With today’s challenging economy, we all need to figure out the most cost effective ways to do our jobs. The good news is that we actually have plenty of excellent, affordable options available. In some cases, these options may require extra time and effort on your part. But by doing your research and planning accordingly, you’ll stretch your department’s dollars without sacrificing quality. In this issue, I’ll provide an overview of some key areas where you can save money.
Having the right light sources can make all the difference when you’re investigating crime scenes. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on just one light. But you don’t have to. These days, portable light sources are much improved. In some cases, they’re even brighter than what you would find in the lab. With prices ranging from around $35 for the Micro Blue light, up to a high of about $1,500 for an ultra light, you can afford the right combination of lights for your department.
Crime Scene Kits
Every CSI needs a good crime scene kit. And there are plenty of companies out there selling pre-packaged kits. But why pay extra for a kit dictated by these companies? Take the time to build your own kit. Yes, it will involve more effort on your part, but you’ll save a lot of money and end up with only the things you really need. Let’s look at some specifics:
As you build your kit, think about what things you should do and what things you can leave for the lab. For example, you should always determine whether a stain is blood or simply spilled paint or ketchup. But why not let the lab determine if the blood is human or animal? By leaving that question for the lab, you can simplify what you need in your kit. Instead of spending more for premixed chemicals that have a short shelf life, you can go with less expensive ampules that will stay fresh until you need them. These ampules will quickly show you if you have blood that you need to collect.
Fingerprinting Powders and Brushes
Some of the most essential tools in your kit are your fingerprinting powders and brushes. These days, there are a multitude of colors out there. But just because they exist doesn’t mean you have to have every one of them. All you need is one color that will work on dark surfaces and one color that will work on light, and a fluorescent. Once you decide on the kinds of powders you need, instead of buying individual jars, buy one large container and fill containers for each officer as needed.