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Interviewer Name: Heriberto, Ryan, Alessia, valeria

Mentor Name: David Garber


Date of Interview: 5/28/19
Device on which interview is being recorded: IPhone 8 (Heriberto’s)
Interview audio file uploaded to Google Drive and saved as ​Rodriguez, H_Mentor Interview Audio

Interview Question

1. What is your job title?

2.How long have you been in this field of work? Have you worked for other businesses in the same capacity?

3.How did you become interested in forensics?

4.What kind of training and education is required for your type of career?

5. What are your current responsibilities for your job?


1. Do you have others either above or below you that assist with your responsibilities? If yes, how do they contribute to job?
2. Collaboration among your coworkers is important, especially on an accident or a crime scene, how does your job collaborate with the
police at these scenes?
3. You have worked lots of traffic scenes that had many facets to them. What is the most sophisticated scene you have worked on? What
made it difficult? What made it interesting?
4. Forensics has evolved over the last 10-15 years, what is something that you did when you first started your career that has evolved its
simplicity, from gathering to analyzing?
5. What does a typical day entail?
6. Now that you have been in this field of work for quite some time, do you foresee yourself pursuing any other aspects in your field? If yes
what? If no, why not?
7. You bring on interns from HTHCV, what do you hope to pass along to the interns as you mentor them in your line of work?

Speaker [00:00:05] So what do you exactly do?

Speaker [00:00:05] Uh basically I'm a crime scene investigator. I would proceed to crime scenes, document through photographs and sketching,
collect evidence.I do other specialized searches.] Blood spatter analysis and trajectory analysis.

Speaker [00:00:27] How long have you in this field of work and have you worked in other businesses that are similar to the one you're in now.
Speaker [00:00:37] I have been a crime scene investigator for 19 years.

Speaker [00:00:43] Prior to becoming a crime scene investigator I was worked on a Forensic Drug Testing Laboratory where we tested the urine
samples of all military station west of the Mississippi for drugs.

Speaker [00:00:58] Prior to that I worked in a jail.

Speaker [00:01:03] Were you a correction officer.

Speaker [00:01:04] I was not I was a recreation specialist.

Speaker [00:01:11] When did you become interested in forensic science.

Speaker [00:01:15] Um probably. I don't know. Twenty two twenty three years ago when I was working in the jail. Kind of a dead end job. Not really
going anywhere without so I'd watch New case studies

Speaker [00:01:32] And forensic science on Discovery channel which I thought was really cool. And there was a university meeting where I was
living I had a forensic science program.

Speaker [00:01:40] So a bachelor's program. So I enrolled in that took the forensics classes in the criminal justice classes and I was able to get a
job.

Speaker [00:01:54] Um what kind of training or education. Did you require to go into this type of job.

Speaker [00:02:01] So I went to college and I got a degree in biology

Speaker [00:02:07] And basically that just means you need more schooling because you can't really do too much with biology. Like I said. So I was
working in the jail. I saw that there a forensic science program to get a bachelors degree and all I needed was 12 classes forensics and criminal
justice my biology all transferred over so I did that and got my degree in forensic science.

Speaker [00:02:31] What schools did you go to. The universities that you went to.

Speaker [00:02:35] So I started out a community college in my hometown Rochester community college first two years and then went to Creighton
University in Omaha and that's where I got my bachelor's in biology and then my forensics degree is from shaman university in Honolulu.

Speaker [00:02:56] Did you get a master's degree.


Speaker [00:02:58] I do have a masters degree of a Masters of Public Administration from San Diego State.

Speaker [00:03:08] Is that all the education that you like went to after that. Did you come here to the state. Yeah yeah yeah. So those are all the
universities I attended.

Speaker [00:03:22] Do you think a doctorate in brain science wouldn't be beneficial or do you think a masters like cap off depends on what you want
to do.

Speaker [00:03:32] If you want to do research and forensics and a doctor it would be the way to go if you just want to be licensed. Just want to be if
you want to just if you want to work like actual work rather than theoretical stuff then I don't even know if a masters degree is necessary. Bachelors
Degree is sufficient but masters would help you. Yeah.

Speaker [00:03:57] Um do you have others either above or below you.

Speaker [00:04:00] There's just responsibilities?

Speaker [00:04:08] Well no, Nobody above me the crime lab manager. He doesn't process crime scenes he manages.

Speaker [00:04:15] Uh there's nobody below me that helps me. But there are. There is one other girl whose lateral is kind of same position I am that
does crime scenes.

Speaker [00:04:24] Tara right?

Speaker [00:04:26] Tara Yes.

