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The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Crime Lab, hosted a forensic evidence training day.
John Lopes is a deputy sheriff crime scene investigator with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. He's one of the people who went out to collect evidence at Joseph DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights. DeAngelo is charged in connection to the East Area Rapist cases.
"I was able to respond out with a partner of mine that was in training," Lopes said. "We're able to assist the detectives and FBI and our role was to package up all the evidence that was recovered out of his house."
Lopes has been doing this line of work for more than 20 years with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
He's seen how much technology has changed and improved.
"The change since I've started we're looking at the quantity of DNA or things we look for," Lopes said. "Before we were looking for stains that were like a 50 cent piece and now we're looking for things that we may not be able to see."
During the training, they focused on alternative light source techniques in gathering and collecting evidence. The techniques are used to find human bodily fluids left behind by suspects.
Ryan Nickel, a criminalist, was one of the teachers in the training.
"There are items of evidence that you have no clue what it is," Nickel said. "I've gotten DNA profile from a windsurfer. A handle to a windsurf bar."
Nickel said with the updates in technology the Sacramento County District Attorney's Crime Lab is busy.
"At the crime lab we're still working many cold cases so ones that go back to probably to the 70's is the oldest we know of an obviously any in between."
Lopes said gathering evidence has changed too.
"We probably collect more things today than we would've then and packaging has changed," Lopes said. "Before we may have packaged items and today we need to separate them out so we can be more specific on where something comes from and what it came off of."
So far in 2018, the sheriff’s department has responded to more than 2,000 calls involving collecting forensic evidence.
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