"Helping solve a case that has affected a lot of people is where you can really make a difference," she said.
As a fingerprint examiner, Rachael plays an integral part in a wide range of investigations.
"What usually happens is that crime scene experts go out and collect fingerprint samples and bring them back to us at the lab to analyse. But if it's a major crime a fingerprint expert will actually go to the crime scene."
Fingerprints are collected the traditional way with special tape and also photographed so digital images can also be used.
"Computer technology has changed the way we work, but it's not the way you see it on TV shows with fingerprints flashing past on the screen until there's a hit," Rachael said.
"The national database offers up possible candidates but we have to use our training, knowledge and skill to find the detail to determine if it's a match. It can be quite painstaking, but it is important that it's done properly. Each result is then verified by another expert."
Most people come into the fingerprints field having completed a science degree. They then train for five years to complete a Diploma of Forensic Investigation Fingerprint Identification.
Once you have completed the diploma and sit exams set by the Australasian Forensic Fields Sciences Accreditation Board, you are considered an expert.
Rachael has recently reached "expert" status, having originally begun her scientific career testing food and water with the health department.
"I'd always been interested in forensic sciences and when I was returning to work after maternity leave, I applied for a crime scene job," she said.
"It was a huge career change but I loved it, going from a very structured job to one where anything can happen. There was so much variety in the work, it was the rejuvenation I needed at the time. After a year I decided to specialise in fingerprints."
She has worked on many cases, including a murder where she had to deal with footprints in blood.
"Footprints are like fingerprints - they have the same evidentiary value - no two areas on a footprint or fingerprint are ever repeated."
Rachael says a crime scene investigation is a real team effort. It is like most areas of the AFP where a career can encompass national and international operations such as human trafficking, cyber-crime and counter terrorism as well as the more traditional policing roles of enforcing Commonwealth criminal law and community policing in the ACT.
"For me I get a lot of job satisfaction from solving crime in my own community. There is nothing better than being part of an investigation that has put a stop to a run of crime in the suburbs."
Rachael is looking forward to cementing her role as a fingerprint expert and working with a new group of trainees.
"The learning won't stop for me either. There is research happening all over the world and I enjoy keeping up with the latest techniques and test methods. It's a field that will continue to develop, with several universities now specialising in forensic science and driving the research," she said.
"There will always be something new to look forward to. Every day is different and throws up new challenges."