Criminalist I-IV (Firearms and Tool Mark Examiner) *Revised

  • Sacramento County, CA
  • Sacramento, California
  • Dec 09, 2023
Full Time Criminology and Forensics Public Safety
  • Salary: $66,523.68 - $141,294.96 Annually USD

Job Description

The Position

Come join one of Forbes Magazine's Best Employers !

This is a limited-continuous filing exam. Next filing cut-offs are at 5:00 pm on:

1/8/2024, 2/9/2024, *3/8/2024, *4/5/2024 (Final)

Level 1 - $5,543.64 - $6,737.25/month

Level 2 - $7,398.50 - $8,992.33/month

Level 3 - $9,215.00 - $11,202.08/month

Level 4 - $9,688.33 - $11,774.58/month
Criminalists conduct forensic laboratory analyses of physical evidence, investigate crime scenes, and testify in court as an expert witness on the subjects of forensic analyses and crime scene investigation.

The Criminalist I-IV class series is utilized in a variety of ways within the County of Sacramento District Attorney’s Laboratory of Forensic Services. This eligible list may be used to fill multiple vacancies, as well as other vacancies as they become available. The current Criminalist vacancy we are recruiting to fill is for an experienced Firearms and Toolmark Examiner at the Criminalist II level or higher. Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

Evaluate firearm related evidence using accepted techniques to classify, compare, and identify a variety of firearms, cartridges, cartridge cases, bullets, and other related components utilizing microscopic techniques and instrumentation which may include a comparison microscope, stereomicroscopes, digital microscope, and conventional photography. Perform functionality examinations on submitted firearms and make source determinations for fired and cycled ammunition components. Document findings, prepare technical written reports, and effectively communicate highly complex scientific material to law enforcement, attorneys, and other agencies and individuals who do not have advanced knowledge of the subject matter. Prepare exhibits and provide expert testimony concerning the significance of examinations conducted. Stay current with new and emerging scientific advancements, relevant court decisions, and legal challenges related to areas in forensic science.

Candidates who have experience in footwear/tire track comparisons and acting as a lead crime scene analyst are highly desirable, but not required for this position.

Candidates with one or more Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) certifications are also desired, but not required for this position.

  • Firearm Evidence Examination and Identification (FA-AFTE)
  • Toolmark Evidence Examination and Identification (TM-AFTE)
  • Gunshot Residue Evidence Examination and Identification (GSR-AFTE)

In addition to the posted salary for this class, the County of Sacramento offers the following incentives and differentials:


Employees in the Criminalist class will become eligible for a two and half (2.5%) percent differential for possession of any one of the following certifications. This incentive is not cumulative. The County will also pay for the annual recertification of the following certifications:
  • American Board of Criminalistics
  • American Board of Forensic Toxicology
  • Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners
  • International Association for Identification


An employee in the Crime Laboratory of the District Attorney’s Office who is assigned in writing by the appointing authority to serve as a lead on the Crime Scene Team shall receive a 10% pay differential. This differential shall be based on the employee’s standard hourly salary rate and shall be payable only while acting in the lead capacity.


The safety officer for the Crime Laboratory shall receive a pay differential of 5.0% of the employee’s standard hourly salary rate. There is typically one individual assigned to this task at a time within the laboratory.


Any Criminalist and/or Supervising Criminalist assigned, in writing, to serve as a DNA Technical Leader shall receive a 5% pay differential of the employee’s standard hourly salary rate.


Permanent employees who reach ten (10) years of full-time service shall receive a 2.5% differential. Less than full-time permanent employees shall become eligible upon working the equivalent of ten (10) years of full-time service.


Employees can “cash-in” up to forty (40) hours/year vacation after ten (10) years of full-time continuous service and 240 hours accrued vacation per the terms of County policy 306 “Cash for Accrued Vacation Leave”.

