While it’s not quite as dramatic as TV’s popular CSI series, Vernon has its own unit dedicated to crime forensics, minus the stars and soundtrack.
“It’s definitely not as glamorous as what the TV portrays,” said Sgt. Tammy Hoffman, who introduced Vernon’s Forensic Identification Section to city council Monday.
“We are a specialized support unit,” said Hoffman, who is fairly new to Vernon but who has been in forensics since 2010. She now works alongside Cpl. Spencer Marginson and Cpl. Trevor Cook.
Vernon is one of seven FIS units in the RCMP’s southeast district. The unit assists in criminal investigations, fingertips and other evidence, it provides expert testimony in court and is deployed with various other units including the district tactical team, explosive disposal assistance and more.
Deployment with the forensic search and evidence recovery team for complex homicide scenes is another area the unit assists, according to Hoffman, “where victims have been burnt, buried, scattered or damaged beyond recognition.”
One of the more recent deployments saw the team spent a couple of days processing a scene by Mabel Lake. A suspicious occurrence was reported Aug. 19 in the area of Cawley Road where a man-made hole was located.
“Complainants believed it could be a possible old burial site, given the size of the hole,” said RCMP media relations Const. Kelly Brett. “The North Okanagan RCMP along with the forensic search and evidence recovery team investigated and found the hole was in fact not a burial site, but a man-made hole made when the road was put in that area some time ago.”
While the FIS unit assists other departments in various cases, their job is very specialized.
“I can do every job in the RCMP but only we can do our job,” said Hoffman.