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Forensic Toxicologist

Salary: N/A

DEFINITION: Under supervision and with increasing independence, performs toxicological analysis; provides expert testimony in legal proceedings; operates forensic toxicology laboratory in the absence of the Forensic Toxicologist, Lab Director; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This is a flexibly staffed series consisting of an entry level and a journey level. Incumbents in this series may flex from Forensic Toxicologist I to Forensic Toxicologist II upon meeting established experience requirements and obtaining appropriate certification issued by the California Department of Public Health.

Forensic Toxicologist I - This is the entry-level class where incumbents use the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired from their educational experience and apply it to forensic toxicology practices. Incumbents learn the principles and practices of forensic toxicology as it relates to testing bodily fluids and tissue samples for the presence of toxins. Incumbents are expected to obtain the Forensic Alcohol Analyst Certificate issued by the California Department of Public Health and gain the experience to flex to the Forensic Toxicologist II position within one year.

Forensic Toxicologist II - This is the journey-level class where incumbents work with greater independence and may participate in training the Forensic Toxicologist I. Incumbents at this level also qualify as expert witnesses at all levels of criminal or civil proceedings. The Forensic Toxicologist II is distinguished from the Forensic Toxicologist, Lab Director in that the latter has primary responsibility for operating the forensic laboratory and for performing tests in the most complex, unusual, or controversial cases.

The class of Forensic Toxicologist is further distinguished from the Clinical Laboratory Technologist series by the emphasis in toxicological tests performed for the Coroner, criminal, or other legal investigation rather than for clinical diagnosis and treatment.

EXAMPLES OF DUTIES:

1. Performs routine tests and analyses of body fluids, tissue, or evidence to identify the presence of alcohol, drugs, and/or toxic agents, using a variety of sensitive, analytical laboratory equipment.
2. Maintains equipment and assures integrity of data by calibrating and cleaning equipment, changing parts, and running control samples through equipment for quality control.
3. Logs samples; completes forms to report test results; ensures compliance with chain of evidence and specimen storage procedure and order.
4. Consults with clients (e.g., Coroner, law enforcement officers, attorneys) and other specialists (e.g., pathologists, criminalists) regarding the nature of evidence, laboratory analysis, and interpretation of results; provides expert testimony concerning work performed and pharmacological, physiologic, and chemical properties impacting analysis.

Forensic Toxicologist I

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS:

1. Completion of 60 semester units or equivalent quarter units that included 8 semester units of general chemistry and 3 semester units of quantitative analysis; or,
2. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License may be required for some positions. Independent travel throughout the County may be required. Ability to obtain a Forensic Alcohol Analyst's Certificate, in accordance with Title 17, Public Health, California Code of Regulations, within one year of employment.

Knowledge of: inorganic and organic chemistry, including qualitative and quantitative analysis as applied to toxicological, pharmacological, and physiologic aspects of drugs and alcohol; principles of equipment calibration and quality control; laboratory and chemical safety practices; proper safety procedures for handling specimens carrying communicable or infectious diseases; procedures used to keep chemicals free from contamination; and basic statistics.

Ability to: learn to perform chemical, physical, and instrumental analysis and associated procedures, such as calibration and quality control; learn to use specialized computer software; learn basic laws of evidence; convert units of measure; keep detailed and accurate records; communicate clearly with clients and other specialists; provide expert testimony; comply with federal, state, and/or local regulations concerning the chain of evidence, testing protocol, and storage of specimens; exercise sound scientific judgment; work safely with specimens from persons carrying communicable or infectious diseases; work with volatile, flammable, explosive, caustic, or carcinogenic solvents and chemicals; and establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, including superiors, clients, and specialists in other agencies.

Supplemental Information: The incumbent of this class will be exposed to: body fluids and specimens from persons in high-risk groups for infectious and communicable diseases; and volatile, flammable, and explosive solvents, and caustic or carcinogenic chemicals.

Forensic Toxicologist II

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: Possession of a Forensic Alcohol Analyst's Certificate, in accordance with Title 17, Public Health, California Code of Regulations; and,

1. One year of experience performing tests and analyses of routine samples of body fluids, tissue, or evidence to identify the presence of alcohol, drugs, and/or toxic agents, using a variety of sensitive, analytical laboratory equipment; or,
2. one year of experience performing duties equivalent to the class of Forensic Toxicologist I with the County of Santa Barbara; or,
3. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to one of the employment standards listed above and that provides the required knowledge, abilities, and Certificate.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License may be required for some positions. Independent travel throughout the County may be required.

Knowledge of: principles and practices of toxicological testing; inorganic and organic chemistry, including qualitative and quantitative analysis as applied to toxicological, pharmacological, and physiologic aspects of drugs and alcohol; principles of equipment calibration and quality control; basic laws of evidence; laboratory and chemical safety practices; proper safety procedures for handling specimens carrying communicable or infectious diseases; procedures used to keep chemicals free from contamination; and basic statistics.

Ability to: perform tests and analyses of routine samples of body fluids, tissue, or evidence to identify the presence of alcohol, drugs, and/or toxic agents; perform chemical, physical, and instrumental analysis and associated procedures, such as calibration and quality control; use specialized computer software; convert units of measure; keep detailed and accurate records; communicate clearly with clients and other specialists; provide expert testimony; comply with federal, state, and/or local regulations concerning the chain of evidence, testing protocol, and storage of specimens; exercise sound scientific judgment; work with specimens from persons carrying communicable or infectious diseases; work with volatile, flammable, explosive, caustic, or carcinogenic solvents and chemicals; and establish and maintain effective working relationships with others, including superiors, clients, and specialists in other agencies.

Supplemental Information: The incumbent of this class will be exposed to: body fluids and specimens from persons in high-risk groups for infectious and communicable diseases; and volatile, flammable, and explosive solvents, and caustic or carcinogenic chemicals.



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