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Assignment 7

965 words - 4 pages

When an investigator of an incident scene is looking for testimonial evidence, the investigator is seeking eyewitnesses of the incident. When the investigator is seeking physical evidence, the investigator seeks items that would be present at the crime scene. Physical or testimonial evidence collected at a scene may be used to prove whether or not a crime actually occurred, tie a person to the scene or to a victim, determine key elements of the incident or crime scene, possibly identify the victim or a suspect or group of suspects, uncover physical evidence that corroborates the testimony of an eyewitness, or identify evidence that clears people and shows they were not involved. When processing a crime scene, there are a series of steps that must be followed for this evidence to be uncovered, and for any recovered evidence to remain untainted, and admissible later in court if needed (Newman, 2007).
The very first step to an investigation is securing the crime scene. Best practice for securing a crime scene calls for the creation of three levels of access perimeter, one to keep bystanders at a safe distance and prevent destruction of evidence, one inner lever for the command post for the investigators conducting the search, and lastly the crime scene (Byrd, 2000). The first step after the crime scene is secured is for the investigator to conduct a walkthrough of the scene to create a plan of investigation. Not everything within a crime scene will be useful to an investigator, so an organized search to uncover and catalog probable evidence should be conducted first. The search should be conducted in a methodical manner to prevent critical evidence from being missed, and to plan the order of evidence collection. Fingerprints may need to be processed before a mobile phone can be removed to a lab. This walk through will also help the investigator prioritize data collection and if necessary plan for what experts or services or special equipment may needed to process the crime scene. For example, if a computer or mobile device is found, an electronic data forensic specialist may be called to assist in processing evidence from the scene. If there is a network present, the crime scene may expand to additional locations or facilities (Newman, 2007).
The next step in an investigation is the documentation of the scene. A journal should be prepared to document every step in the investigation of the scene. Careful sketches should be made and photographs taken to show layout and scale of physical evidence, how and where seized items were found, any details needed for others to accurately recreate the crime scene at a later time should be methodically documented. People who enter and leave the scene should be documented, and any hazards or safety conditions should be noted. Written notes should be made following a standardized form and reporting format in a case journal and if possible specific photographs or the chain of...

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