Examples of Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of
  • Principles, methods, materials, standards, practices, equipment, and techniques of forensic science
  • Principles of chemistry, physics, biochemistry, physiology, zoology, botany,
    statistics, and photography as related to forensic science
  • Common types of evidence, such as narcotics, poisons, trace, firearms, and explosives
  • Laws of evidence, criminal procedure, and crimes
  • Laboratory safety
Ability to
  • Perform a variety of difficult chemical, instrumental, and other complex laboratory analyses
  • Interpret federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to physical evidence
  • Develop and maintain good working relationships with those encountered during the course of work
  • Promote and enforce safe work practices and handling of hazardous substances
  • Prepare and analyze complex reports and correspondence
  • Testify in court
  • Adhere to established code of ethics
  • Handle exposure to stressful situations as a result of human behavior

Employment Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a major in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, pharmacology, biology, microbiology, criminalistics (with emphasis in chemistry), or a closely related scientific field. Coursework must have included successful completion of 8 semester / 12 quarter units of general chemistry and 3 semester / 4.5 quarter units of quantitative analysis.

Note: A Master's degree in criminalistics, chemistry, biology, or a closely related scientific field may be substituted for one year of required experience.

Note: The level at which initial appointment to the class of Criminalist is made and/or movement from one level to the next is at the discretion of the appointing authority, in accordance with budget provisions, workload, and organizational needs, provided the experience requirements are met.

Note: The word "experience" referenced in the minimum qualifications means full-time paid experience unless the job announcement states that volunteer experience is acceptable. Part-time paid experience may be accumulated and pro-rated to meet the total experience requirements.

Note: If the minimum qualifications include an educational or certificate/license requirement, applicants must submit proof of requirements with the application. Failure to submit proof of requirements may result in disqualification from the examination. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. For guidelines on submitting acceptable proof of educational requirements, please click here or speak to someone in our office before the final filing date listed in this notice.

General Requirements

Driver's License:
Some positions in this class may require a valid California Driver (Class C) License prior to appointment. Failure to maintain a valid License may constitute cause for termination from this class in accordance with Civil Service Rule 11.4. Individuals who do not meet this requirement due to a disability will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Incumbents appointed to positions whose duties include the analysis of blood alcohol are required to obtain a Forensic Alcohol Analyst / Supervisor License issued by the State of California within one year of appointment date.

Note: Failure to obtain and maintain the appropriate valid Forensic Alcohol Analyst / Supervisor License may constitute cause for personnel action, up to and including dismissal from the class, under applicable Civil Service Rules or applicable bargaining agreement.

Criminal History and Background Investigation:
Candidates must pass a criminal history and background check, which may include contact of prior employers and personal references. Candidates will be fingerprinted through the California Department of Justice Live Scan process for purposes of search of local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record. A set of fingerprints is furnished to the California Department of Justice and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Physical Requirements and Working Conditions:
All positions require incumbents to:
  • Stand, walk, and/or sit for long periods of time, such as while conducting analysis in the laboratory or processing a crime scene
  • Move with sufficient personal agility to collect and process evidence at a variety of crime scenes, such as clandestine drug laboratories, automobiles, trash bins, etc.
  • Possess sufficient manual dexterity to manipulate and operate laboratory equipment
  • Lift and transport items weighing up to 50 pounds, such as bags and/or boxes of evidence
  • Visually distinguish color, shape, size, number, and picture resolution quality
  • Withstand exposure to disagreeable elements such as extreme weather conditions, malodorous and/or decomposing samples, blood, bodily fluids, etc.
Competency / Proficiency Testing:
  • Incumbents are required to successfully complete competency testing prior to beginning casework in a new core or sub-discipline.
  • Incumbents are required to successfully complete annual Proficiency Testing as required by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors / Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD / LAB).
Equipment Used:
Incumbents are required to safely operate the following equipment in the performance of duties:
  • County-owned vehicles
  • Laboratory equipment and tools, such as microscopes, centrifuges, gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers, etc.
  • Office equipment, such as telephones, copiers, and fax machines
Hours of Work:
Incumbents may be required to work irregular hours, holidays, and weekends at various locations as necessary.

