Gulfport PD now home to two of state’s newest certified crime scene investigators

Crime Scene Investigators are often the unseen heroes of catching criminals and bringing them to justice.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:17 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Crime Scene Investigators are often the unseen heroes of catching criminals and bringing them to justice. In Mississippi, there are only eight certified investigators.

Two of them work at Gulfport Police Department.

“We don’t work like a normal job. We see things that a normal person doesn’t see,” said Ashley Aucoin, a Certified Crime Scene Investigator at Gulfport Police Department. “We assist our detectives, so when they feel that a scene is big enough for processing, we’ll get called out at all different times of the day or night.”

“It might be dirty, but I like getting my hands dirty,” said Gulfport’s other Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Stephanie Taylor. “It’s fun and gross.”

In February, both Taylor and Aucoin achieved the CSI certification that only a handful in Mississippi currently hold.

“Me and my counterpart are two of the eight in the state and only four on the coast,” Aucoin said. “That helps to bring a lot of professionalism to Mississippi, because our neighboring states like Texas and Florida, it’s required.”

“It’s really awesome because it’s saying that we did something so big and only a few people in our state have done it, so it’s a pretty rewarding feeling,” said Stephanie.

Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper is proud that two of his civilian CSI workers took the initiative to get the certification.

“For these young ladies to go out and get this certification on their own and really challenge themselves to be better,” said Cooper. “Anytime an agency can come in from outside and say, yes, you’re doing it the right way and you know what you’re talking about – and it’s a nationally recognized organization, it’s all the better for the police department as well as court. I’m very proud of them.”

Along with multiple vans, Gulfport PD hosts a crime scene lab. Chemicals, swabs, test kits; it’s a lot to keep up with. But when the evidence that Aucoin and Taylor process leads to a conviction, it’s all worth while for them.

Back in the CSI Van, Aucoin and Taylor show off their tools of the trade.

“Even though people forget about us because we’re very much behind the scene, I don’t need the glory of it,” Aucoin said. “I just know that I helped this family.”

“Yeah, my hard work paid off. I’m not a prideful person, but I’m pretty proud of myself,” said Taylor.

Aucoin and Taylor tell us many law enforcement agencies in our state don’t have any civilian crime scene units, and the two hope that their stories will help change that.

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