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Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Welcome to the November 2012 Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Basic Stages for a Crime Scene
Investigation—Possible Homicide

Don Penven

Approach the Scene
The crime scene investigator returns the microphone to its clip and begins the drive to the latest assignment. A crime scene investigation begins well before the CSI enters a structure, an open field or wooded area. Usually the radio dispatch message is brief and seldom reveals the full nature of the incident. Most often this is done to avoid drawing on-lookers and the media who may be monitoring the dispatch frequency. As the CSI turns onto the street in question, his first obligation is to "turn on" his powers of observation. He may make a mental note of what he sees, hears and smells-or better still-records them on a digital voice recorder. His first reaction to the scene must be, "Does anything look out of place? What odors may be noticeable and are there unusual sounds.

Secure and Protect the Scene
Hopefully the first responders haven't caused too much disruption to any potential physical evidence. Before even stepping inside the structure, ingress and egress to it must be controlled. Sentries at all possible entrances should be put in place. The CSI, after learning the basic facts—in this case it appears that a white male appears to have a single bullet wound the head and rigor has set in—this from the first responders, so the CSI will establish the boundaries of the crime scene. Then ... out comes the crime scene tape.

Initiate Preliminary Survey
Again... before entering the structure an exterior survey is needed. This may be nothing more that walking around the exterior of the structure to see if any obvious evidence is apparent. This would include open windows, damaged doors, ladders and the like. The question the CSI is asking is ... how was entry made to the structure? Once indoors, the CSI will make a visual survey of the actual room in which the incident reported took place. This is a good time to also take overall photos of the scene. He will then survey adjoining rooms to determine if these spaces may have information relative to the incident. Most law enforcement agencies conduct such investigations of an unattended death (no physician present) as a possible homicide-until it is determined otherwise. Unlike some TV dramas, the CSI is on site for the purpose of finding, evaluating and collecting physical evidence. In most agencies, statements from witnesses and survivors are handled by the investigators/detectives.

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*Article submitted by the author

New CSI and Forensic Job Announcements

To be notified of job openings as they are posted, follow us on Twitter: <Receive Job Opening Alerts via Twitter>

Forensic Specialist  |  Culver City, CA
Final Filing Date: November 6, 2012
Salary: $5,368 to $6,552 per month

This non-sworn position is responsible for performing a variety of tasks and procedures relating to crime scene investigation, documentation, analysis, and storing of physical evidence for investigative and law enforcement purposes. Performs latent comparisons and other duties as a latent print examiner. Prepares latent prints for Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) submission through an automated latent print system, determines and verifies any positive latent print identifications. Responds to crime scenes to document, collect and preserve evidence or provides technical assistance in these activities. This includes taking photographs, processing and lifting latent prints, and other processing procedures. Performs analysis of evidence collected at crime scenes and performs subsequent chemical processes for the detection of trace evidence or latent prints through a variety of processes including laser application. Reports the results of all analysis of latent prints, photographs, and other evidence to the appropriate investigative personnel. Testifies in court as an expert witness in the areas of evidence collection, chemical processing, latent print comparisons, and photography. Performs other duties as assigned.

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Forensic Analyst  |  Eugene, OR Police Department
Final Filing Date: November 9, 2012
Salary: $61,568-78,499.20 per year depending on qualifications

Performs a variety of complex and specialized technical tasks collecting, preserving, and identifying criminal evidence at crime scenes and / or analyzing evidence in the laboratory; analyzes evidence in conjunction with investigation activities and provides expert testimony in court on methods and results of analysis. Responsibilities are heavily weighted on Forensic Latent Print Processing/Comparison and Crime Scene Reconstruction.
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Latent Print Technician  |  Pensacola, FL
Final Filing Date: November 17, 2012
Salary: $1280 - $2187 Bi-Weekly
This position is responsible for examining, evaluating, and comparing fingerprints with known suspects. Independent judgment is required for the technical aspects of this position that works under the general supervision of the Crime Scene Unit Supervisor.

