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Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Welcome to the December 2013 Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

Written Documentation at a Crime Scene

Mike Byrd

In an Organized step by step approach Scene Documentation is one of the stages in the proper processing of a crime scene. The final results of a properly documented crime scene is the ability of others to take our finished product to use in either reconstructing the scene or the chain of events in an incident and our court room presentation. In documenting the scene there are actually 3 functions or methods used to properly document the crime scene. Those methods consist of written notes which will ultimately be used in constructing a final report, crime scene photographs, and a diagram or sketch. Consistency between each of these functions is paramount.

Each method is important in the process of properly documenting the crime scene. The notes and reports should be done in a chronological order and should include no opinions, no analysis, or no conclusions. Just the facts!!!! The crime scene investigator or evidence recovery technician should document what he/she sees, not what he/she thinks. The final report should tell a descriptive story. A general description of the crime scene should be given just as the investigator sees it when he/she does the initial walk through of the scene.

Each department or agency has a method which they use for written documentation of the crime scene. There investigator/technician should follow his/her departments assigned procedures for written documentation. The importance of sharing information can never be over-looked. This article is intended to share ideas in the area of uniform documentation as an example of the format that is used by my department. We use a narrative section of the report divided it into 5 categories. The categories are summary, scene (including a detailed body description if in a death investigation), processing, evidence collected, and pending.

The summary would basically give the details of how we were initiated into the investigation. For an example: " At the request of Robbery Detective J. Doe, this writer was requested to respond to assist in processing the scene of an armed robbery involving 4 unknown masked subjects. Det. J. Doe's preliminary investigation revealed that the subjects startled the victim as she returned home from shopping". For further details of this investigation refer to Det. J. Doe's report.. Our summary is brief and does not include a lot of he said, she said information.

In the scene section of the narrative we give a detailed description of the scene as it is seen upon our approach. The scene description usually includes anything that is unusual and out of place. Any weather or environment conditions are also included. Again this is a description of what we see not what we think. The Evidence observed, its location, condition, or anything remarkable about the item will be included in our scene description section. This

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*Article submitted by the author

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Criminalist Trainee  |  San Bernardino County Sheriff, CA
Final Filing Date: December 20, 2013
Salary: $25.56 - $32.64 per hour

This is the entry level of the series. Incumbents work under general supervision while developing the experience required to perform at the fully qualified working level. Performs laboratory examinations and analyses in the identification and comparison of physical evidence. Compares analytical findings with known standards. Analyzes a wide variety of materials and objects which may constitute physical evidence. Analyzes, identifies and compares physical evidence so as to attempt to connect such evidence with the perpetrator of a crime. Reconstructs situations and physical evidence of a crime in the demonstration and proof of the connection of persons, instruments, or materials with the crime. Conducts crime scene investigations for the purpose of collecting, and preserving physical evidence for laboratory analysis. Studies new techniques and procedures in the field of criminalistics. Conducts research in the development of new techniques, methods, and equipment for the solution of problems in laboratory or field identification of evidence. Instructs, monitors and coordinates other criminalists who may be assisting in incumbents' specialized area(s) of expertise. Testifies in court as an expert witness concerning scientific facts established in the analysis of evidence, and draws sound conclusions or observations based upon such facts. Cooperates with and serves as a consultant to other law enforcement agencies. Prepares and presents detailed written reports.

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Forensic Specialist I  |  Rockville Police, MD
Final Filing Date: December 27, 2013
$46,360 - $76,592 per yesr

Employee will be responsible for work involving the detection, collection, handling, testing and preservation of crime scene physical evidence and latent prints from crime scenes. Duties include responding to crime scenes, collecting, processing and preserving physical evidence, measuring and diagramming crime scenes, photographing crime and accident scenes, writing reports concerning actions taken and maintaining accurate notes and records. Employee will be required to work rotating shifts and weekends and will be subject to on-call status.

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Junior Digital Forensic Analyst  |  Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York, NY
Final Filing Date: January 1, 2014
Salary: Negotiable
The Digital Forensic Analyst is a technology generalist who will work in a team-based environment with prosecutors, analysts and law enforcement personnel including city and federal agencies providing case investigation and litigation support, including e-discovery. The candidate will provide assistance detecting, recovering and analyzing evidence for use in judicial proceedings including forensic analysis of digital devices such as mobile and desktop computers, cell phones, smartphones, USB devices, digital cameras, and video recorders. The Digital Forensic Analyst must be able to manage and analyze large-scale data sets to identify key elements of criminal activity. Digital Forensic Analysts use forensic tools and investigative methods to find specific electronic data, including internet use history, word processing documents, images, and e-mails and other files from computer hard drives, smart phones and other data storage devices, such as zip and flash drives, that have been deleted, damaged or otherwise manipulated. Numerous software applications are also used to review, analyze and present the information recovered.

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Forensic Scientist 1  |  City of Philadelphia, PA
Final Filing Date: January 3, 2014
Salary: $34,560 - $44,429 per year

This is training level forensic science work learning the methods and techniques involved in the preservation, examination, handling, and comparative analysis of items of evidence collected in criminal investigations. Positions in this class are allocated to one of three specialties: Biology, Chemistry or Pattern Evidence. Positions in all specialties participate in an extensive training and evaluation program to be qualified as a forensic expert. Work in each specialty includes examining evidence associated with crimes for presentation of laboratory findings in written reports and through expert testimony in criminal trials. Assignments increase in scope and complexity as experience is gained and the qualification level is neared. Employees in this class assist other technical personnel conducting laboratory and field tests. All work is performed in accordance with national and international quality assurance standards in the accredited Forensic Science Bureau of the Philadelphia Police Department. Work is performed under the supervision of a higher-level forensic scientist or technical superior.

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Police Property and Evidence Specialist  |  Doral Police, FL
Final Filing Date: December 20, 2013
Salary: $1,131.38 Biweekly

Receives, labels and stores varied goods confiscated through law enforcement investigations and held as evidence for court prosecution. Maintains detailed records for all property and evidence in storage. Provides techniques and equipment for the proper receipt and issuance of all property items. Provides security and precautionary measures to protect all property from loss, damage and deteriorization. Participates in public auctions held for the disposal of abandoned property. May testify in court as to the history and identity of items used as physical evidence. Takes periodic inventories and maintains files on all items in storage.

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Identification Technician Trainee  |  Connecticut State Police
Final Filing Date: December 23, 2013
Salary: $33,295 - $44,829 per year

In the Division of State Police, Bureau of Identification this class is accountable for receiving on the job training in the classification and filing of fingerprints.

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