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Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Welcome to the December 2010 Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Searching and Examining
a Major Case Crime Scene

H.W. "Rus" Ruslander, S.C.S.A.
Forensic Scientist
Palm Beach Co. S.O., West Palm Beach, FL

The Initial Death Scene Examination

The crime scene examination and subsequent search should be done in a careful and methodical manner. After talking to the officer(s) who were the first ones on the scene and learning from them of any changes that might have been made to the scene since their arrival, such as turning lights on or off or opening doors or windows, start the examination by working your way into the body using great care to avoid disturbing or destroying any evidence as you do. Carefully observe the floor or ground surrounding the body. Look for items of evidence or of evidential value such as stains, marks, etc. Remember to look up too, every crime scene is 3 dimensional. Another technique to you assist in locating evidence is to shine a flashlight on the ground at an oblique angle. Yes, even in the daytime. Look at the items as they are located. Pay close attention to everything as you approach the body at this time, do not dismiss anything until its evidentuary value can be determined. Are there any footprints or drag marks? Is there anything on the floor or ground that may be stepped on or destroyed?

Only one investigator at a time should approach the body! Determine what, if anything, has been moved or altered by the suspect(s) or anyone else prior to your arrival. Has the body been moved? If so, by whom and for what reason?

Never move or alter the positioning of the body! Make close visual examinations of the body and the area immediately around it. Look between the arms and legs without moving them. Look at the arms, hands and fingers. Are there defense wounds? Is there anything under the nails that you can see at this time? If you can, try to determine the cause of death and the instrument or method used. Take careful notes of the external appearance of the body and the clothing or lack of clothing. Look at or for lividity, decomposition, direction of blood flow patterns, remember the law of gravity. Is the blood flow consistant with it? Make detailed notes.

Describe the clothing, and especially the condition of the clothing. Do folds or rolls indicate the body had been dragged? If so, in what direction? Note those folds and rolls, diagram them then photograph them. They could assist you in determining the method of transportation or placement of the body at the location where it was found. There could be trace evidence in the folds and rolls too.

Describe the location and appearance of wounds, bruises, etc. Make careful and detailed observations. Describe not only what you see, but also what you do not see! Forget about what you think you see! If something is missing, note it. For example, if you observe an area on the wrist that is not tanned by the sun, note it. DO NOT state that a wristwatch is missing. What if the victim had an I.D. bracelet or sweatband on instead? Never ASSUME! Examine the scene for the presence and absense of blood. If any is located, note the amount, size and shape of the drops and degree of coagulation or separation of it. Photograph it using a scale and always taking the pictures from a 90 degree

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*Article submitted to the Crime Scene Investigator Network by the author.

In This Issue

Featured Video

New CSI and Forensic Job

CSI In The News

Resources on the
Crime Scene Investigator Network Website

Learn How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator

Featured Video Presentation

New on our Video Presentations page:

Using Mikrosil to Lift Fingerprints from Irregular Surfaces

Watch this video to learn how to lift fingerprints from irregular surfaces.

<Video Presentations>

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>

Identification Technician  |  Arlington, VA
Final Filing Date: Continuous
Salary: $44,740.80 - $73,964.80 per year

This is skilled, technical fingerprint and photographic work in the Forensic Identification Unit of the Police Department. The candidate is responsible for processing, maintaining, analyzing and comparing latent finger and palm prints; classifying, searching and filing inked fingerprints using the Henry System; and processing evidence for fingerprint residue using various powders and chemicals and using photography to preserve latent print evidence.

<View complete job listing>
Forensic Scientist Trainee - Latent Print Examiner  |  DuPage County, IL Sheriff's Office
Final Filing Date: February 1, 2011
Salary: $38,822 - $64,704 per year; starting salary commensurate with experience

Trainee will participate in a full-time training program in the discipline of latent print examination. Training includes but is not limited to processing evidence to recover latent prints, evaluating and preparing latent prints for AFIS entry, photography of latent prints, analyzing and comparing latent with known impressions, and preparing and testifying in court regarding examinations conducted and fingerprint and latent print issues. When qualified, performs related technical or scientific work having relevance to the aforementioned responsibilities.
<View complete job listing>
Latent Print Examiner  |  DuPage County, IL Sheriff's Office
Final Filing Date: February 1, 2011
Salary: $38,822 - $64,704 per year; starting salary commensurate with experience.

Accepts custody of evidence; evaluates evidence for proper packaging, seals, and storage; maintains proper chain of custody records. Conducts physical and chemical processing of physical evidence suspected of bearing fingerprints. Conducts comparisons of questioned or latent fingerprints to known standards. Evaluate and enter suitable latent prints into AFIS and/or IAFIS. Conducts scientific work in coordination with other experts having different areas of expertise; prepares and protects evidence for subsequent forensic analyses. When qualified, performs related technical or scientific work having relevance to the aforementioned responsibilities. Maintains adequate, appropriate, and legible scientific documentation. Reports scientifically accurate, responsible, and unambiguous written conclusions in laboratory testing reports. Provides reliable, accurate, and objective expert scientific testimony in courts of law. Gives professional presentations to members of the public and to other related professionals. Provides training to law enforcement and court officers. Reports deviations from documented methods; reports possible quality system failures or weaknesses. Consults with law enforcement or court officers in person or by phone when necessary.

<View complete job listing>

Crime Scene Section Supervisor  |  Phoenix Police Department, AZ
Final Filing Date: Recruitment may close when we have received a sufficient number of qualified applications.
Salary: $$65,813 - $98,197 annualized. Appointment can be made above the minimum depending upon qualifications.

