New CSI assigned to Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.

Forensics Investigator equipped with new tools to catch criminals

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- - Being burglarized or robbed leaves you feeling violated.

That feeling is motivation for Riverside County Sheriff's Department's new Forensics Investigator Jillian Frisby.

"I've been a victim of burglary, my home's been broken into, I've been a victim of a robbery -- I was a bank teller and I was the teller that was robbed, and I know how that feels," sympathizes Frisby, "I wish the officer that came to my house did a little bit of a better job, so when I go to a scene that's why I put forth extra special effort because I know how victims feel."

Now working for Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and Indian Wells' Police Department, the seven-year veteran made her first public appearance Thursday. She spoke with deputies, residents, media, and shook hands for a formal introduction with Palm Desert Mayor Jan Harnik.

"I think it brings more awareness," Harnik said. "It helps, certainly, our community members feel more secure, and it helps them learn ways to protect themselves. I know that our forensic technician will help us with that, and it brings a certain level of security that's nice to have."

Palm Desert Sheriff's Captain Kevin Vest says they've been eyeing someone like Frisby for nearly a year.

"Ninety-five percent of the crimes in our area are property or theft crime related," Vest explains, "So there's a lot of room for improvement, a lot of evidence, and hopefully we can identify those offenders quicker and capture them."

Frisby's top-of-the-line forensics van has the tools to help do just that. If you've ever seen a crime show like CSI, Bones, Dexter -- you may recognize a few items in the van. It's equipped with fingerprint dust and tape, evidence boxes for bullets, hairs, and guns, and DNA kits for swabbing potential suspects -- just to name a few basic things.

"I take photographs of everything, all the damage, all the shoe and tire impressions, and then if there's any evidence to collect, I'll photograph evidence," Frisby continues, "and then I get to latent searching -- I'll pull out the black powder and go to town looking for fingerprints."

Latent searching is police code for "looking for clues."

The new hire frees up those responding officers.

"She'll get better results," says Capt. Vest, "and they'll be able to return to patrol duties and other calls quicker."

"I can give a little bit more time to latent searching, because they have other calls that they have to get to," says Frisby, "So my role is, get in there, get photographs if there's evidence collection, and then do a little bit more thorough job of latent searching because it's what I do."

Frisby is now working primarily from the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station, located at 73705 Gerald Ford, Palm Desert.

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