Forensic investigator: 'We get down and dirty'

Bryant says taking video of a scene captures the crime scene as is / Sarah Bleau

Lt. John Bryant has been the Crime Scene Unit Supervisor at the Albany Police Department for 16 years.

"We are the eyes of the victim. Whereas we can see, when the victim was there... it shows everything as is, as it was when this scene happened," says Bryant.

Bryant's first objective on a crime scene is to video tape the scene before it's contaminated.

"Then after I video tape the scene Jennifer my partner will come behind me and photograph everything," he says. "We're trying to get the scene as it is. So we walk through it, you can put yourself behind the camera and see what we see as we go through."

What people see on TV shows such as CSI or NYPD Blue is not at all what Bryant says goes on in real life with the APD Crime Scene Unit.

"That is for show. That is for entertainment only. The programs where you see the scientist walk out in their high heels and white suits and stuff like that. We do not go like that. We wear this or there is another uniform that we wear and we get down and dirty," says Bryant.

Dirty, he says, is how investigators oftentimes describe their uniforms when the return to the office from a scene. At the office, video tape analysis and finger print processing are Bryant's daily duties.

"Normally we do them just about every day and we have the officers on the streets that be fingerprinting different stuff they take their cards and turn it into what we call property management then they send everything out to AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) at the sheriff's department and everything is processed that way," says Bryant.

Bryant says his assigned shift is eight hours but he could be called out at any point during the day. He says seeing a case come to a resolution and giving the family closure makes those long hours worth it.

Being on call 24-7 and seeing gruesome scenes has not caused Bryant's dedication to the job to waiver even after 16 years.

"I was thinking 'Oh this is so gross I cannot do this' but it comes with the job. Somebody's got to do it. I do it and I keep going. I try not to let it bother me," says Bryant.