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Crime scene cleaners do the dirty job so others don’t have to

First Published      Last Updated Feb 23 2014 01:11 pm

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When the cleaners show up, they arrive in unmarked vans and exercise discretion so the neighbors do not necessarily know what happened.

Woodworth's handful of employees usually stay only six to eight months. Most of them are training to become police officers or firefighters, or pursuing criminal-justice degrees, and they want the opportunity to get past the yellow tape. Welch does not see that kind of turnover, but his operation is smaller — it's just him, his partner and one employee.

The aftermath and the emotions are not what burn people out, though, Woodworth said — it's the hours. The cleaners are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is a chance they will spend Christmas removing the last, violent moment of someone's life.

But Woodworth, Welch and veterans like them keep at it.

"It's more motivating to stay. If I didn't do it, someone who knew them well would," Woodworth said. "It's a service that very few people can offer."


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