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Forensic Specialist  |  Spokane County, WA
Final Filing Date: November 21, 2012
Salary: $4709.18 - $6354.34 per month

Prepare annual budget for Forensic Unit; Monitor expenses and overtime for Forensic Unit; Authorize all purchases and oversees inventory of all equipment; Supervise the training of new personnel by direct instruction and by assignment of Forensic Lead Specialist; Prepare formal performance evaluations on probationary personnel; Evaluate and review performance of personnel assigned to Forensic Unit; Document and review performance problems; Recommend discipline; Ensure that Forensic Unit staff take proper safety precautions and use appropriate protective equipment to limit the risk of exposure to infectious diseases; Review records and reports for accuracy and completeness of all Forensic Unit personnel; Verify latent fingerprint identifications made by Forensic Specialists and Forensic Lead Specialists; Develop and verify step-by-step procedures and policies as it relates to the duties in the Forensic Unit; Research new developments in the forensic field and schedule training on these developments; Required to be available and respond, at all times, for callouts to crime scenes; Must be able to perform all duties of the Forensic Lead Specialist, Forensic Specialist, and Forensic Technician; Negotiate with bargaining units; Perform related duties.

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Criminalist  |  City of Allen, TX
Final Filing Date: Open until filled
Salary: $18.40 - $23.01 per hour

The purpose of this position is to identify, collect and preserve evidence to assist in solving criminal investigations. This is accomplished by processing crime scenes and fingerprint evidence. Other duties may include testifying in court, providing educational opportunities and departmental support and interfacing with other City employees and citizens. This position does not provide direction to other employees.

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Crime Scene Technician  |  Henry County, GA Police Department
Final Filing Date: Open until filled
Salary: $39,403.63 per year

This position applies scientific principles to analysis, identification, and classification of mechanical devices, chemical and physical substances, materials, liquids, or other physical evidence related to criminology, law enforcement, or investigative work by performing the following duties: performs a variety of analytical examinations; analyzes items such as paint, printed matter, paper, ink, fabric, dust, dirt, gases, or other substances; identifies hair, skin, tissue, blood, bones, or human organs; examines and classifies explosives, firearms, bullets, shells and other weapons; reconstructs crime scene, preserving marks or impressions made by shoes, tires, or other objects by plaster or moulage casts.

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Search for more job listings in Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics
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CSI In The News

Ribbon Cut To New Harris County Forensic Facility
The building was once known as the most modern bakery in the United States. It is now being touted as one of the nation's top forensic crime labs. Officials cut the ribbon on the new facility that will help solve crime in Harris County. news - Houston, TX - by Pat Hernandez - October 31, 2012

DC court rejects and discredits forensic sciences report
The DC appeals court has limited the role that a 2009 report on forensic sciences can play in criminal proceedings and appeals. A three-judge appellate panel argued found that sections of a report, which was mandated by Congress, were not considered authoritative and could not be used to question experts. Defense lawyers across the United States have used the forensic sciences report, which was published by the National Research Council of the National Academies, to challenge the reliability of certain types of forensic evidence in criminal cases. The report is critical of the reliability of forensic techniques besides DNA testing.
Biometric - by Stephen Mayhew - October 31, 2012

Help sought for new medical examiner system
Oneida County is seeking assistant forensic investigators and transport services for deceased county residents, county Executive Anthony Picente announced Wednesday. The jobs would start Jan. 1, when the county switches over to its new medical examiner system.
The Observer-Dispatch - Utica, New York - by Elizabeth Cooper - October 31, 2010

Determining sex from a fingerprint
UK scientists have used mass spectroscopy to determine the sex of a perpetrator from the peptides in fingerprints left at a crime scene. Simona Francese from Sheffield Hallam University explains that peptides naturally present in sweat and their relative abundance are distinctive for one sex or the other. Francese and her team used matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry to detect the peptides and their relative abundance from fingerprint samples. "Results can be obtained in 10 minutes from sample preparation to data acquisition and analysis with 85% accuracy," says Francese.
Chemistry World - by Rachel Cooper - October 26, 2012

Other Resources on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website
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