Critical-incident trauma and crime scene investigation: A review of police organizational challenges and interventions

Richard D. Clark, John Carroll University
Catherine Distelrath, The University Of Michigan
Gloria S. Vaquera, John Carroll University
Ernest DeZolt, John Carroll University


It is hypothesized that exposure to critical-incident trauma affects crime scene investigators. Individual and organizational attribution factors are analyLed through the use of self-report data collected from crime scene investigators working in a large Midwestern state. This paper analyzes key variables in the job of a crime scene investigator in an effort to determine the level of stress related to CSI work and the nature of organizational support available to the investigator. Although initial findings suggest a high level of satisfaction with the job, the nature of the job can lead to high levels of both professional and personal stress, with work-related stress often driving personal stress. Policy implications for reducing officer stress as well as future research questions are discussed.