Speaker [00:04:37] you have worked lots of traffic scenes and many sense to them. What was the most sophisticated scene I worked on and what
made it difficult and what made it interesting.

Speaker [00:04:51] Traffic scenes or all scenes.

Speaker [00:04:52] I see all scenes. Well there's two different scenes that come to mind. One was a. Case that I've mentioned to you before. The
body in a barrel case.

Speaker [00:05:11] Essentially we ended it. We started with a person in a barrel that was dumped in the ocean.
Speaker [00:05:17] And through investigative work we're able to connect him to his killers essentially. And from there we're able to document the
killer's path from the time we believe he was killed to the time that he was dumped in the ocean. All through surveillance video of surveillance video
from convenience stores gas stations what I referenced but pretty much documented the whole path of that crime on the surveillance video. That
one my work wasn't too involved in documenting it but I was part of it.

Speaker [00:05:59] I think the toughest scene that I've had whereas my documentation was a homicide scene that we had on Broadway a tattoo
shop here on Broadway and there is a big bloody fight and the guy ended up getting beaten and died but there were so many blood stains in that
case that to separate and analyze all the different stains probably it took me nine hours to do it.

Speaker [00:06:29] So that's probably the most complex scene that.

Speaker [00:06:31] When you started to become a forensics speslist.Did you ever feel uncomfortable with seeing dead bodies. or graphic scene?

Speaker [00:06:49] Well yeah I always wondered what happened.

Speaker [00:06:53] I think it's opposite.

Speaker [00:06:57] When I was starting out I was single I was young and didn't really bother me. I'd see dead people and I'd be like Wow that's
awesome. Kind of thing. But nowadays I think it's harder because I have a family I have kids. Oh kid. I think it's harder now seeing dead people
because you relate that to your family. So I think it's the opposite.

Speaker [00:07:25] So do you work through that when it gets to intence.

Speaker [00:07:26] When it gets to I don't know. I just uh I guess repress it.

Speaker [00:07:40] I don't really know. I don't really deal with it other than. Well that really sucks. I wish I hope that doesn't happen to my kid.

Speaker [00:07:48] It doesn't happen to my family but it's a big part of the job is to be able to separate what you see from your real life. That's what
everybody thinks is a great job and like you meet people and they're like oh you're crime scene investigator great. That's awesome. Tell us some
stories and I'm thinking you don't want to know these stories so you don't want to see dead people. It's not normal.

Speaker [00:08:13] What is a typical day for you?

Speaker [00:08:16] Meit isn't that exciting.

Speaker [00:08:18] I mean a lot of paperwork a lot of admin stuff few meetings here in there, report writing.
Speaker [00:08:29] It's not that exciting but when we do get the major scene it turns into like two or three days of pure chaos of late 18 hour days
and traveling here traveling there. I need to get this done.

Speaker [00:08:45] I get that on. And then it kind of dies off.

Speaker [00:08:53] From being that you've been here for a long time what do you think you've taken wonder. What is the biggest takeaway that
you've that you would take away from being here.

Speaker [00:09:10] Biggest take away from working here.

Speaker [00:09:13] Or something really big that you learned.

Speaker [00:09:17] Um I don't know I guess.

Speaker [00:09:24] Be nice to people. Basically whether it's your co-workers whether it's suspects whether it's victims whatever happens to be how
you get more but just being kind and gracious then you do you know fighting for what you think is right.

Speaker [00:09:52] Forensics has evolved over the last 10 to 15 years. What is something that you did when you started your career. and has
evoled its simplicity from gathering and analyzing evidence.

Speaker [00:10:04] The biggest change that I've undergone is going from non accredited labs which back when I started that wasn't that common to
accreditation.

Speaker [00:10:17] So the standards that we have to follow became more strict. How we handle evidence. I wouldn't say is more strict but there's
more documentation and how we do it. We got to be able to show not only say we did it but actually show that we did that. Maintain the strong chain
of custody didn't alter the evidence. That sort of thing. I think that's the biggest change. The other thing is CSI effect ever since TV shows come on
juries expect you to do more at a crime scene than what you normally do because I've seen it on TV. So being able to explain. Well yes that can be
done but in this case it wasn't done because of this. That's a big challenge that we have to face to.

Speaker [00:11:10] What is the CSI effect?

Speaker [00:11:14] So the TV show CSI. Right.

