I feel like I have to reference "The Wire." I first saw the show while working for the Crime Lab. When I saw it, was shocked; I couldn't believe how accurate it was. Of course there are dramatic liberties taken, but the show captures so well the essence of the crime problem facing the city, the organizational problems facing the BCPD, and the spirit of the few great police that go above and beyond their job descriptions (not to mention their pay grades).
I was assigned to the Mobile Unit, which means that we actually responded to crime scenes. The Baltimore City Police Department Laboratory Division also maintains 9-5 specialty divisions for firearms, drug analysis, trace evidence, and photography.
From 2003 through 2006 I was a crime scene investigator for the Baltimore City Police Department. I was assigned to the Mobile Unit in the Criminal Investigations Division ("Detective Division"). Every two weeks shifts rotated. 6AM-2PM. 2PM-10PM. 10PM-6AM.
My job was to respond to and "process" crime scenes. Processing of scenes included the discovery/documentation/recovery of relevant evidence and, more often than not, providing real-time leads to patrol officers and detectives for investigative followup.
I learned so much about Baltimore and about life in general working for the police department.
Being a crime scene investigator means solving puzzles every day. Often, these puzzles are emotionally challenging and time-sensitive. The skill set you build translates into almost any problem-solving endeavor.