The Real CSI

RENO, NV - Shows like "CSI" and "Bones" have created an insatiable interest in Forensic Science. Kids and even adults want to know more about how to get into DNA testing, ballistics, and toxicology to help solve crimes. That's one reason Washoe County's Forensic Science Lab is opening its doors to the public on Thursday for tours.

When it comes to the Washoe County Forensic Science Lab, you could say this is the calm before the storm.

Machines that test for DNA, drugs, or chemicals are pretty much idle.

But tomorrow they'll be operational for the perhaps one thousand people who will tour the lab over the course of about seven hours.

“Different groups call us, girl scouts, boy scouts, different schools want to learn what forensic science is all about. And we just can't meet the demand. So having an open hose like this allows us to open the doors to those communities and other groups who want to come in and see what we are doing,” says Forensic Science Division Director Renee Romero.

Romero says they'd like to have tours more frequently, but there's a lot of work involved in an open house.

In a tour from a couple of years ago, machines were working, and employees described what those machine help detect.

But it's not all machines.

The tour will take you through ballistics, where guns are displayed and tests are performed.

Experts here describe how they match bullets to guns, or identify a gun whose serial number has been destroyed.

“A lot of people are interested in finger prints,” says Romero.

Some of the oldest crime solving techniques around, and guests will be able to view that part of the lab as well.

Romero says the most common question she gets asked is "how do I get your job?"

Her answer, study, get a masters, work hard, and have a desire to solve mysteries.