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Forensics Investigation Officer at Cobourg Police

A police service model that allows officers to respond to crime more effectively as well as give the service more time for social development and crime prevention is what tiered policing is all about. Cobourg Police Service introduced tiered policing in 2015 and has been able to build on this model to continually improve the quality of service to the Town of Cobourg. One of those initiatives was to train a Special Constable to become a Forensics Identification Officer.

After spending eight challenging weeks at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa to become a Forensics Identification Officer, Special Constable (S/C) Vicky Darbyshire, who has been with the Cobourg Police for almost ten years, was successful and completed the required courses. She now has the duties of a Forensics Investigation Officer (FIO) added to her current job as a special constable and is possibly the only special constable that is trained to do the full duties of an FIO, a job that is usually done by a constable.

The Chief of Police Kai Liu explains why this in-house FIO was an important addition for the Cobourg Police, “We recognized Special Constable Darbyshire had been a Detective Sergeant in her previous workplace and thought it would be a great opportunity to capitalize on her skills and knowledge. It also benefits us and the community to have this position in-house because we now have a quick response time during an investigation and allows us to be more efficient.”

Like other FIOs, S/C Darbyshire has an extensive job description that includes things like bloodstain pattern recognition, oversees the Scenes of Crime Officers during a crime scene investigation, analyzing fingerprints that can be used in court as evidence, footwear and tire examinations, just to name a few. The Town of Cobourg recently saw the work of S/C Darbyshire in action as her ability to collect DNA samples from various crime scenes led to the arrest of a Baltimore man.

“Having served as Detective Sergeant in England, I know the value of an FIO and how much work that goes into a position like this. I am really proud to say that because of me and my training, the Cobourg Police now have the ability to gather the evidence quickly and thoroughly and process it in-house. The quicker we get the evidence, the quicker we can bring someone to justice.”

So what is done with this evidence once it’s collected? Well, it’s a bit like CSI where it’s taken to a forensics lab and put through many tests and examined. Now that Cobourg Police has an internal FIO, this allows them to enhance their collaboration with other police services such as Peterborough, who have their own forensics lab. Working in partner with Peterborough Police provides S/C Darbyshire with expertise and mentorship from other FIOs within the Peterborough Police Service and saves the Cobourg Police Service over $100,000 annually in upkeep costs for such a technical lab.

We continue to build on our collaboration with Ontario Provincial Police and will defer investigations to them should our FIO not be available at the time.

The Cobourg Police continue to be proactive in their approach to policing and it’s these small changes that make a big difference in the quality of service to the Town of Cobourg.


Tagline for photo: Special Constable and Forensics Identification Officer Vicky Darbyshire examines car for fingerprints.