Greetings! My name is Marc Trahan. I am an instructor with the CSI Academy.
For the last 30 years I have worked as a Police Officer for the Gainesville
Police Department in Gainesville, Florida. The last 24 of those years
were spent as a sworn Crime Scene Investigator in the Forensic Crime Unit.
I retire from the Gainesville Police Department at the end of October 2015.
Off duty I’m an admitted geek. My interests are in ancient and 18th century history, archeology. I love to hike and camp, and I’m an
avid reader of history, science, crime/suspense, and science fiction.
I chose crime scene as a career path not because of the potential for fame
or fortune (those of us who have been there will tell you there is little
of both) but for the need to satisfy an innate curiosity as to find out
what really happened at the crime scene.
I have always believed that what you do says more about you than who you
are. I also believe that staying current in your training for whatever
discipline you work in is imperative.
Growing up I developed educational interests in history, archeology, the
military, and space science. After graduating from the University of Florida
with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history I decided not to pursue a teaching
career (ironic) and instead attended the Santa Fe Community College (now
Santa Fe College) Institute of Public Safety Police Academy where my love
of law enforcement took hold. After getting hired by the Gainesville Police
Department in November of 1985 I was asked if I’d be interested
in becoming an Evidence Technician in addition to my Officer duties and
I accepted. Working crime scenes grabbed my interest and evolved into
a lateral promotion to Crime Scene Investigator in 1991.
During my time as a Crime Scene Investigator I saw the need for proper
crime scene training. The method used up to that time had been to learn
everything you can from the older investigators you worked with. In order
to provide a more complete and consistent training I developed a training
curriculum and checklist for the in house crime scene training for GPD
so that each new G-Unit (general crime scene unit), Evidence Technician,
and Crime Scene Investigator received the same training for their position.
During my career I obtained instructor certification, certification as
a Senior Crime Scene Investigator with the International Association for
Identification and I am a life member of the Florida Division of the International
Association for Identification.
People don’t really understand what we do as crime scene processors.
As an example; my sister was once asked, “what does your brother
do?” She told them I was a crime scene investigator and tried to
explain what I do and they looked at her curiously as if the answer didn’t
explain it well enough. My sister followed with “he’s the
guy that draws the chalk lines around dead bodies” which satisfied
I believe that we in the crime scene discipline are duty bound to inform
the general public on what we can do and why we are important to the successful
conclusion of their case. If we rely on entertainment television (CSI
insert city name here) and the news (OJ Simpson trial coverage) to portray
us we suffer from what is today called the “CSI effect”. Unrealistic
expectations combined poor training equal unreliable evidence in the minds
of a juror.
When the brainchild for the CSI Academy of Florida, Danny Pascucci reached
out to me about teaching at the CSI Academy and invited me out to see
the facility for myself I have to say I was skeptical. I had known Danny
for years. Back when he had worked as a fellow investigator at the Alachua
County Sheriff’s Office and we interacted on supplies and on a number
of cases. His idea sounded like other training programs I had attended
over the years and I was skeptical. I kept an open mind and toured the
building and listened to his plan. After seeing the potential of the facility
and hearing the direction and vision of what he proposed I have to say
I was hooked and immediately signed on!
A lot of sweat equity has gone into getting the CSI Academy to where we
are today and the future looks very bright. I am proud to be a part of
the faculty and am excited to provide the hands on experience and the
things I have learned to our students.