Forensic Nexus would like to introduce you to Mr. David Goodwin of Northamptonshire, United Kingdom who is a fingerprint expert.
Mr. Goodwin (or David, as he prefers to be called) kindly agreed to being interviewed by Forensic Nexus to share his career path. We asked him the following questions:
What is your area of expertise/forensic discipline?
I am a Fingerprint Expert with over 32 years experience in human identification. I worked as a Police employee for 28 years and have been working for myself as an independent fingerprint expert for the last 3 years.
During my time working for the Police, I worked as a Head of Fingerprint Services for a County Police Force.
Where do you work as a forensic scientist?
Working for yourself is a lonely world.
I mainly work as a Defence Expert Witness, and therefore have to travel to Fingerprint Bureaux throughout the UK to examine contested fingerprint evidence, currently my office is just my spare bedroom, it is after all, just for report writing. Currently converting my garage into a small fingerprint development laboratory after purchasing equipment following the closure of the Forensic Science Service in the UK.
What is your typical work day like?
When I am not travelling to the far reaches of the UK, I spend my days at home writing up my reports for each case. As well as working for myself, I also sub contract to a number of larger providers of forensic science as “their expert”, so I am always busy.
Nowadays, when the phone rings I never know where in the world the call is coming from, in the last few days it has been from Tanzania, Nigeria and the USA, it is a very small world.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
In 1978 I was a motorcycle courier in London, it was raining and I did not enjoy my job. In the London evening paper there was an advert for jobs at New Scotland yard as a fingerprint officer. 32 years later I have literally travelled the world, met and spoken to some wonderful fingerprint staff and in the last few years had the opportunity to work in Nigeria for the UN.
What inspired me? I have no idea except that it was raining. I am so pleased it was.
What is your academic background?
I was very lucky, I joined at a time when you were accepted as a person with potential, not with educational qualifications. I won’t go into how poor my qualifications are, but in todays world I would not have stood a chance of getting this job.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Previously, managing and working with some of the most experienced and professional staff you could wish to meet, nowadays… working for myself, the freedom to pick and choose where and when I want to work, the amazing variety of opportunities that are out there in this world which you are not aware of when you work in just one office for many, many years.
What do I enjoy most? Every single day.
What suggestions do you have for students that are interested in pursuing a career in your profession?
Getting into a career in fingerprints is very difficult and opportunities are few and far between.
Get any job in a Police Force as a starter, just to get your foot in the door. Then watch out for job adverts that are only circulated internally at first (they never go external at the start) this will give you a better chance of getting into the career you want as a trainee.
Have we covered all bases? Any further questions come to mind while reading David’s story? Please feel free to submit questions by commenting on this post and we will direct them to David and post his responses.
Forensic Nexus would like to thank David for his participation. He has also agreed to offer mentorship to individuals seeking career advisement.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about mentorship.
Every Monday we will be spotlighting forensic professionals. To contribute your story, please visit this link.
Till next week!