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My CSI Rant

I’ve known for years that a cop’s life is never easy or glamorous. If it was, all our cases would be solved in one hour and I would arrive at a crime scene with a low cut top, pink Jimmy Choo pumps to match my handcuffs, and long sexy hair streaming down my back. I don’t actually watch these shows but I’ve seen the commercials. No way can I compete. When I walk onto a crime scene, I scare the neighbors.

Using my limited detective budget I bought 1000 black shoe covers for $29.99. They were a bargain and cheaply double as hair covers. While working a case with the F.B.I. (now that sounds glamorous) they gave me some pretty blue paper face masks that are better than the plain white ones I have. My hands are double gloved because once you begin to sweat it’s easier to change gloves leaving the bottom sweaty one on throughout the day. My hands are a shriveled mess when I’m done. I put on a new pair of gloves after picking up each item of evidence. If my phone rings, I change gloves because I don’t want goop on the phone when I speak to my grandbabies each night. Most of this I’ve learned by trial and error. Unknown gunk on my phone was good training.

At gruesome scenes, I wear a complete body suit. These suits are expensive so I only have one and it’s usually weeks before I can order another. I’ve become quite picky about when to use it. A few years ago I suited up for a week old dead body. A week later I had a half-eaten corpse. Man’s best friends got hungry after a few days. No body suit and I had to collect dog poop because there were human remains within.

My husband knows not to touch, get close or impede my progress to the laundry room to remove my clothes and dump them in the washing machine. A simple hand gesture has him backing up quickly. Then it’s naked to the shower to scrub away the grime. It takes weeks to get the smell to stop because the odor gets trapped in your nose hairs and reappears at the oddest moments. Is this discussed on TV?

Skin slippage, gurgles made from gasses in the bodies and of course the smell might be glamorized but I have trouble believing the crime scene investigators are anything but attractive when acting their part. Hah!

Have I mentioned maggots? Does television make them seem stylish? In real life they tend to fall off and we step on them. They make a popping noise as we get the body into a zippered bag. The medical examiner’s office has a huge fly zapper because those little squiggly things drop off the table and hide out until they become a pesky critter with wings. ZAP! I live in fear of unknowingly bringing a few home.

When called out late at night I’m lucky if I remember to brush my teeth but after a few cups of coffee my breath improves. I’ve stopped chewing gum because the thought of inhaling “whatever” through the mask is bad enough but I had to draw the line at chewing on it.

Plastic is a big pet peeve of mine. The crime show commercials show these small plastic see through bags and the investigator dropping in a single hair using tweezers. S-O-R-R-Y, the chemicals in plastic can destroy your evidence. Paper, paper, paper. I guess it wouldn’t look good on TV. I use Post-It notes to collect small hair fibers and then fold into a bindle. I was taught this by the state crime lab when I got my evidence collection certification. I’m the only one at our department with this particular advanced training. I have no hunky CSI techs to make my job easier.

Now that I’ve taken the glamour out of my job I will admit the truth. I live for these situations. I love the adrenaline rush, figuring out what took place and solving the crime. I can go days without sleep. I am never happier than when I’m working a big case regardless of what’s involved. My only wish is that I could be beautiful and photogenic while doing it!

  1. March 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Maybe teaching granny how to suck eggs but a tip I found works when in presence of long dead is to smear a little Vick on the upper lip. If Vick (a cold treatment medicine) unknown in USA, anything with stringent smell better than decaying meat.

    • March 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      I’ve tried Vicks but it only added to the problem. I persevere and after a few hours at the scene I stop noticing. I always give Vicks to the rookies though.

  2. March 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Ahhaha! I’m trying to picture you wearing those killer pink heels at a crime scene!!!

    Love the rant!! Every time I see a female arrive at a crime scene in 3″ heels and a short skirt I loose all interest. And yet they try to present these women as strong role models. Of what? Fashion?

    • March 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      No just stupidity 🙂

      • March 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Have to say your “bootie” hat and blue mask makes quite a statement!

      • March 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm


  3. March 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, Suzie! This is priceless!!! LOVING it! And I LOVE the pics on this blog. 🙂 (Even the pink pump, and I am a handbag girl, LOL…)

    I can’t wait to get my hands (or iPad) on your latest! This is blog is great reading! 🙂 Don’t stop!

  4. March 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    My niece wanted to be a “CSI” (as she called it), so that she could drive an Escalade, because don’t they ALL drive them? Oh, if she only knew. I don’t watch any of those crime show drama’s either…except one: Castle. Mostly because I love Nathan Fillion, but the show has much humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously…and they poke fun at the main cop, Kate, and her impossibly high shoes. Silly fun and I love it. But that’s it for cop shows. My daughter is glued to the TV daily watching COPS. She wants to be a cop…I’m nervous about that. Can she come stay with you for a few weeks to see what REAL cops do, not the ones that play it up for TV? Hehehe….great post and, I’d love a pair of those pink peek-a-boo pumps!

