News Details

Award-winning OCSD Crime Lab technician makes customer service a priority

One of the first things that struck him were the odd smells.

The vinegary smell of heroin, the metallic odor of blood, the unmistakable odor of a dead body.

“I’ll never forget that,” Raymond Frausto said of that last smell.

Frausto, 29, is a technician in the Evidence Control Section of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab, where he is among four techs who perform the critical tasks of receiving, logging, moving, tracking and releasing all evidence that comes into the lab.

He transferred to the lab about a year and a half ago from the county Department of Social Services.

It didn’t take him long to make an impression.

OCSD’s Legal Property Tech Raymond Fausto was named "Property Officer of the Year" by the California Association of Property and Evidence. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Raymond Frausto is a technician in the Evidence Control Section of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Frausto was voted the Property Officer of the Year by the OC chapter of the California Association of Property and Evidence (CAPE).

The association is made up of property and evidence officers from nearly every law enforcement agency in the county who meet quarterly as a way of networking and sharing information.

Frausto received the most votes among the candidates in the running for the title. All were nominated by their supervisors.

“What makes him unique is that he is very customer service-focused and very solution-focused,” said Frausto’s supervisor, Kim Brown. “He is calm and methodical (about) how he does things.”

The customers Brown is referring to are the law enforcement agencies throughout the county who show up daily with blood, urine, narcotics, clothing and even vehicles, just to name a few.

Legal Property Technician Gladys Lehman helps log-in evidence from Santa Ana PD. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Legal Property Technician Gladys Lehman receives evidence from a local police agency.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Frausto’s job involves making sure the correct evidence gets to the right unit in the lab for analysis and then returned to the right agency. He details every step in the evidence chain along the way.

If done incorrectly, the successful prosecution of a criminal case relying on blood evidence could be jeopardized.

“I just feel that it’s really interesting,” said Frausto of his responsibilities. “It really grabs my mind. Even though we do the same tasks, there are new things coming in … new challenges every day.”

Frausto said he had always had a desire to pursue a career in some aspect of law enforcement but wasn’t sure if he was qualified.

While working in Social Services, Frausto noticed the job listing for a property and evidence technician in the OCSD Crime Lab.

“When I looked at it, I thought this would be a great way to see if I could work in the law enforcement environment,” Frausto said. “I got the job.”

When asked what he had to learn to do the job, Frausto replied:

“Everything! It was a lot … just the terminology … the lingo …187 [the penal code for murder], I didn’t even know what that meant.”

OCSD’s Legal Property Tech Raymond Fausto was named "Property Officer of the Year" by the California Association of Property and Evidence. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Raymond Frausto proudly shows his award. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Not even two years later, Frausto said he feels more plugged in, more connected.

“I see something on the news and I understand the story,” he said. “I get it. Before having this job, I didn’t.”

At the annual CAPE seminar, which takes place April 3-7 in Anaheim, Frausto will be in the running for the title of Property Officer of the Year for the entire state.