Speaker [00:11:19] It's a drama. So nothing about that show is actually about the job but everybody thinks that's what the job is like. One person
goes in and takes pictures of the crime scene collects evidence and goes and interviews the suspect back in the station is talking to the witness and
not. That's what they show on TV but in real life there's more people involved the investigation as a crime scene investigator. We just deal with
evidence alone and only that we don't interview witnesses we don't interview suspects or anything like that. So being able to tell a jury that what you
see on TV isn't what we do because the is the toughest thing because they believe that's how it is. So I'm trying to explain to them why didn't you
test that DNA on that bloody gun or whatever happens to be it's like well I'm not a DNA analyst I'm not trained to be that's not what I do I collect
evidence document bloodstain patterns I don't do that portion of it. So that's kind of the CSI effect.

Speaker [00:12:25] Do you believe that forensic science is broken.

Speaker [00:12:34] No I do not believe that and I report that says forensic science is broken. Do I think there's more that we can do in forensic
science. Yes. Do I think that some of the aspects of forensic science are not based on science. Sure.

Speaker [00:12:51] But the majority of what we do more than majority of the different sections different analysis that are done are all based on
science. So do I believe it's broken. No. Do I think there's parts that need help. Yes. Do I think there's bad people that work in forensics. Possibly.

Speaker [00:13:12] But all in all they're not forensic science is not broken.

Speaker [00:13:26] Know you've been in this field for quite some time. Do you see yourself pursuing any other aspects like any other jobs.

Speaker [00:13:35] So my ultimate goal has been since I started to be crime my manager. So yeah that's where I want to go. Hopefully one day I'm
sitting in the office and I'm not on call going out to crime scenes and whatnot.

Speaker [00:13:55] Did you ever before getting into the job did you want to do something like in a different aspect of like police. Or were you always
just always interested for forensics.

Speaker [00:14:08] No I wasn't always interested in forensics. When I went to college I didn't know what I wanted to be. I was a P.A. school for a
little bit. I was in pharmacy school. I did grad school and immunology never finished any of those.

Speaker [00:14:26] I just happened upon an opportunity to move to Hawaii. So I did and came across this thing and that's all I ended up here.

Speaker [00:14:47] Question You bring students from High Tech High what do you hope interns as a mentor whatwould you pass along in your line
of work.

Speaker [00:14:59] I think the biggest thing that I try to pass along to you guys is that the project based learning that you guys are doing actually
applies to the workplace right. That's why I gave you that project from day one and I stepped back and let you handle it right. Because that's what
you guys do. I think that's the biggest thing that I'm trying to to show you. To teach you guys.
Speaker [00:15:25] A question kind of relating to that. When did you find high tech high. Like when did you first discover it.

Speaker [00:15:34] Well let's say like six years ago kind of two different ways.

Speaker [00:15:41] So we our old manager brought in two students from high tech whose parents worked here and they did a project but around
that time my daughter was going into school so we were looking at different options for her and we saw high tech charter school. So I looked into it.

Speaker [00:16:01] I'm kind of leery about that project based learning at first.

Speaker [00:16:05] Then we went to the family night or whatever the session and get to know the school so I could see the benefits of it. And then
once we got her in there and actually learn you know it's good teaching for certain personalities. And I thought that was a good fit for my daughter
so that's kind of where my knowledge of high tech started.

Speaker [00:16:50] Do you ever get that feeling in you're working it gets really really hard. Like that sensation like you just want to give up.

Speaker [00:17:00] Yeah.

Speaker [00:17:01] Normally after about ten hours twelve hours work in a scene and want to give up but and then you want to take shortcuts and
that kind of thing and then you end up screwing yourself in the end. So it's just better to. I don't know normally at that point all the rest or eat or
whatever happens to me and then I'll get back on it and continue doing the job. You know keep my capabilities and instead taking shortcuts.

Speaker [00:17:25] With those 18 hour days Is it like you having you here or analysing or is it that like you been out at the scene.

Speaker [00:17:37] Well it depends. So yeah depending on the scene we can be out there forever.

Speaker [00:17:44] The longest I've spent at the scene is twenty three hours and then normally the number of hours you spend at the scene double
that four time in the lab.

Speaker [00:17:59] So yeah it's both at the scene you spent a lot of hours but also here processing evidence getting that done. There's a lot of
hours there too because normally there's a crunch. Crime happens persons arrested. He needs to be charged within three days and a lot of
evidence that we need or that the D.A. needs to be done by the time they go to court. So we're we're in a crunch time to get everything done.

Speaker [00:18:26] I can imagine that's quite stressful. Is there a way you manage all that stress. It's not like an overload.

