CITY OF PHILADELPHIA PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT
FIREARMS EXAMINATIONS SPECIALIST
This is firearms identification work at the advanced level in the Police Department’s Firearms Identification Unit, conducting forensic examinations, analyzing and identifying firearms, ammunition and related weapons utilizing various methods and techniques. An employee in this class works on the most complex and specialized cases and serves as the lead technical trainer for lower level examiners. Work involves the use of specialized equipment and chemicals in forensic investigations and is performed under conditions which can only be partially controlled. This employee makes positive identifications and provides expert testimony describing and interpreting methods used and conclusions drawn. Work is performed under the supervision of a technical firearms superior.
ALLOCATING FACTORS: (The following conditions must be met for a position to be allocated to this class.)
- The position must perform advanced level firearms identification work.
- Positions must be located in the Firearms Identification Unit in the Police Department.
TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF WORK (ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY)
- Functions as an expert and lead trainer in the area of firearms examinations; trains new members of the unit; provides technical guidance to lower level examiners; reviews work; conducts training and informational sessions for students at Police Academy or law school, District Attorney’s or Medical Examiner’s office; utilizes computer software to prepare presentations, charts, graphs and statistics which demonstrate and support information being provided.
- Examines and identifies firearms, automatic conversions, ammunition and weapons; determines the make, model, and serial number of firearms; reviews records in order to ascertain if recovered weapons have a previous record of being stolen or wanted as evidence; determines firearm operability, disassembles firearm, identifies operability problem, repairs and re-assembles firearm; test fires weapons in water tanks and other recovery systems; compares the recovered bullets and fired cartridge cases with those recovered at crime scenes or in IBIS database; utilizes comparison microscope to make bullet specimens and cartridge case comparison; takes photographs of ammunition employing photomicrographic techniques.
- Identifies and restores serial numbers and identifying marks by employing various processes such as chemical etching, polishing, electrolytic, or magnetic particle separation; utilizes a variety of chemicals and specialized equipment.
- Prepares technical reports on all examinations of evidence which include description of weapon or ammunition and results of test firings and/or comparisons.
- Provides expert testimony in court regarding the results and conclusions of tests on and comparisons of firearms and toolmarks; attends pre-trial conference; discusses and interprets methods used and conclusions drawn with District Attorney; maintains status as an expert witness.
- Conducts residue tests and experimental research into specialized areas of firearms and ammunition.
- Responds to crime scenes; inspects evidence; makes determinations of firearm caliber and trajectory.
- Makes calculations to determine range and velocity, utilizing equipment such as, chronograph and sound meter.
- Keeps abreast of new developments and current practices in the field of forensic science; participates in continuous training seminars and programs offered by firearm manufacturers or recognized organizations, such as AFTE (Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners); does extensive reading in professional journals and magazines.
- Performs related work as required.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- the operations and safe handling of firearms and ammunition.
- the makes, models, and characteristics of domestic and foreign firearms and ammunition.
- the equipment used to test and identify firearms and ammunition.
- the principles and practices of firearms and ammunition identification and comparison.
- current practices and principles of firearms identification.
- techniques utilized in the restoration of identifying marks, such as toolmark or serial numbers.
- federal, state and municipal laws governing firearms and evidence.
- techniques used in determining trajectory.
- laboratory techniques used in the performance of microscopic examinations as they pertain to firearms and ammunition.
- basic computer operations and specialized firearms related programs.
- training others on technical information relating to ballistics.
- the care and operation of laboratory equipment, especially microscopes, scales and firearm testing devices.
- positively identifying firearms, ammunition and toolmarks.
- providing expert testimony regarding the identification of firearms and toolmarks.
- make precise and accurate microscopic examinations.
- fire a variety of weapons safely.
- disassemble firearms and restore to original condition.
- develop accurate scientific conclusions.
- make calculations to determine range and velocity.
- provide technical assistance to police officers, district attorneys, crime scene investigators.
- review the work of lower level examiners.
- train others in the techniques used to identify firearms, ammunition and toolmarks.
- learn new methods in forensic examinations and firearms identification.
- maintain precise records and prepare reports.
- conduct searches in firearms databases.
- use photographic equipment to document evidence.
- establish and maintain effective working relationships with the public and associates.
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 6/06.)
- Education equivalent to completion of the twelfth school grade.
- Three years of firearms examination experience.
- Two years of experience in the class of Firearms Examiner, test firing, examining, identifying and classifying firearms, toolmarks and ammunition.
PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
- Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of
a position in this class.
LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS AND/OR CERTIFICATES
- 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 Firearms Examination Specialist.
- Possession of a valid permit to carry a firearm issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections during tenure of employment as a Firearms Examination Specialist.
PAY RANGE: 20
CSC: 5/06, Ad Board: 6/06
END OF JOB CLASS SPECIFICATION - 6C06