If one was asked to combine two of the most distant professional fields, law enforcement and animation would probably make the list. And rightly so. After all, how many inexperienced individuals would be able to think of a few touching points between working for a police department and making 3-D animations? Probably none. Unless one has had a job in either one of these two fields, they will seldom be able to connect them. So, is there any way that a degree in animation will contribute to the likelihood of landing a job within law enforcement? Absolutely.
When people first hear about the title of a forensic animator, the vast majority tends to see the phrase as a complete oxymoron. Forensic stands for any process that utilizes scientific methods to resolve crimes. Animation, on the other hand, represents a technique of putting drawings or models together in a way that creates movement.
Anyone who worked as an animator or a law enforcement agent will effortlessly dispute the aforementioned oxymoron claim. Forensic animation is one of the most popular tools that modern investigations rely on. As the leading branch of forensic science, it allows professionals to recreate crime scenes and even implement audio to help understand what happened. For instance, a lot of auto accidents that result in casualties and leave no witnesses can be borderline impossible to decipher. Who was at fault? What led to the crash? Do the injuries match the defendant’s story?
Courtesy of forensic animation, such questions can be answered. By using available audio recordings, reviewing evidence such as the skidmarks on the road, analyzing the victims’ injuries, and much more, expert animators can create a visual representation of what most likely occurred. That way, detectives will be able to either pursue further investigations or explain the lack thereof.
Although the saying “all roads lead to Rome” is seldom applicable to any professional field, law enforcement professionals who have a background in animation are an exception. This is because there are no other major opportunities within this particular sector. So, anyone who gets a degree in animation and wants to fight crime will eventually have to become a forensic animator.
Fortunately, the fact that the job opportunities are somewhat limited does not mean that the responsibilities follow the same pattern. On the contrary, the vast majority of forensic animators are in charge of countless tasks that make their day-to-day ventures extremely exciting. A great example would be projects related to simulations. While most people who do not have direct ties to the field will use simulation and animation interchangeably, these two keywords have very little in common.
An animation is usually a 3-D depiction of someone’s own opinion, idea, or creativity that can be devoid of reality. Simulation, however, must carefully obey physics, especially Newton’s laws related to motion. Since the ultimate objective of forensic animation is to depict an event from the real world, the final deliverable must match reality. Hence why most animators who join some law enforcement agency will often become simulation experts. This is also why forensic simulation is commonly mistaken for forensic animation.
Where Does the Degree Come In?
While having a degree in animation will undoubtedly improve the job outlook, it does not guarantee a law enforcement position. Remember that these types of jobs are amongst the most competitive ones in the market because there are many fewer law agencies than there are animators. Most of those organizations tend to give part-time or seasonal offers since they only need animators for limited periods.
Nonetheless, according to Paysa, a forensic animator who lands a full-time role is going to be in the top 10 percent of all earners across the market. That translates to an average of $95,403 per year.
Given the combination of competition, low availability of employment, and the fact that the pay is incomparable to other animation jobs, getting hired may be a bit challenging. Fortunately, folks who have a bachelor’s degree and a solid track record or portfolio will have a greater chance of getting selected for interviews. They must subsequently rely on their networking skills and personality to get hired. Thus, although a degree in animation will not guarantee a job, it is certainly going to boost one’s marketability.
Another reason why law enforcement and animation are so different boils down to their history of changes. For instance, people who worked as cops back in the 1970s would probably be able to handle the job today as well. This is because a lot of formal training for police officers is timeless and carries on through the years. After all, it is not like the laws constantly change and criminal investigation or suspect apprehension strategies get revamped.
If someone from the 1970s tried to do forensic animation today, they would most definitely struggle because it did not exist back then. According to Expert Law, the very first project delivered by forensic animators took place in 1985 when a simulation of the Delta flight 191 crashing at DFW airport was made. Since then, the techniques, software, and abilities have gotten a lot better.
While law enforcement agents do not have to worry about revolutionizing changes to their field, forensic animators are at constant risk of falling behind the contemporary trends. The best way to respond to such a fast-paced market is to find a job soon after graduation. Waiting for a long time could negatively impact the applicability of your bachelor’s degree.
You should also note that a college diploma itself is mostly recognized as a ticket to get inside of a high-level event. It is going to put you in a position to meet influential recruiters and get job interviews. An animation degree will indeed help with getting hired by a law enforcement agency.