Speaker [00:18:34] Just get it done once it's done the stress is done. All right. So there is a lot of like oh we need to do this. We need you do that.
But I got to do this I got to do it.
Speaker [00:18:44] There's a lot of like you're being pulled in different directions but it's doing what needs to be done before deadline. And working
towards the rest after.

Speaker [00:18:56] Is there a certain link processing you have to go through. like crime scene. back to evidence processing evidence.

Speaker [00:19:10] Yeah.

Speaker [00:19:10] Generally there's not like a step by step must do it. But normally it's you do the crime scene and then if there's a there's a dead
body the next day will be the autopsy. So you do that. And then once you take care of the autopsy a lot of the digital evidence needs to get taken
care of like cell phones computers that sort of thing. So any of that you that you collect evidence needs to be documented processed for fingerprints
or DNA and that's given to our digital evidence unit so that they can start on their their work. And then after that it's just if there's any follow up
scenes that we need to go to. We'll take care of that if there's any suspect processing or witness processing that needs to be done. That's pretty
much dictated by the detectives or investigators bring them in.

Speaker [00:19:59] You brought up digital evidence. How much different units are there like that.

Speaker [00:20:05] So digital evidence is kind of it.Well it's a new very new field right. So it really hasn't found its niche quite yet. We have it as part
of our investigative section. It's not actually part of the lab. There's other crime labs that the digital evidence is part of the lab.

Speaker [00:20:28] So if you're looking at different sections within a crime lab there's the crime scene unit latent print unit there's DNA there's drugs
there's firearms there's trace evidence there's the blood alcohol level there used to be documents some lab still have document analysis and then
maybe the digital evidence depending on how that works.

Speaker [00:21:02] So there's like nine different sections oh and latent print processing to some time also for DNA.

Speaker [00:21:14] Like what separates like DNA research and just for the like for forensics I was just wondered.

Speaker [00:21:24] Yeah like research research.

Speaker [00:21:27] Because You also said in the beginning that DNA is also like a different link.

Speaker [00:21:33] Yeah. DNA analysis. So they they analyze physiological fluids for DNA. Right. And analyze that so they analyze it by cutting up
the DNA strand and twenty three sections and there's those twenty three sections are standard across across the country.

Speaker [00:22:00] Did you wanna know what they're looking at or. Yeah I just wanted to know with this.
Speaker [00:22:05] What is it like for the separate instance just because like since forensics is also very much like identifying um like in evidence
that makes sense.

Speaker [00:22:24] So DNA is really specialized and it's really technical.

Speaker [00:22:31] That's what I mean. Not all they separate everything right because one person doesn't have the knowledge or the time to do
everything. Yeah. So DNA is separated out and that it's you used to identify an individual through the DNA.

Speaker [00:22:47] Like I said they analyze it take DNA from any physiological fluid. They break it up in the twenty three sections each one of those
sections have a different repeating sequences in them. Think of like a train. Right. So the it's broken between the engine and the caboose and
inside of there are different carts or cars.

Speaker [00:23:11] So like your section whatever has 19 different repeating sequences or different train carts and like your size 15 then.

Speaker [00:23:22] Well actually you even have two different because you get one from your mother and father. But for simplicity that's way it
works. So that's what they look at.

Speaker [00:23:30] It's super specialized because they do statistical models. They can be what race it is.

Speaker [00:23:39] You know that I don't know that there's so much stuff that's involved with that and that's kind of way not kind of. That is why DNA
is a separate section as opposed to crime scenes. That was a big open ended question that has lots of answers to it. I guess it's the same reason
the toxicology or firearms or whatever is separate because one we don't have the hours or the knowledge to do everything.

Speaker [00:24:07] So this is more like for us. since we've been with you past three weeks and not school. How have you felt we have done working
with you and in the lab.

Speaker [00:24:33] I think at first I think maybe it was my fault that you weren't really grasping what what I was what we we're working towards. I
mean that and explain it as well as I should have. And I think that kind of bogged you down for a little bit. But once you understood where we were
going with it you guys did great. Do what you needed to do. And I think you have everything covered for my needs and the validation study as far as
working as a team I think dividing it up into day indanedione and DFO. I think that helped a lot getting everybody involved and working together it
working on the project.

Speaker [00:25:17] What do you think.


Speaker [00:25:19] Um I think we all can feel like our communication got better. We've all just got better. I do agree that the first because it all
flopped but I felt like now that we're on like week four and finally we've done a really good job.

Speaker [00:25:39] Ryan got any imput.

Speaker [00:25:48] Pretty good. Yeah. Mm hmm.

Speaker [00:26:00] All right. I conclude our interview. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this.

Speaker [00:26:06] Sure. My pleasure. Thank you.