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Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter


Welcome to the September 2014 Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Packaging Firearms

Mike Byrd

Choosing the Proper Packaging Medium

In methods of evidence collection the proper handling, packaging and transporting of the individual items of evidence is extremely important for the evidence preservation. Choosing the wrong packaging medium can cause the risk of valuable evidence destruction. One of the main goals of the crime scene investigator or evidence recovery technician remains identification and the recovery of any evidence that will assist in that identification process. In recovering firearms, aside from the ballistics examination and analysis, there is the probability for recovery of fingerprints that will lead to the person who had the last contact with that firearm.

The first duty of the investigator recovering a firearm or weapon is personal safety and the safety of anyone who will come into the custody of the item of evidence. The investigator then has the duty to preserve the potential evidence the item may reveal.

Many times the actions of the few can dictate the policy making effecting the many. One such policy making incident recently occurred. Having the access and ease of a local lab facility allows us to collect the evidence at the scene, transport it to our office for proper packaging and submission of the item through direct contact with the disciplines that will do the particular individual analysis.

The incident involved a firearm submitted with the weapon not being rendered safe. You can imagine the uproar that an incident of this magnitude would generate. Like the employee, the departments or agencies top priority always remains safety and safety related issues. Often times an incident such as this will dictate a spin off of policy making without the aspects of all goals and objects being given careful scrutiny and consideration.

The results of the policy making initiated were that all weapons be submitted with a flex-cuff attached to the top strap of a revolver, or through the slide and ejection port of a semi- automatic to assure the weapon is rendered safe. This was a good policy. The second policy required that all weapons collected be superglued at the scene prior to collection. This was another good policy. The third required policy to be effected directed the weapon to be placed and submitted in clear plastic, to allow the technician taking custody of the weapon to view the weapon assuring its safety.

This final portion of the policy making change was questionable. I foresee no effect on the evidence if the weapon is being submitted or routed to the discipline for ballistic type analysis. If the weapon is being submitted for the purpose of fingerprint recognition or collection analysis this presents a dilemma. I can already hear the teeth grinding from you savvy veteran investigators.

Experience and knowledge tells us that any item with the potential of latent fingerprint evidence, even if the prints have been fixed with superglue in the field, should not be placed and packaged in plastic. The friction from the item rubbing

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*Article submitted by the author

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

The idea of The Fingerprint Sourcebook originated during a meeting in April 2002. Individuals representing the fingerprint, academic, and scientific communities met in Chicago, Illinois, for a day and a half to discuss the state of fingerprint identification with a view toward the challenges raised by Daubert issues. The meeting was a joint project between the International Association for Identification and West Virginia University. One recommendation that came out of that meeting was a suggestion to create a sourcebook for friction ridge examiners, that is, a single source of researched information regarding the subject. This sourcebook would provide educational, training, and research information for the international scientific community.
<View the Publication>

Featured Video Presentation
On our Video Presentations page:

Casting Footwear Impressions

Learn the basic technique for casting footwear impressions.

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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 500 current listings!

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Evidence Technician I/II (CSI)
Kern County Sheriff, Bakersfield, California, USA

Final Filing Date: September 19, 2014
Salary: $18.29 - $27.26 Hourly
Performs technical criminal investigative work related to the collection, preservation and identification of physical evidence necessary for the successful prosecution of criminal cases in a court of law. Level I: This is the trainee level of the Evidence Technician I/II series. After one year of experience as an Evidence Technician I, an individual is eligible to be considered for promotion to the level of Evidence Technician II. Level II: This is the journey level in the  MORE
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Forensic Computer Specialist 1
Ohio State Highway Patrol, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Final Filing Date: September 14, 2014
Salary: $23.87 per hour
Utilizes specialized tools (e.g., computers, evidence acquisition devices, computer peripherals, software) and procedures (e.g., established, validated forensic principles and highly technical and specialized forensic analysis of seized computers and components) to collect, preserve and examine computer/digital related evidence.  MORE
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Forensic Scientists — Forensic Biology
Virginia Department of Forensic Science, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Final Filing Date: September 18, 2014
Salary: $50,139 - $83,880 per year
Identification of blood and other body fluids, DNA PCR-based STR fluorescence imaging analysis and comparisons of genetic material on criminal evidence using state-of-the-art analytical methodologies, techniques, and instrumentation. Prepares reports of findings for use by the criminal justice system and testifies in court as an expert witness. MORE
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Crime Specialist (Evidence)
City of Pasco, Washington, USA

Final Filing Date: September 16, 2014
Salary: $20.18 - $24.61 per hour
Collects, photographs, records, stores & analyzes crime scene evidence and property in the custody of the police department. Ensures proper processing of all evidence & property for court presentation, release to owner, authorized disposal or destruction.
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Latent Print Examiner
Durham Police/Forensic Services Division, North Carolina, USA

Final Filing Date: September 29, 2014
Salary: $41,071 - $65,714 per year
Responsible for the recovery, documentation, receipt, comparison and storage of latent evidence obtained by employees of the Durham Police Department. May work in the forensic lab to obtain prints from evidence; photograph, and document such evidence to be used for comparison purposes. Prepares findings for court presentation and  MORE
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Crime Scene Examiner
British Transport Police, Glasgow, UK

Final Filing Date: 21 September 2014
Salary: £25,200.69 per year
To obtain forensic evidence through thorough examination and investigation of crime scenes. To record the evidence in a case accurately. To attend scenes and evaluate the best method for forensic recovery. To give advice on scene preservation, packaging and cordons.
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