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Forensic Toxicologist, Lab Director

Salary: N/A

DEFINITION: Under general direction, operates the forensic toxicology laboratory and performs toxicological analysis; provides expert testimony in legal proceedings; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This classification is characterized by the responsibility for the operation of the forensic laboratory and training and technical supervision of laboratory staff, as well as for duties which would be associated with the journey level in the forensic toxicologist series. It is distinguished from the Clinical Laboratory Technologist series by the emphasis in toxicological tests performed for the Coroner, criminal, or other legal investigations, rather than for clinical diagnosis and treatment.


1. Performs the most complex tests and analyses of body fluids, tissue, or unusual evidence to identify the presence of alcohol, drugs, and/or toxic agents using a variety of sensitive, analytical laboratory equipment; performs the full spectrum of chemical analysis of unknown substances to identify hazardous, toxic, and/or illegal drugs; 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; completes forms to report test results; and provides expert testimony concerning work performed and pharmacological, physiologic, and chemical properties impacting analysis.
2. Studies, evaluates, and selects chemical test procedures and instruments; develops and maintains laboratory, safety, and quality control methods and procedures; and ensures compliance with chain of evidence, and specimen storage procedure and order.
3. Plans, organizes, and directs the functions of the Forensic Toxicology Lab and assists Sergeant in the employee performance review and hiring processes; provides technical supervision and training to the laboratory staff; and purchases laboratory supplies and monitors supply budget.

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

1. Two years of professional journey-level experience in forensic toxicology, which included responsibility for providing expert testimony; or,
2. two years of experience performing the duties equivalent to the class of Forensic Toxicologist II 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: inorganic and organic chemistry, including qualitative and quantitative analysis as applied to toxicology, pharmacological, and physiologic aspects of drugs; use of chemical laboratory equipment; theory, techniques, and procedures used in analyzing and testing forensic specimens and evidence; laboratory and chemical safety practices; procedures used to keep chemicals free from contamination; basic statistics; basic laws of evidence; criteria and procedure for preserving evidence, reporting test results, and providing expert testimony.

Ability to: perform thorough chemical, physical, and instrumental analysis; calibrate analytic equipment; learn and adapt new methods and procedures to laboratory need; organize work and balance administrative responsibilities; track expenditures and remain within a budget; consult with clients and other specialists; keep detailed and accurate records; provide expert testimony; comply with federal, state, and/or local regulations concerning the chain of evidence, testing protocol, and storage of specimens; maintain a quality control program; 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 subordinates, 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 disease; volatile, flammable, and explosive solvents, and carcinogenic chemicals.

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