The purpose of the proposed policy contained herein is to effectively outline the required procedures t be practiced by all officers responding to a crime scene. The intention of this proposed policy is to present the Chief of Police with the valuable information needed to ensure the proper containment of all crime scenes and the proper preservation of evidence. Within these pages you will be presented with the necessary duties of involved officers from the point of arrival on the scene of the crime.
This policy will include the proper protocol for the collection and containment of physical evidence as well as the required interviewing involved, but will not cover any post crime scene investigative proceedings. The preservation of physical evidence is imperative to the execution of the crime scene investigative process, thus the quality of the evidence contained must be preserved in order for the investigation to run smoothly.
Validity of the Crime Scene
It is important to always remember that the crime scene is the only evidence you have that a crime was committed and what possible parties may have been involved. With this being the case, it is the job to the first officer to respond to the call assume responsibility for the containment of the scene and to begin the process of securing the evidence available. The initial duties of the officer include the defining of the crime scenes perimeters.
There is no previously defined method of determining the exact perimeters of a crime scene but it is best to remember that the entire impending investigation rests on the value that you place on the containment of that crime scene, so it is best to set the perimeters of the scene as reasonably outside of the obvious events as possible – setting the dimensions of the crime scene to be too large could result in the wasting of a great deal of time and manpower, while making the crime scene too small could compromise the quality of evidence obtained.
Most of your valuable evidence will be in immediate proximity to the most crucial area of the event (i. e. if you’re responding to a shooting that resulted in someone’s death the dimensions of the crime scene should focus mainly on the location of the dead body and the surrounding area). Initial Responding Officer The success of any investigation rests solely on the shoulders of the first officer to arrive on the scene because it is that individual who will be in place to oversee the containment of all available evidence.
As the physically implied lead of the investigation, the initial officer should fight to secure as many eye witnesses as possible to the crime that has been committed and all present elements of the case must be fully protected from any possibility of outside influence. Witnesses should be isolated from other individuals to prevent the tainting of eye witness accounts or the early release of information pertaining to the investigation at hand.
With the initial officer’s duties being so vital to the investigative process it is important to outline that individuals’ responsibilities as it relates to the case. From the time of receiving the call that a crime has been committed the officer must arrive on the scene immediately as not to chance the contamination of the crime scene. The officer should be very careful to ensure that his/her presence does not compromise the integrity of the crime scene in any way during the execution of their duties.
If the alleged perpetrator is believed to still be on the scene it is vital to request backup assistance immediately and to provide aid to anyone who may be injured before attempting to pursue the alleged perpetrator. If the officer is able to ascertain the chosen path of the perpetrator this would be highly valuable information to provide dispatch for the relaying of facts to any responding units. The initial responding officer must keep the area in order until investigative personnel arrives on the scene.
Although the events must be investigated by the proper authorities, the responding officer is still required to file a report regarding the incident so it is important that he/she take very accurate and detailed notes. Crime Scene Containment It is vital for all unnecessary individuals to be removed from the scene, all passersby and uninvolved onlookers must be removed immediately. It is our hope that there will be a substantial amount of officers available to contain the crime scene and begin obtaining all valuable information before the scene can be altered in any fashion.
All witnesses must be identified and isolated quickly to gain the most valid information available. When responding to a crime, especially a homicide, officers can leave no stone unturned. All possible items of evidence must be uncovered, isolated, photographed and processed in as quickly a manner as possible. The officers on the scene must process any ballistics materials and all other physical materials, including any possible impressions before the individuals present or even the natural elements at and can compromise the integrity of the crime scene.
The evidence discovered at a crime scene is the only evidence that you are likely to have in a criminal investigation and with the victim being dead eyewitness testimony is the only true account of the events that took place, that is why it is so vital to follow the elements contained within this proposed policy, the rights of victims and execution of justice depend on it. The evidence containing processed must be methodical and organized in order to assure validity and strength of evidence and it is often best for the investigative procedures to take place from the inside.
As long as the manpower permits an outward spiral investigative pattern should be performed spanning from the dead body to the outer areas of the designated crimes scene perimeter to ensure the most effective containment of physical evidence. Works Cited Baldwin, Hayden B. Crime Scene Processing Protocol. Illinois State Police Report. Retrieved: June 19, 2009 from: http://www. feinc. net/cs-proc. htm Byrd, Mike. Duty Description for the Crime Scene Investigator. Miami-Dade Police Department Crime Scene Investigations Report. Retrieved: June 19, 2009 from: http://www. crime-scene-investigator.
net/dutydescription. html Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement. Research Report. U. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (1999). Retrieved June 19, 2009 from http://www. oip. usdoj. gov/nij Crime Scene Procedures. Alamo Community Colleges Police Report No. 402/12 (2002). Retrieved: June 19, 2009 from: http://www. accd. edu/district/dps/policy/402-12%20Crime%20Scene%20Procedures. pdf Layton, Julia. How Crime Scene Investigation Works. A “How it Works” Exclusive Article. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from: http://science. howstuffworks. com/csi. htm