Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

MARCH 2020
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Crime Scene Response Guidelines

The purpose of crime scene investigation is to help establish what happened (crime scene reconstruction) and to identify the responsible person. This is done by carefully documenting the conditions at a crime scene and recognizing all relevant physical evidence. The ability to recognize and properly collect physical evidence is oftentimes critical to both solving and prosecuting violent crimes. It is no exaggeration to say that in the majority of cases, the law enforcement officer who protects and searches a crime scene plays a critical role in determining whether physical evidence will be used in solving or prosecuting violent crimes.

Despite Hollywood's portrayal, crime scene investigation is a difficult and time consuming job. There is no substitute for a careful and thoughtful approach. An investigator must not leap to an immediate conclusion as to what happened based upon limited information but must generate several different theories of the crime, keeping the ones that are not eliminated by incoming information at the scene. Reasonable inferences about what happened are produced from the scene appearance and information from witnesses. These theories will help guide the investigator to document specific conditions and recognize valuable evidence.

Documenting crime scene conditions can include immediately recording transient details such as lighting (on/off), drapes (open/closed), weather, or furniture moved by medical teams. Certain evidence such as shoeprints or gunshot residue is fragile and if not collected immediately can easily be destroyed or lost. The scope of the investigation also extends to considerations of arguments which might be generated in this case (suicide/self defense) and documenting conditions which would support or refute these arguments.

In addition, it is important to be able to recognize what should be present at a scene but is not (victim's vehicle/wallet) and objects which appear to be out of place (ski mask) and might have been left by the assailant. It is also important to determine the full extent of a crime scene. A crime scene is not merely the immediate area where a body is located or where an assailant concentrated his activities but can also encompass a vehicle and access/escape routes.

Although there are common items which are frequently collected as evidence (fingerprints, shoeprints, or bloodstains), literally any object can be physical evidence. Anything which can be used to connect a victim to a suspect or a suspect to a victim or crime scene is relevant physical evidence. Using the "shopping list" approach (collecting all bloodstains, hairs, or shoeprints) will probably not result in recognizing the best evidence. For example, collecting bloodstains under a victim's body or shoeprints from emergency personnel will rarely answer important questions. Conversely, a single matchstick (not usually mentioned as physical evidence) recovered on the floor near a victim's body can be excellent physical evidence since it can be directly tied to a matchbook found in a suspect's pocket.

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This Month's Featured Resource on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website

This updated Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide to Law Enforcement is a revision of the original publication published in January 2000, and borrows heavily from that work. The resulting document includes detailed procedural guides for the complete range of crime scene investigation tasks — from securing the scene to submitting the evidence. This publication provides law enforcement professionals and first responders step-by-step guidance in this crucial first phase of the justice process.

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Featured Video Presentation
On our Video Presentations page:

Developing Latent Fingerprints with Magnetic Powder

Watch this video to learn how to develop fingerprints using magnetic powder.

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New CSI and Forensic Job Announcements

The most comprehensive listing of Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic
employment opportunities on the internet! We typically have over 150 current listings!

To be notified of job openings as they are posted, follow us on Twitter: Job Posting Alerts
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Evidence Technician
Yavapai Sheriff's Office, Prescott Valley, Arizona, USA

Final Filing Date: March 24, 2020
Provides technical support to detectives, deputies and other law enforcement personnel in analyzing, photographing, collecting, preserving and presenting physical evidence. Work is performed in the field including crime scenes and autopsies.
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Crime Scene Investigator
Newport Beach Police Department, Newport Beach, California, USA

Final Filing Date: March 26, 2020
Perform a variety of duties related to crime scene investigations, including to identify, collect, preserve and process physical evidence at crime scenes, prepare appropriate reports, assist in criminal investigations, and testify in court.
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Crime Scene Technician/Property Room
New Port Richey Police Department, New Port Richey, Florida, USA

Final Filing Date: May 5, 2020
Perform work in a duel role as a Crime Scene Technician by assisting in the investigation of crimes through the collection and analysis of evidence from crime scenes. In the Property Room to perform the duties of maintaining accurate files on cases involving property or evidence.
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Computer Forensic Examiner
Bakersfield Police Department, Bakersfield, California, USA

Final Filing Date: Open until filled
Processes, examines and analyzes computer hardware, software, cellular phones, digital media, electronically stored data and other computer-related evidentiary materials pertaining to law enforcement investigations. Prepares and presents reports of findings, provides expert testimony, and performs other work as required.
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Fingerprint Examiner I
San Bernardino County Sheriff, San Bernardino, California, USA

Final Filing Date: March 20, 2020
retrieve, classify, and maintain fingerprint records and perform fingerprint analysis according to varied and complex fingerprint characteristics; performs related duties as required. This is a trainee classification.
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Forensic Scientist
Jefferson County, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA

Final Filing Date: Continuous
Work involves applying theory and practical applications of chemistry, physics and biology to forensic investigations in the area of physical evidence by comparing firearms, bullets, cartridge casings, gunshot residue, tools and tool marks and relating them to a crime or crime scene. Work also involves performing laboratory tests, analyses, classifications, and identifications of physical evidence from crime scene investigations.
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Forensic Analyst
Eugene Police Department, Eugene, Oregon, USA

Final Filing Date: April 3, 2020
Evidence Processing for Latent Prints, Trace and other physical evidence; Cell phone analysis and 24/7 Crime Scene response for Processing and Reconstruction. This position's responsibilities are heavily weighted on Forensic Video Analysis and Crime Scene Reconstruction.
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Forensic Scientist, DNA
Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Arvada, Colorado, USA

Final Filing Date: April 7, 2020
Responsible for the preservation, screening/analysis and interpretation of biological evidence collected in criminal cases for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
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