Crime Scene Evidence Handling

Topics: Forensic evidence, Forensic science, Crime scene Pages: 10 (3421 words) Published: July 20, 2013
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Crime Scene Evidence Handling
Melissa Factor
CJ 498 Criminal Justice Capstone
Professor Rachel Goguen
30JUN13
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Abstract
Crime scene yellow tape is a well-known sight. In order to preserve the integrity of the evidence of a crime scene, human contact should be avoided. Crime scenes are immediately sealed off, preventing the public from seeing a gruesome sight as well as preventing anyone, including police officers and other investigators from trampling the crime scene and contaminating the evidence. Criminal prosecutions rely on evidence presented in a court of law so it is vital evidence be correctly collected, well preserved, and uncontaminated evidence for a successful outcome. Using proper techniques is as critically important as it is apprehending the criminal. Without the use of proper techniques, evidence can be lost, overlooked or contaminated and can lead to the evidence being ruled inadmissible. It is imperative the crime scene and crime scene evidence be secured and preserved.

Crime Scene Evidence Handling

Whenever a crime occurs, no matter what the nature of the scene, crime scene evidence is the most important factor the criminal leaves behind. As far as forensic science goes, obtaining physical evidence is the biggest source of the crime scene. For an investigator, it gives insight into the way the crime was committed and is much like recreating the footsteps of the criminal through the clues left behind. Items of physical crime scene evidence are not always visible to the naked eye and may be easily overlooked so a systematic approach to collection and preservation of evidence is essential. The biggest problem that crime scene technicians encounter on the job is crime scene contamination by curious officers, detectives, and supervisors. Widespread trampling of crime scenes can prove very damaging to investigations because of this prosecutors have lost cases due to crime scene contamination. When the integrity of fingerprints and shoeprints is jeopardized, it is time for agencies to rethink their approach to crime scene work. A department’s written policy should provide a uniform procedure to restrict unnecessary access to crime scenes. It is imperative that preservation of crime scenes and evidence collected be the primary responsibility of initial responders. In order to have a uniform procedure, departments should contain elements that would go a long way to discourage pointless tourism. Administrators should take advantage of the technical knowledge of laboratory and crime scene specialists when formulating department’s policy. The role of detectives and supervisors in protecting crime scenes cannot be overstressed. These individuals ultimately are responsible for an investigation. The simplest and most productive way for supervisors and detectives to discourage crime scene contamination is to set a good example by their own behavior. If a lieutenant walks around a crime scene at will, rifling through closets, opening drawers and contaminating the scene, what could the harm in other officers doing the same? This paper will identify elements valuable to the preservation of crime scene evidence collection and contamination, address future problems and ways to reinforce good practices; written policies- roles and responsibilities; training and understanding the rules governing chain of custody and its importance. As well identify current handling procedures and practices; current issues and list cases lost due to contaminated evidence. Crime scenes often yield evidence that leads t the apprehension of dangerous criminals. Clearly written directives and training will help agencies resolve the problem. Collection and Preservation

Crime scenes often yield forensic evidence that can lead to the apprehension of dangerous...

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