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Luita, tietotekniikkaa ja rikostutkintaa -Otso Manninen uratarina -en

Bones, IT and criminal investigation

Senior Detective Constable Otso Manninen
National Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Investigation Division

I have been asked countless times, “how does an archaeologist end up becoming a police officer”. My journey from academia to detective constable began when I met a bone analyst from the National Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Laboratory in connection with a university project who was also an archaeologist by training. It was the first time that I realised that the police has experts in multiple different scientific disciplines in its ranks.

I started to think about specialising in forensic archaeology. I ended up at Bournemouth University in England and got a master’s degree. I returned to Finland and worked briefly in IT on the strength of my earlier studies, but the temptation to do something with what I had learned in England soon became too strong.

In Finland, crime scene investigations are, as a rule, the responsibility of the police. Realising my dream therefore meant enrolling in the Police University College. My biggest challenge in preparing for the entrance examination was my physique: I am what you might call “skinny as a string bean” and started my weight training with an empty barbell. My hard work at the gym and long nights studying textbooks paid off, and I got on the course.

My dream came true when I was still in basic training: I got to do some of my practical training at the National Bureau of Investigation. The most serious crime that I had investigated up to that point in my career was probably assault or theft. Suddenly I was invited to meetings where the topics ranged from terrorism to organised crime and murder. Where my tools had been a notebook and a fines manual, I was now relying on phone tapping, surveillance and cyber intelligence.

I was already in my thirties when I began my police training and a good example of how it can take time for a person to find their place in life. I now work as Senior Detective Constable at the National Bureau of Investigation. I no longer see myself as an archaeologist – I am a criminal investigator who happens to know a few things about archaeology. They say that being a police officer is a calling. Some of us just find our calling later in life than others.