Criminal Investigations Chapter 1 Questions

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1. Q: In what ways have our historic roots affected the manner in which criminal investigations are conducted in the United States today? A: The organizational structure of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, found in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton and the first of its kind in the US, was later adopted by the FBI. As with the Pinkerton Agency, the FBI began to take on cases that local law enforcement were too limited in resources to handle on their own. In addition, Pinkerton created what was called “the rogues’ gallery” which detailed the names and operations of known criminals and their associates. During the European Industrial Revolution, thief catchers (now known as informants, snitches, and a variety of other names) were hired to help law enforcement catch criminals, a practice which is obviously still in use today. In addition, thief catchers were also criminals in their own right, which made it easier to infiltrate the targeted criminals. In eighteenth century Paris, a personal identification system, known as the Bertillon System, became the first system based on the idea that human characteristics such skeleton size and eye color were the same throughout a person’s life. In the mid eighteenth century, the study of fingerprints became a popular way to identify crime suspects. They did not learn until the turn of the century that each person’s fingerprints were unique and could not be changed. Scotland yard, founded in the early eighteenth century, was the model that the FBI modeled itself after initially. All of these are examples in which criminal investigations of today have been influenced, directly and indirectly, by the past and the progress that has been made in the time that has gone by since then.

2. Q: Discuss ways in which the media have affected our perceptions of the reality of criminal investigation. A: As with any field outside the scope of the public arena, the media’s perspective on crime investigation is almost entirely

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