification as a qualified examiner. See below for details.


QUALIFIED EXAMINER DOCUMENTATION - Must be provided to the Police Department at the time of interview.


Proof of successful completion of a training program within an accredited forensic science organization, which resulted in qualification as an expert (forensic examiner) in the area of specialty and assignment.  Qualification must have included independent forensic casework, routine proficiency testing, and testimony as an expert in the area of specialty/discipline. External candidates must provide documentation to support their qualification as an expert.  Documentation should include:


1.     A certificate or letter from an accredited forensic laboratory that details the area and date of qualification.

2.    Proof of the laboratory’s accreditation from either ASCLD-LAB, FQS, or another ISO 17025 forensic accrediting body.

3.    Proof of successful completion of routine proficiency test may include copies of proficiency test results, a summary document from the laboratory’s quality assurance program, or other documentation that details scope and completion of proficiency testing.

4.    Proof of testimony experience may include a copy of a court transcript from one or more trials, or a letter from a court official detailing the expert’s experience testifying in court as an expert in a specific discipline.


NOTE: Employees must maintain status as a qualified Forensic Examiner during tenure of employment as a Forensic Scientist 4.


NOTE: Selective Factor Certification may be utilized, as needed, to fill specific positions. In accordance with Civil Service Regulation 11.032 - Selective Factor Certification - the appointing authority may request certification of eligible candidates with one or more of the required degrees and/or specific experience to fill specific positions in this class. Certification to fill such positions will be made from the two highest-ranking eligible candidates on the eligible list who possess the specified degree and/or experience.




            Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.

            Ability to visually distinguish test results, which may include color changes, pattern recognition, and interpretation of electronic data (tables, graphs and charts).



            Possession of a valid proper class motor vehicle operator's license as issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to appointment and during tenure of employment as a Forensic Scientist 4 if required by work assignment.


                                                                                                                           Class Established:

Spec. Revisions: CSC: 4/13, Ad. Board: 5/13

Spec. Revisions: CSC - 9/14, Ad. Board - 11/14

Spec. Revisions: CSC – 5/16, Ad. Board – 6/16

Latest Spec. Revisions: CSC - 10/17, Ad. Board - 11/17