The Crime Scene Section Supervisor serves as the Technical Leader for the Crime Scene Response Section and supervises Crime Scene Shift Supervisors and Crime Scene Specialists in the performance of their work analyzing, collecting, and processing evidence at crime scenes and/or in the lab. Duties include preparing administrative reports on the operations of the Crime Scene Response Section; training Specialists in all aspects of analyzing, collecting, and processing crime scene evidence; working with the quality manager and other management personnel to ensure accreditation standards are met; testifies in court as a witness in connection to the scenes processed and evidence developed and preserved and trains staff in how to effectively testify in court; studies new techniques and procedures in crime scene evidence collection and processing; and participates in a structured training program.

<View complete job listing>
Latent Print, Trace and Photo Technicians   |  Lorton, VA
Final Filing Date: Open until filled
Salary: Not stated

Ron Smith & Associates, Inc. is ramping up in Northern Virginia to serve the needs of the United States Government in the examination of forensic materials (I.E.D.s, etc.) for the presence and identification of latent prints, and the collection of trace evidence materials. To accomplish this task RS & A, Inc. anticipates bringing on board ten (10) Latent Print Examiners, two (2) Senior Latent Print Technicians, ten (10) Latent Print Technicians, two (2) Senior Latent Print/Trace Evidence Technicians, five (5) Latent Print/Trace Evidence Technicians, two (2) Senior Latent Print Photographers and four (4) Latent Print Photographers. Our RS & A team members will work side by side with similar forensic experts of American Systems of Chantilly, Virginia, who serves as the prime contractor in this vitally important project. American Systems and Ron Smith & Associates, Inc. are responsible for the design and implementation of a high quality, high production and continually moving forensic examination process which delivers the greatest value to the Department of Defense and other federal government partners. This project is to be carried out in Lorton Virginia and will not require overseas deployment. Individuals who qualify for these entry level positions will be assigned to one of three teams: Latent Print Processing Team, Latent Print/Trace Team or Latent Print Photography Team. Assignments will be based upon individual skill sets, experience, training previously received and pre-employment screening and interviews. For the purpose of this job announcement, these three positions will be referred to collectively as "Forensic Technicians".

<View complete job listing>
Criminalist II - Forensic Biology (DNA) Specialty  |  San Francisco Police Department Forensic Services Division
Final Filing Date: Open Until Filled. Please file immediately, announcement may close at anytime.
Salary: $83,0138 - $101,660 per year

Essential functions of the job include: examining evidence in criminal investigations for presence of biological evidence; performing chemical and genetic analyses of biological evidence; interpreting data; preparing detailed notes and reports of scientific findings; retrieving evidence from SFPD property control and/or from Medical Examiner's office; complying with established quality control and safety standards; participating in peer review process; preparing casework folders; entering case information into a computer tracking system; maintaining and operating laboratory instruments; participating in semi-annual DNA-typing proficiency test and providing impartial expert testimony in court.

<View complete job listing>
Search for more job listings in Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics
<Crime Scene Investigator Network Employment Listings>

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

CSI In The News
Crime-scene cleanup: Police, firefighters do dirty job in off-duty hours
Police officers and firefighters have experienced it all, leading many into the potentially lucrative business of cleaning up crimes scenes and other traumatic events.
Sun Sentinel - Fort Lauderdale, FL - by Alexia Campbell - December 13, 2010

Shot in the dark
West Midlands Police have become the first force in Britain to install acoustic gunshot detection technology that can locate gunfire to within a 25m radius from up to 2km away.
The Engineer - United Kingdom - by Stephen Harris - December 10, 2010

New technology helps police catch, convict criminals
Since the early 1990s, evolving technology has significantly altered the clues criminals leave behind and law enforcement's ability to detect them.
The New Jersey Herald - Newton, NJ - by Tom HowellL Jr. - December 4, 2010

Ears can help identify criminals, says study
In a finding that can make identification of criminals easier, a study has found that external ears of different persons, even if related, are never exactly the same and remained unchanged till the age of 60.
MSN News - New Delhi - November 29, 2010

SmartWater helps nab career criminal
A career criminal who has lived off the proceeds of his crimes for decades has been sentenced to seven months in prison for handling stolen goods - with help from SmartWater's forensic marking liquid.
Info4Security - UK - November 29, 2010

Rape evidence takes about 3 months to process at BCA
Backlogs of DNA evidence in rape cases have been reported across the nation, and St. Paul hasn't escaped the trend.
Pioneer Press - Saint Paul, MN - by Kaitlyn Egan - November 28, 2010

Florida program produces experts for animal crime scenes
When investigators on the Michael Vick dogfighting case needed someone to dig up and analyze the remains of eight pit bulls buried on the football star's Virginia property, they summoned Melinda Merck.
The Denver Post - Denver, CO - by Mitch Stacy - November 25, 2010

Forensic Scientists Can Tell Your Age from a Drop of Blood
Forensic scientists of the future may soon have a new tool at their disposal. Given a drop of blood, researchers in the Netherlands have roughly determined the age of the person it came from. But for now, it really is rough--the researchers found they could only estimate a person's age to within 9 years.
Discover Magazine - New York, NY - by Eliza Strickland - November 23, 2010

Security needs drive cyberforensics industry
Cyberforensics, the science of finding and securing digital evidence buried deep within company networks, is fast emerging as a global industry.
USA TODAY - McLean, VA - by Byron Acohido - November 23, 2010

Read more "CSI In The News"
<CSI and Forensics in the News>

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