Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

MAY 2017
This month's newsletter is brought to you by the 2017 CSI Academy

Back to the basics:

Wearing gloves while
processing a crime scene

Steve Staggs

It is common practice to wear gloves while processing a crime scene. But why, when and what type of gloves?

There are two primary reasons for wearing gloves while processing a crime scene. One is to protect us from the evidence. The other is to protect the evidence from us.

Protection from the evidence

When we are using gloves for our protection, we are attempting to protect ourselves from biohazardous substances such as blood, urine and semen. On December 6, 1991, OSHA issued Title 29, Section 1910.1030, of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Bloodborne. Occupations at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens include law enforcement, emergency response, and forensic laboratory personnel.

Fundamental to the bloodborne pathogens standard is the concept of following universal precautions. This concept is the primary mechanism for infection control. It requires that employees treat all blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials as if infected with bloodborne diseases, such as the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The following protective measures should be taken to avoid direct contact with potentially infectious materials:

  • Use barrier protection—such as disposable gloves, coveralls, and shoe covers—if contact with potentially infectious materials may occur. Change gloves when torn or punctured or when their ability to function as a barrier is compromised. Wear appropriate eye and face protection to protect against splashes, sprays, and spatters of potentially infectious materials.

  • Remove gloves and other personal protective equipment in a manner that will not result in contaminating unprotected skin or clothing.

  • Wash hands after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment.

  • Prohibit eating, drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics where human blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials are present, regardless of personal protection that may be worn.

  • Place contaminated sharps in appropriate closable, leak-proof, puncture-resistant containers when transported or discarded. Label the containers with a BIOHAZARD warning label.

  • Do not bend, re-cap, remove, or otherwise handle contaminated needles or other sharps.

  • After use, decontaminate equipment with a daily prepared solution of household bleach diluted 1:10 or with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or other appropriate disinfectant. Allow sufficient contact time for complete disinfection.

Protecting the evidence from us

To protect the evidence we wear gloves to avoid placing our fingerprints on evidence and to avoid cross contaminating the evidence.

Cross contamination is a real issue at crime scenes when evidence may include DNA. We don't want to place our DNA on evidence we collect and we don't want to transfer DNA from one item of evidence to another. For that reason we need to change our gloves often. When collecting DNA (such as swabbing a surface) we should change our gloves for each sample. When collecting evidence that may have DNA on it, we should change our gloves for each item of evidence.

Many investigators think that they can just wear one pair of gloves for the entire scene. The problem is an investigator is usually touching all sorts of things during the course of the investigation, such as tools, clipboards, notepads and pens. If the investigator uses a pen to fill out the property report or evidence tag, then collects the evidence, there is a possibility of cross contamination. First of all there was probably DNA on the pen the investigator brought to the scene. Using the pen and then collecting the evidence without changing gloves may result in the transfer of DNA from the pen to the evidence. Also, investigators will often scratch their face and end up with their own DNA on the glove before handling evidence.

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*Article submitted by the author

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

This guide is intended to assist State and local law enforcement and other first responders who may be responsible for preserving an electronic crime scene and for recognizing, collecting, and safeguarding digital evidence. It is not all inclusive but addresses situations encountered with electronic crime scenes and digital evidence. All crime scenes are unique and the judgment of the first responder, agency protocols, and prevailing technology should all be considered when implementing the information in this guide. First responders to electronic crime scenes should adjust their practices as circumstances—including level of experience, conditions, and available equipment—warrant.

<View the Publication>

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 250 current listings!

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Evidence Technician I
Wyoming Police Department, Wyoming, Michigan, USA

Final Filing Date: June 9, 2017
Performs detailed and technical identification work required to ensure the proper collection and preservation of evidence. This position is responsible for fingerprinting, photography, computer mapping/graphics, crime scene search/documentation, preservation of evidence, preparing court exhibits, records and reports, and performing related work as required.
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Latent Print and Evidence Specialist
Escondido Police Department, Escondido, California, USA

Final Filing Date: Continuous. A first review of applications will take place during the week of June 5, 2017
Identifies, diagrams, photographs, collects, transports and preserves evidence from crime scenes; provides technical guidance and leadership in latent print analysis and performs difficult and complex examination of latent prints in connection with the investigation of crimes; gives expert testimony in the courts in all phases of latent print examination;
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Forensic Scientist
Indiana State Police, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Final Filing Date: June 15, 2017
An entry level Forensic Scientist performs technical work, testing and analyzing drugs and drugs of abuse and their metabolites for law enforcement and governmental agencies using state of the art instrumentation and analytical techniques.
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Forensic Scientist 2 - Latent Fingerprints Analyst
New Mexico Department of Public Safety, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Final Filing Date: June 9, 2017
Responsible for independently collecting, classifying, identifying and analyzing latent fingerprint evidence related to criminal investigations.
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Forensic Services Supervisor
Durham Police Department, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Final Filing Date: June 16, 2017
The Forensic Services Supervisor performs activities associated with the Police Department's Forensic Services Division and is responsible for the day to day administrative and technical operations of multiple units within the Forensic Services Division (Firearms, Latent Prints and Digital Forensics).
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Medical Examiner Investigator
Macomb County Medical Examiner, Mount Clemens, Michigan, USA

Final Filing Date: March 23, 2017June 1, 2017
Performs investigations of deaths that occur within Macomb County; prepares detailed reports and analysis on investigation of cases; ensures that evidence, death scene and specimens are preserved for authenticity in cooperation with local law enforcement activities; works cooperatively with law enforcement agencies,
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Featured Video Presentation

Learn the basic technique for using Mikrosil to lift fingerprints from irregular surfaces.

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