Probationary Period
The probationary period for this classification is twelve (12) months.

Application and Testing Information


Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply immediately. All applicants must complete and submit an online County of Sacramento employment application by 5:00 PM on the posted cut-off date. Click here to apply.

County of Sacramento

Department of Personnel Services

Employment Services Division

700 H Street, Room 4667

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone (916) 874-5593; 7-1-1 California Relay Service


Inter-Office Mail Code: 09-4667

  • Employment applications and all documentation requested in this announcement must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • Employment Services is not responsible for any issues or delays caused by an applicant's computer or web browser. Applicants will be automatically logged out if they have not submitted their applications and all documentation prior to 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • Your application should highlight all relevant education, training, and experience, and clearly indicate how you meet the minimum qualifications for the position as of the cut-off date.
  • Application information must be current, concise and related to the requirements in this job announcement. You may only apply for this recruitment once. Duplicate and incomplete applications will be disqualified.
  • A resume may be included with your application, however it will not substitute for the information requested on the application.


Applicants are required to provide a full and complete response to each supplemental question. The Supplemental Questionnaire is located in the tab marked "Supplemental Questions". Please be descriptive in your response.

Note: Responses of "See Resume" or "See Application", or copy and paste of work experience are not qualifying responses and will not be considered.

  • Supplemental Questionnaires must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date. Employment Services is not responsible for any issues or delays caused by an applicant's computer or web browser. Applicants will be automatically logged out if they have not submitted their applications and all documentation prior to 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • The supplemental questions are designed to elicit specific information regarding a candidate's experience, education, and training. Responses should be consistent with the information on your application and are subject to verification.
  • Please provide place of employment, pertinent dates, and concise, descriptive and detailed information for each question.
  • If a job included responsibilities applicable to several questions, separate the different functions of the job to answer all the questions completely.
  • Resumes or referral to the application or other questionnaire responses will not be accepted in lieu of completing each question.
  • If you have no experience, write "no experience" for the appropriate question.
  • For many individuals, it is more efficient to develop responses to the supplemental questions in a word processing document and then paste them into the final document to be submitted. Changes or corrections to your Supplemental Questionnaire cannot be made once your application packet has been submitted.
  • If the Supplemental Questionnaire is used in the Formula Rate exam, failure to complete all of the questions or incomplete responses will result in a lower score. While scoring the Supplemental Questionnaire, the candidate's application and/or attachments will not be reviewed , therefore, a candidate's responses to the questions should be accurate, thorough, detailed, and complete.


All candidates meeting the minimum qualifications by the cut-off date will have their Supplemental Questionnaire scored in the Formula Rate Examination.

This examination will evaluate the relevance, level, recency, progression and quality of candidate's education, training and experience. The candidate's application or other materials will not be included in this examination. Therefore, the candidate's responses to the supplemental questionnaire should be thorough, detailed and complete. The score from the Formula Rate Examination will determine the ranking on the eligible/employment list for this job.

All candidates competing in the testing process will receive written notice of their examination results by email. Notices can also be accessed in their inbox. Applicants achieving a passing score will be placed on the eligible list in rank order. The rank is determined by the test score attained from the examination.


Click here for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

For information regarding County jobs:



As an employee of the County of Sacramento, there will be a variety of benefits available to you. These benefits currently include: health, dental and life insurance; flexible spending account options for dependent care and unreimbursed dental and/or medical cost; and an employee assistance program (EAP).

Most employee benefits are similar to the following for all County employees. However, some benefits differ, depending on the employee representation unit to which the employee's job classification is assigned. Information about the exact benefits applicable to a particular job classification may be obtained from the Sacramento County Department of Benefits or by visiting

Most benefits do not apply to temporary positions. The explanations of benefits applies to employees in regular positions.

