Crime Scene Investigations by First Responders
Crime scenes contain the forensic evidence required to apprehend criminals. The proper collection and processing of physical evidence is of primary importance to most police investigations. Evidence can not only establish the fact of the offense and identify the perpetrator; it may even lead to a conviction. In collecting this evidence we must be conscious of the public’s Fourth Amendment rights and not violate them in this collection of evidence. Unfortunately, poorly conducted crime scene investigations can sometimes either destroy evidence or render it useless. Law Enforcement should approach the crime scene investigation as if it will be their only opportunity to preserve and recover these physical clues. They should consider other case information or statements from witnesses or suspects carefully in their objective assessment of the scene. Investigations may change course a number of times during such an inquiry and physical clues, initially thought irrelevant, may become crucial to a successful resolution of the case. The primary responsibilities of the first responders to a crime include the following: (1) to preserve life. If there is any chance that the victim(s) are still alive it is the first responders’ reasonability to render aid to save said life. (2) First responders are to control suspects and witnesses keeping them both close but separate. Once these two objectives have been achieved, the first responders should focus their attention on protecting and preserving the crime scene. The first response to an incident shall be expeditious and methodical. Upon arrival, the officer(s) shall assess the scene and treat the incident as a crime scene. The first responders should note or log dispatch information such as names, address, time, type of call, and any other relevant information. Be aware of any persons or vehicles leaving the crime scene. The importance of preserving the scene and its adjacent areas...
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