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CSI for the GBI: Foster fulfills childhood dream of solving crimes

Steve Foster solves crimes for a living.

His job isn't performed in the traditional sense though. Instead, it's more sophisticated and involves scientific forensics.

As a little boy, Mr. Foster wanted to be a police officer when he grew up.

"I always wanted to be a police officer growing up," said Mr. Foster, who began his law enforcement career with the Clayton County Police Department following graduation at North Clayton High School. "I worked as a road patrol officer for six years."

A friend that he worked with - Curtis Wade - now a supervisor with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta - left the police department to seek a career with the state law enforcement agency and subsequently persuaded Mr. Foster to apply.

The 40-year-old Mr. Foster was hired a short time later as a special agent with the GBI and has been with the bureau ever since.

Three years after joining the GBI, Agent Foster was approached about becoming a crime scene specialist. Being single at the time, he jumped at the opportunity of learning about the unique field of forensic sciences. It also meant more money.

Unlike one of America's most popular television hits, CSI, Agent Foster's work is real.

"A lot of the stuff seen on that show is not real and not how crimes are actually solved," said Agent Foster during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror. "My work in the forensics field is real. It's not the television version."

During his 12 years with the GBI, Agent Foster has seen just about every crime imaginable, ranging from murder to armed robbery cases. Often, such cases require much time for investigation - in the field and in the laboratory.

"I love what I do," said Agent Foster, who is married and has a 7-year-old daughter. "I love to protect the good people from the bad people. The bad people must be stopped."

For those who commit crimes against others, Agent Foster believes punishment is a must.

"It's the right thing to do when somebody does something wrong," Agent Foster said. "Sometimes they learn from their mistakes and sometimes they don't."

Agent Foster is on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week. An occasional break comes his way only if there is another fellow crime scene specialist that can cover the 10 counties that comprise the GBI's Region 7. In addition to working certain cases in McDuffie County, he also works nine other counties within the region. They include: Warren, Glascock, Lincoln, Wilkes, Taliaferro, Jefferson, Burke, Columbia and Richmond. And Agent Foster also assists field agents and is involved in drug analysis.

"He (Agent Foster) stays rather busy," admits Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the GBI's Region 7 office in Thomson. "It's extremely beneficial to have Agent Foster on our team."

"Forensic science is a most rewarding field," said Agent Foster. "It's very rewarding to me when I can find a piece of evidence that directly links a particular person to a crime."

Web posted on Friday, November 02, 2007

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