The Real World of Crime Scene Investigators - 8 News NOW

Cindy Cesare, Reporter

The Real World of Crime Scene Investigators

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Yolanda McClary, Metro Police C.S.A. Yolanda McClary, Metro Police C.S.A.

Contact Reporter Cindy Cesare.

If you watch C.S.I., you might think that it only takes a matter of hours to investigate crimes because high-tech equipment just spits out the answers. But is it really that easy? Eyewitness News attended a crime scene conference and separates reality from Hollywood.

Yolanda McClary, a real Metro crime scene analyst, whom Marg Helgenberger's character is based on, doesn't get frustrated by the Hollywood version that people perceive about her job.

McClary says, "They'll ask, is it real? And my usual comment is, well they do the best they can. I like what they do. The only problem is, I can't solve it in an hour usually -- wish we could."

At this annual conference of the International Association for Identification, crime scene investigators from across the country are taught updated technology and reminded that their jobs are more complicated than TV crimes.

Metro's Yolanda McClary said, "Technology has come a long way from what it was and that's a good thing. But what people have to realize while watching the show, a computer doesn't just spit something at for us."

Crime scene investigators are re-reminded that they don't wear several hats like their characters on TV. And prosecutors tell them to not testify in court about an area of expertise that they are not familiar with.

Frank Coumou, Clark County prosecutor says, "TV is Hollywood. They show a guy that wears five or ten different hats in different forensic fields. He's either a pathologist, a gun expert, a latent fingerprint examiner. I mean this guy has more expertise than the average guy that truly works out in the field."

Coumou, with the Clark County District Attorney's office, says that many jurors think that when C.S.A's come to court to testify that they should know a variety of forensic areas. That's not the case.

When asked if the shows make it tougher for him, Frank Coumou replies, "I think it has. I think over the last couple of years, I think jurors now start thinking that is every case."

Coumou reminds the investigators that the details of crime scenes are important for prosecution and those details should never be rushed. "A witness can come in and give different stories. But the physical evidence is far more greater to me as a prosecutor than just relying solely on eyewitness testimony."

Crime scene investigators realize that they have to constantly dispel the Hollywood version of their jobs. But they don't mind because they finally get a chance to show off the importance of their work.

Local crime scene investigators still talk with the show's producers, giving them technical advice.

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