Brandon Lam’s shadow fills the doorway. A body lays on the floor. The wall behind is splattered with blood. As Brandon moves through the living room, he’s careful to leave fingerprints. Lots of them. Because Brandon isn’t a criminal. He’s the staff member responsible for setting up the crime scenes our students use to learn how to be forensic scientists.
“My job is a bit strange,” admits Brandon. “You probably won’t find many roles like this. It’s completely different every day.”
In 2012, just one year after graduating from forensic science at UTS, Brandon was back. This time, on the opposite side of the bench as a lab assistant.
“It was a bit of a shock, going from student to lab assistant,” he says. “As a student you just go to your classes, and everything’s already there for you, you don’t really see the extent of the work that goes into preparing the labs. It gave me much more appreciation for the people who make things happen here.”
As Brandon grew more competent in the role, he was given more responsibility. It eventually led to him taking on his current position as Technical Officer in the Faculty of Science, and the quirky role of setting up fake crime scenes.
When asked if it makes him feel like a part of the CSI or NCIS team, Brandon laughs. “Here in the Crime Scene Simulation Lab, or ‘crime house’ as it’s known as, everything is done as it should be. By the book.”
Brandon continues: “A lot of what they do on those shows, would probably be, discounted in court, just because they’re not proper procedures.
“They’re actually a very poor example of what happens in real life. Obviously it’s for show, and they need to entertain, but here at UTS, we’re about preparing the students for industry, and for real-life experiences.”
Of course, that doesn’t stop some students from bringing in their own sunglasses to stage their very own Horatio Caine moment, as if they are on CSI: Miami.
“It’s good to see the students have fun with it,” smiles Brandon. “But when crunch times comes, you see their serious side.”
For the second-year students, who get to work in the crime house, the exercise is about learning how to properly process a crime scene. It includes everything from how to take case notes, to how to use industry-standard equipment, take proper photographs, and collect and search for evidence.
Away from work, Brandon prefers to spend his leisure time with friends, catching up at sports games, having a yarn at the pub, or watching a movie that is definitely not crime based.
Brandon says, “My role is changing, week-in and week-out, so I’m never stuck doing the same nine to five job every day. I think that’s what I enjoy most, and getting to be a little bit creative with it, too.”
Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism)