PENDLETON- Christine Ogilvie enjoys watching the television show "C.S.I. Las Vegas." She loves seeing all the technology the investigators get to use and the interesting cases. But it's simply unrealistic, Ogilvie said.
"I wish it was true, what's on the show," said Ogilvie, a forensic scientist for the Oregon State Police crime lab in Pendleton, which serves seven counties in Eastern Oregon. "The unlimited resources they have, their time, the amount of time it takes to solve a case - I wish I was so lucky. Their methods are not at all accurate, and some are even futuristic."
Ogilvie, who has been in the profession for 17 years, is just one of only two people in Pendleton's crime lab, and due to diminished state funding the cases Ogilvie has to examine keep piling up.
"The job is never done," Ogilvie said. "There's always something to do. Everyday is different."
Ogilvie said that while she likes watching "C.S.I.," she gets tired of people constantly comparing what she does with the fictional show.
"I never knew until I watched the show that you could wear a leather coat to an autopsy," Ogilvie said, laughing.
Ogilvie said the show makes her profession appear much more glamorous than it really is.
"A lot of the things we do are, well, for lack of a better word, icky," she said. "Some of the things we have to examine are icky and gross."
Despite some of the unattractive aspects of her job, Ogilvie couldn't imagine doing anything else. The Eastern Oregon State College (now Eastern Oregon University) graduate fell in love with the profession after taking a tour of the crime lab in Springfield at the suggestion of a college professor.
"I was like a kid in a candy store," she said. "I'd always been a big mystery fan growing up, like Perry Mason, so this was great."
Ogilvie's investigations throughout Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties are for drug possessions and sex abuse crimes. However, while murders and attempted murders don't come along as often, when they do, they tend to take up a large majority of Ogilvie's time.
Emotionally, Ogilvie said it can sometimes be tough, especially when she arrives on the scene of a murder. But solving a tough case is rewarding.
"When we discover what really makes the case, it shows we're really doing what we're supposed to be doing as scientists," Ogilvie said. "This is the type of profession where a person either loves it or hates it. I love it."