CRIME SCENE SAFETY AND SECURITY
Cross-training in today’s specialized working environment can be significant. Nowhere in the forensic field is that more evident than in crime scene investigations. The crime scene investigator or technician can find him- or herself in many unique situations during an investigation. One way to ensure investigators are prepared for these circumstances is to be well-trained and schooled in the constantly changing nature of the work. Knowledge of hazards and proficiency with equipment will be the best way to ensure that a scene is properly investigated. When responding to crime scenes, personal safety—limiting injuries and illnesses due to exposures—should always be a priority. This applies in the field as well as in the lab.
Crime Scene Safety
Discuss in detail the following aspects related to crime scene safety:
– What bare minimum items of protective equipment would you include in your crime scene tool kit? Provide a list of such equipment and explain the purpose of each item in the list.
– What are the three most common types of hazards you may encounter at a crime scene? For each of these hazards, list the personal protective equipment that you would wear to protect yourself.
– If you reach a crime scene that may be hazardous (all scenes contain some type and level of hazard) and realize some of your protective equipment is missing from your tool kit, would you continue with your investigation? Why or why not? Use an example of a hypothetical crime scene that requires a specific type of protective equipment, and suggest any alternative items that could be used to collect evidence from that scene.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website has comprehensive information on crime scene safety. You can also learn more about crime scene safety by searching the Internet using keywords such as the following:
– Crime scene safety
– Crime scene search
– Personal protective equipment for skin at a crime scene
– Personal protective equipment evidence magazine
– Personal protective equipment
– Nonroutine crime scene pathogens
Safety and Securing the Crime Scene
Please discuss fully your actions as a crime scene investigator regarding the following three hypothetical situations:
1. After arriving at the crime scene, you observe that no first responding officers have secured the back yard area. You see onlookers milling about. You also notice an individual pick up a small object and run from the area. Once you’re advised of the information obtained by the detectives, you realize that the secure crime scene area should have been expanded. Discuss:
– What are the potential ramifications of this error?
– How can investigators avoid this potential problem?
2. You’ve completed the walkthrough of the crime scene and have exited the house to formulate your plan for photography, which is the next step in the investigation process. You notice that you’re leaving bloody footwear impressions on the paved driveway. When you check your shoes, you realize that you forgot to put on your protective shoe covers. After reentering the scene, you find that you stepped into one of the pools of blood in the living room on your way out. This means you’ve added bloody footprints to the scene. Discuss:
– What steps, if any, would you take to document this error?
– How would you ensure that this will never happen again at a scene? What type of plan would you recommend be put in place?
– What must now be done to distinguish the bloody shoe prints left by your shoes from any others that may be located within the scene?
3. You’ve been called to investigate a death of an individual found in a large agricultural field that was recently sprayed with agricultural chemicals. The scene is open and unprotected by any natural coverings.
– What will be your first step in processing this scene and why? How will you isolate and secure the scene?
– What levels of protective clothing would you use and why?
– What special equipment would you need to have available for this scene and why?
– What steps would you take to document this scene and why?
1. Type your submission, double-spaced, in a standard print font, size 12. Use a standard document format with 1-inch margins. (Do not use any fancy or cursive fonts.)
2. Include the following information at the top of your paper: a. Name and address b. Student number c. Course title and number (Crime Scene Investigation Basics: CJS210) d. Research project number (50144200)
3. Read the assignment carefully and address the issue suggested. Part 2 should be a minimum of 500 words.
4. Be specific. Limit your submission to the topic or issues mentioned.
5. Include a reference page that lists websites, journals, or any other references used in preparing the submission.
6. Proofread your work carefully. Check for correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.