Women drawn to Metro’s crime scene analyst work

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Although law enforcement is primarily a male dominated field, the makeup of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s crime scene analysts continues to shift towards women. 

In fact, it was six female CSA’s who responded to Mandalay Bay and the Route 91 concert venue after the shooting on Oct. 1, 2017.

It’s not clear what’s attracting females to the profession but it was women who started piecing the evidence together after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The investigation continues on Oct. 4, 2017, at the scene of a mass shooting three days earlier at a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

“It was definitely a powerful moment for everyone,” said Amy Nemcik, graveyard shift CSA supervisor.

She sits at her desk and recalls 1 October.

The Crime Scene Analyst Supervisor and her team responded to the south Las Vegas Strip after a gunman fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his hotel room on a crowd attending a country music festival. 

“I had five women working for me,” Nemcik said. “So, myself and two responded to Mandalay Bay. I had two that responded to the peripheral area of the venue and I had one that responded into the venue.”

Reporter Cristen Drummond: “You went up to the 32nd floor?”
Amy Nemcik: “Yes.”
Reporter Cristen Drummond: “What was it like that night walking in?”
Amy Nemcik: “I had a lot of various surreal feelings getting there but once I was there, it was business as usual.”

The women focused on their training. From taking photos, writing notes and processing the room. 

“I definitely had some moments of various surreal almost like euphoric, not in a good way any shape or form but almost like a little out of body moment like wow, this is huge but it was just, get to work,” Nemcik said.

Work, Nemcik says TV shows like CSI tend to glamorize often.

“I don’t wear high heels to work, very little makeup, if none. It can be very physical, you’re on your feet, you’re moving around, crawling, crouching, digging bullets out of walls.”

CSA’s look for clues to piece crimes together.

8 News Now spent a day with CSA Dayshift Supervisor, Kristin Grammas, to watch the team in action.

“We’re going to go through the vehicle and see if there’s any other evidence as to what happened.” 
The CSA’s here are all women. A noticeable difference from a decade ago.

“Over time it has evolved to the point where we are primarily female, we have very few males,” Nemcik said.

Grammas talks about what she thinks attracts women to the profession.

“It’s a very detail oriented position and so I think that’s something that they love.”

A job not only requiring patience in the field but writing reports in the office. 

“Kind of a slow process, we’re not fast,” Grammas said.

“When I was working in the field, for about every hour you were out on a crime scene, you were spending at least an hour back here in the office doing additional documentation,” Nemcik added. “It’s not interesting so it wouldn’t be highlighted in shows.”

But it’s important.

“Absolutely critical because there’s no other way that we can communicate with the detectives with the forensic scientists next door,” Nemcik said.

Back at the car, the CSA’s finish their work and make a determination that the person died from suicide.

CSA’s see the worst, including the night of 1 October. Some including Nemcik continue to process their emotions.

“I put it in a box and it’s just in that box and every once in a while I open the box a little bit and deal with somethings and I just put it back in the box,” she said.

Her team from that night split up. But Nemcik knows they share an experience they can’t forget. 

“We definitely have a very unique bond with those five women that will last our entire careers and probably past that, I hope.”  

Metro recognized the entire CSA department at an awards ceremony last month for their 1 October work.
 

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