The beginning salary and the top of the salary range are usually shown on the job announcement. Upon satisfactory service, salary increases of approximately 5% are given annually until the top of the salary range has been attained.

All employees are paid bi-weekly via direct deposit into the employee's bank account. The pay period covers fourteen (14) calendar days, starting on a Sunday and ending on the second Saturday thereafter. Salaries are generally paid on the Friday following the end of the pay period. Employees can set up their direct deposit and access their pay information via Employee Self Service in MySacCounty.

Generally, vacation with pay begins at 10 days annually. With increase over a period of years, the maximum annual vacation with pay is 25 days.

14.5 holidays per year as recognized.

Equivalent to 15 days annually, unlimited accumulation. Upon retirement, unused sick leave is converted to retirement service credit.

Entitles a regular County employee, with at least one year of continuous employment, to schedule a paid parental leave of up to 160 hours upon the birth or during the process of an adoption of a minor child. Parental leave shall be approved by the employee's appointing authority, except where the granting of the parental leave request would unduly interfere with or cause severe hardship upon department operations.

Dependent upon union agreements, regular County employees may be eligible to receive Tuition Reimbursement. The costs for course tuition/registration fees and required books/supplies are eligible for reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement amounts may vary depending upon union agreement.

Social Security and Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System coverage.

The County offers a variety of health plan design options to fit individual needs.

The County provides a comprehensive dental benefit program for regular full-time and part-time employees and their eligible dependents. This plan pays on a set fee schedule that varies by procedure. Any amount over the fee schedule is the employee's responsibility. The yearly maximum is $2,000 per person, not including orthodontia. The orthodontic benefit is 50% of covered charges with a lifetime maximum of $1,000 per person.

The County of Sacramento provides a basic life insurance benefit of $15,000 to all eligible employees at no cost. Additional coverage may be purchased through payroll deduction.

The County offers a Deferred Compensation Program which enables employees to save in a systematic way without paying income tax on either the payroll deduction or the earned interest, prior to withdrawal.

The County of Sacramento provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their eligible dependents. The EAP offers confidential, professional counseling services in areas such as:
  • Legal Advice/Difficult Decisions
  • Marriage or Family Relationships
  • Financial or Credit Worries/Elder Care
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The County will recognize and award time off to eligible employees who maintain an excellent attendance record.

The County offers regular employees two separate Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA's). These accounts allow employees to set money aside, on a pre-tax basis via payroll deduction, to pay for medical, dental or dependent care expenses.

    Employees may set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified childcare or dependent care expenses that are necessary for the employee and/or spouse to continue working.

    The Medical Reimbursement Account allows pre-tax dollars to be set aside to pay for out-of-pocket expenses that are not paid by insurance or reimbursed by any other benefit plan.

In case of injury while on the job, each employee is protected under the Workers' Compensation laws of California.

The credit union offers loan facilities and systematic saving plans through payroll deduction.


Sacramento County encourages applications from all persons regardless of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, gender, disability, political affiliation, or age.

Certain age limits may be required by law, ordinance, or Civil Service direction for specific classifications such as those identified with hazardous occupations.

FOR APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES ONLY:Every effort is made to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled applicants such as in the selection of test sites, aides, or other equipment which permits the disabled applicants to compete in the examination process. Applicants with disabilities requesting an applicable ADA testing accommodation must complete a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form filled out and signed by the applicant and their doctor. This form must be submitted to the Disability Compliance Office, 700 H Street, Room 5720, Sacramento, CA 95814, by the cut-off date or final filing date as listed in this job announcement. Download the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form by clicking here or contact by mail or in person the Sacramento County Employment Services Division or Disability Compliance Office.

Please read carefully the "Minimum Qualifications" section of your announcement. You must meet those qualifications by the application deadline date unless otherwise specified. Your application must clearly show you meet the minimum qualifications by the application deadline date, or it will not be accepted. All statements are subject to verification.

