This petite blonde with the glimmering smile certainly has the glamorous look of the crime scene investigators seen on television, but her dream to become one was anything but fictional. Krista Jeffrey is the first CSI to join the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office with a degree in forensic science. After completing her education at Baylor University along with her county morgue and funeral home internships, Jeffrey knew she could take her passion for wanting to help victim’s families and turn it into a career.
“I wanted to help families,” Jeffrey said. “Plus I also grew up watching CSI, and even though it’s nothing like the TV show, I knew I could help if someone died or broke into your house. I could help find the persons who did that.”
Jeffrey covers anything from burglaries, homicides to suicides and her job includes collecting on-the-scene photos, fingerprints and any other evidence that will in turn help the ESCO solve its cases. When asked how her job compares to the on-screen portrayals, she was adamant that it’s two different worlds.
“We don’t have big fancy machines that can solve it in a minute, and lots of it takes several months and even years,” Jeffrey said. “You don’t usually solve a murder in one day or days, and you’re not going to always be able to find the person by their fingerprints.”
A typical day in Jeffrey’s crime solving world consists of getting calls from either ESCO Criminal Investigations Sergeant Rick White or dispatch.
“I show up to the scene with all of my equipment in my car,” Jeffrey said. “I’ll start taking pictures of the scene and finger printing any items at the house, especially larger ones that the person might have touched. If I don’t get called out, I’ll process items.”
Jeffrey especially plays a vital role in this part of the job. As White filters the crime cases that include her, he knows how pertinent her involvement is in bringing successful closure to their cases.
“Krista is integral in what we do,” White said. “The function of the crime scene is what provides us the foundation that we have as we develop the suspects and lets us develop a series of questions to talk with the suspect about. The results from the forensics at the crime scene gives us the ability to know whether that person is lying or not.”
White also adds that since starting in law enforcement 32 years ago, he has seen immense changes emerge that have added to his department’s crime solving success. He says the presumptive tests to process gun residue and the interpretation of blood splatter weren’t available, but that’s the kind of expertise Jeffrey adds.
“She brings a greater ability to solve a greater number of crimes,” White said. “We had a big case where we had five crime scenes that were required to be worked simultaneously that involved capital murder, kidnapping, robbery and arson. She was able as we’re out tracking down leads to go to these scenes and conduct analysis providing us with information that gives us an avenue to complete our investigation.”
Jeffrey aggress that it’s this teamwork that keeps her coming back to solve these cases.
“We were all awake for that whole 24 hours processing that big case,” Jeffrey said. “When it came down to the end and being able to help that family, well it was pretty neat. I really like the science part of it. I feel like every crime scene we go out on, we find new ways to process that scene. “
Jeffrey knows that even though the hardest part is seeing peoples emotions and knowing they are upset, she hopes they know she’s trying to help them put their lives back together. She hopes this true calling will make a difference.
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