    • March 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Please send your daughter down but I don’t know if it will have the desired effect. She will probably have a blast 🙂

  5. March 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    When I see Special Victims Unit I cannot really enjoy it. The lead male is the guy who shot that super DI in Full Metal Jacket. Never forgive him

    • March 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      I know the feeling. I still think of Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy!

  6. March 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Oh, Suzie…I so love your posts!!! I watch very few of the cop shows on television for just the reasons you describe…well, that and the fact that it’s rather difficult to get into a storyline with my cop husband sitting beside me making rude noises and muttering, “Give me a break…they’d never do that!” LOL

    Keep up the brilliant work, darling girl, and I’ll put in a word with the universe to send some hunky tech help your way. 😉

    • March 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Hunky tech? I knew you were my favorite writer!

  7. March 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    All I can say here is that you are one tough woman. And I SOOO admire you. You are everything I would have wanted to be, but never made it there. You are a complete wonder to me, Suzie, and I am glad I’ve had the chance to know you, thought virtual is all I’ll get. But maybe someday I’ll have the privilege of meeting you in person, shake your hand and hug you!

    Geez! I sound like a star-struck fan, but the truth is I am in awe of what you decided to do, late in life. The challenge and the guts required are unbelievable.

    Phew! There, I am now out of breath. But keep writing the stories of your days, Suzie, and we will live vicariously through you. 🙂

    I pray God’s daily protection on your life.

    Your friend,

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Thank you for the prayers and for the friendship. We will crash a Blogher convention some year and they will never forget us!

  8. March 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Go kick-ass Suzie – whatever kind of heels you’re wearing, and even in a face-mask and shoe-cover on your head!

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      I only wear boots to work but they’re kick-ass.

  9. March 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I want those shoes.

    I actually have to say I found reading all of those gross, gory details (while eating my breakfast) disgustingly fascinating! And for the record, you are always beautiful, um, if not quite glamazon photogenic! 😉

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Yes, the shoes are a must! I can live with disgustingly fascinating. Anytime we have maggots in a body, Chinese food is a must for lunch. The inside of my stomach is a rock just not the outside 🙂

  10. March 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I love a good rant! Down with society’s obsession with unrealistic beauty! Thanks Suzie 🙂

    • March 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

      This was the second draft. I took out all my naughty words from the first one.

  11. March 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Leave it to Suzie Ivy to keep it real! Nice one.

  12. March 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Really enjoyed your post! way to go for telling all us CSI/SVU/insert-cop-acronym-here fans how it really is. Just a thought-maybe you can’t make fashion statement on the crime scene in hot pink heels, but what about a hot pink face mask? Or a Louis Vuitton printed body-suit? Neon duct tape? work with what you got (haha)!

    • March 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

      I do have neon green and orange duct tape and I like the idea of the pink face mask. Maybe I should start “Crime Scene Fashions” online 🙂

  13. gendmom
    April 4, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I a a 40 year old mom of a 3 year old and 23 month old twins and I have recently gone back to University to Major in Criminology. In one of my first classes the Prof took great pleasure in debunking the CSI tv myths and it was to my absolute dismay that a lot of the younger students in the class groaned with displeasure when they learned that they would not be wearing 6 inch pumps, pant suits, driving around in Hummers with Hunky male detective cops riding by their side that they are having workplace flirtations with. Uggghhhhhh, I couldn’t believe they actually thought this was true. We also learned that court room jury’s also believe this to be true of how the police force and the CSI forensic unit personal actually look and portray themselves. Unbelievable.

    My husband use to be a lab tech and he is always amazed how dark the labs are and how they are place within the police department with windows all around. he remembers it quite differently, a very, very, very brightly lit room with all windows covered….

    Thanks for this post, it gave me a laugh and although I am unsure what area of criminal justice I want to end up in, I am glad I have got the real picture right!

    • April 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

      You also made me laugh! What a fantastic career you are heading into. Thank you for taking the time to comment and debunking some more CSI myths. The dark room might look sexy but it’s hell when you are trying to find something.

  14. April 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Excellent post, as always, Suzie. My husband is a die-hard NCIS fan–another crime show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m always commenting (much to his annoyance) about little things, such as, “Don’t you think that would smell awful?” things like that. He agrees that it’s all glammed up for entertainment.

    I think the TV shows should hire you as a consultant/writer. You could set them straight and give the world something to think about. What do you say? 🙂

    • April 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      As long as your husband knows most of it is bull before he sits on a jury 🙂

  15. April 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Well at least you can be funny. Glamour is over rated.

    Fascinating post. I appreciate getting a real behind the scenes look.

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Yes, glamour is so overrated 🙂

  16. gungirl007
    July 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I remember my first stinker, 2 weeks, I was the lucky one told to photograph close ups. A man with an exploding ulcer deceased on his toilet, I threw out my clothes once we got back to the station and called my hair dresser praying they made a shampoo to get out the smell, they did so I smelled like lemons with a hint of DB lol

    • July 5, 2013 at 6:06 am

      Hmmm, lemons mixed with DB, I’m not so sure and it would probably ruin one of my favorite scents for years to come and it’s not the DB 🙂

  1. May 22, 2012 at 10:04 am

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