"Experience" means full-time paid experience unless the announcement states that volunteer experience is acceptable. Part-time paid experience may be accumulated and pro-rated to meet the total experience requirements.

If the announcement indicates the examination is given on a promotional basis, candidates must hold permanent status in Sacramento County Civil Service by the application deadline date and must meet the minimum qualifications.

Any person who meets the minimum qualifications may apply.

Applicants are eligible to reapply to and retake a continuous filing exam after 6 months from the date the previous exam results was received.

Names of qualified persons who made a passing score on an examination are entered, in order of their final grades, on an eligible list. To fill each vacancy, the hiring department will make a selection from among the top three ranks on the employment lists.

Unless otherwise stated on the announcement: To be successful, candidates must obtain a rating of at least 70% on each part of the examination. This may be an adjusted score or an arithmetic 70% of the total possible score as determined by the Director.

Persons who believe their applications have been improperly rejected may request the Employment Services Division to review its decision to reject the application. If the applicant desires to submit additional proof of qualifications, such proof must be received by Personnel Services not less than two (2) calendar days prior to the scheduled date for the examination.

Persons who are disqualified in any phase of the examination may appeal such adverse action, in writing, to the Civil Service Commission, 700 H Street, Room 2640, Sacramento, CA 95814, telephone: (916) 874-5586 . Such appeals must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after notice of the adverse action was mailed to the candidate.



Military veterans who have served during wartime shall be given preference in initial appointment to County service. Such preference shall apply, provided the veteran has first achieved a minimum passing score in the examination. The passing score of a veteran shall be annotated to indicate the veteran's score shall be regarded as 5 points or higher, OR 10 points higher for disabled veterans, only for the purpose of determining the three ranks along with which the veteran's name shall be certified. No score shall actually be changed and no new rank shall be created as a result of application of veteran's preference for certification purposes.

"Disabled Veteran" means any veteran who has served during wartime and, who, as of the final filing date for an examination is declared by the United States Veterans Administration or military service department to be 10% or more disabled as a result of his/her military service. Persons claiming eligibility for disabled veteran's preference must submit to the employment office, on or before the application deadline date, a certification from the United States Veterans Administration or a military service department, dated within 1 year, which certifies the present existence of a service related disability of 10% or more, or other acceptable proof of such disability as a result of his/her military service.
Persons claiming eligibility for veterans preference must submit a copy of Form DD 214 or other acceptable proof of veteran's status on or before the final filing date for the examination. For purpose of this rule "reserve" status does not constitute active duty.

As required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act, all County employees must be United States citizens or aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Proof of citizenship or authorized status will be required prior to appointment.

Some County Civil Service positions are covered by financial disclosure requirements intended to identify potential conflicts of interest.

No employee may concurrently occupy more than one County position.

Persons who have special skills required by some (but not all) positions in a class may be certified ahead of others provided that:

Such special skills are based on the duties and requirements of the positions and are in conformance with merit system and equal opportunity principles, and
The certification of eligibles who possess special skills have been approved by the Civil Service Commission.

The County of Sacramento is committed to maintaining a drug and alcohol free workplace. All persons selected for appointment to positions must pass a medical examination and a drug test, administered by the County at no cost to the applicant.

Possession of a valid California Driver License may be required for some positions.

Regular positions are subject to a probationary period which is an extension of the selection process. Unless otherwise indicated on the announcement, the probationary period is six (6) months.

Some positions require, as a condition of continued employment, that the person either:
1. Become a union member;
2. Pay a fair share fee to the union; or,
3. Meet specific requirements under which an equivalent amount must be paid to a charity.

Fingerprinting and criminal record checks are required for some positions.

Closing Date/Time: 4/5/2024 5:00 PM Pacific

Base Pay


Job Address

Sacramento, California United States View Map