Forensic scientist: Job not like crime dramas _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- Zachary resident Jeff Goudeau, a forensic scientist with the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, points to one of six bullet holes in a shooting case he worked proving that the shooter fired at the vehicle in self-defense. Goudeau was the guest speaker at Rotary Club meeting Oct. 1.

Zachary resident Jeff Goudeau, a forensic scientist who works for the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, explained his job Oct. 1 during a Zachary Rotary Club meeting.

As a certified senior crime scene analyst, he’s conducted hundreds of investigations involving forensic firearm examination, operability and malfunctions, as well as crime scene analysis and reconstructions involving shootings, he said.

His department assists law enforcement agencies, receiving more than 18,000 requests for analysis each year.

Goudeau and others in the Crime Lab train law enforcement officers in all phases of evidence processing and crime scene investigation, he said.

“What I can tell you is that television crime dramas such as ‘CSI’ or ‘NCIS’ have had a huge impact on how we assess a scene, because everyone thinks they’re CSI now,” Goudeau said. “Those shows are sexier on television than in real life. We get dirty. Once, we had to retrieve a gun from an alligator pit.”

Goudeau’s job requires him to recreate shootings, which he does by using deductive and inductive reasoning, and he likes to process a scene with as few details as possible.

“People lie intentionally and unintentionally,” Goudeau said. “I like to work the scene and come up with my own answers using a scientific method without knowing what the suspect or witness said. Typically, we come in on the tail end of a case anyway.”

One case he shared with the group involved six bullet holes in the windshield of a vehicle, which he determined using trajectory analysis.

“Sometimes you have to work a scene backwards, and in this case, we had to do just that, determining the shooter was standing 3 feet from the vehicle. We verified his story that he shot first because he saw the suspect holding a weapon inside the vehicle,” Goudeau said. “The shooter, by the way, was a security guard and fired in self-defense.”

Providing testimony is a huge part of Goudeau’s job, as well, for both the prosecution and the defense, he said.