Criminal Investigation Research Paper Crime Scene Investigator Crime Scene Investigator POSITION A crime scene investigator is responsible for multipart crime scene investigations, evaluation of the crime scene, various types of equipment along with developing, securing, and packaging physical evidence for scientific evaluation and comparison (U. S. Department, 2007). Detailed reports on the observations and activities at the scene next to testimonies in court regarding the findings and processing methods used at the scene are also conducted by the investigator (U.
S. Department, 2007). The greatest challenge of this position is to apply scientific expertise in crime scene evidence identification and processing with the ultimate goal of successful prosecution of the offender in a court of law (Lee, 2001). ENVIROMENT The crime scene investigator oversees complex crime scene investigations, together with but not limited to homicides, sexual assaults, armed robberies, home invasions, and property crimes such as burglaries (Lee, 2001).
Approximately 70% of the investigators time is spent processing crime scenes, packaging and transporting evidence, attending and photographing autopsies and attending briefings and conferences with the police agencies requesting assistance (U. S. Department, 2007). The remaining time is spent preparing investigative reports, testifying in court, receiving continuing education, instructing classes and maintaining equipment in a state of readiness (U. S. Department, 2007).
The crime scene investigator works at the office of his or her job assignment Monday through Friday, which is normally 8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p. m. must accept scheduled after-hours standby duty every other week (Lee, 2001). While on standby, the crime scene investigator must be readily available by pager or phone at all times to reply to requests for service. In addition to the standby duty, the incumbent is expected to respond to emergency calls whenever needed 24 hours a day (Lee, 2001). The crime scene investigator will handle objects of varying weight, shape and size and must be in good hysical condition. The investigators are required to carry firearms and may use assigned firearms and other weapons in performance of his or her police enforcement responsibilities (Lee, 2001). Also the police enforcement tasks may include occasional physical labor and endurance and be hazardous with regard to the physical and mental well being of the investigator. DUTIES The crime scene investigator is expected to respond to calls for crime scene services as quickly safely as possible (Horswell, 2006).
An investigator needs to be able to process scenes of major crimes at any hour of the day or night, under any weather conditions. All issued equipment must be maintained ready to use at all times. Investigator systematically surveys crime scene and the surrounding area and formulates a route “Boundaries should be established beyond the initial scope of the crime scene” (U. S. Department, 2007). Next the crime scene is physically secured (using ropes, barricades, police personnel, etc. before proceeding with their search for all objects and articles that may be evidence (U. S. Department, 2007). The crime scene investigator must also be capable of reading and reconstructing the events as they happened just prior to, during and shortly following the report of the crime. This will aid in determining and establishing the type and location of evidence (U. S. Department, 2007). Evidence that has been identified must be collected and properly packaged. This function includes efficient lifting and preserving of various types of evidence.
The crime scene investigator must be aware of the types of packaging and packaging material as the improper selection of such material could leave the evidence useless (Gardner, 2004). The crime scene investigator must record a permanent record describing the crime scene by writing detailed reports, preparing accurate sketches, aided by professional photographic techniques “All activities conducted and observations made at the crime scene must be documented as soon as possible after the event to preserve information” (Gardner, 2004).
This requires not only the skill to write a detailed report but also the ability to observe minute details of the scene as they relate to the crime and their meaning in relation to the evidence. The work done by the crime scene investigator helps the criminal justice officials prepare criminal cases; provide reports, sketches, and photographs (Lee, 2001). The crime scene investigator also needs to be educated in giving an expert testimony in criminal court cases (Lee, 2001).
This testimony must not only follow the rules of evidence but must also be able to explain, in laymen’s terms, to a jury the significance of the evidence as it relates to scientific proof. Investigators are to have the knowledge of federal and state statutes along with agency rules and regulations (Lee, 2001). AUTHORITY The crime scene investigator has authority to determine the extent and nature of the services needed at the crime scene next to the power to arrest and carry a weapon “the investigator, in charge shall determine team composition” (Gardner, 2004).
This includes what technical procedures are to follow and what specialized equipment is to be used (Gardner, 2004). EDUCATION The crime scene investigator must successfully complete a minimum of 720 hours training in crime scene processing with a minimum of 80 hours training in latent fingerprint processing, 40 hours in major death investigation, 40 hours in advanced death investigations, 40 hours in photography, 40 hours in blood spatter interpretation and other training courses in arson investigation and forensic pathology (Gardner, 2004).
In addition, the crime scene investigator must be certified by the International Association for Identification, Crime Scene Certification Board, within 18 months as a crime scene investigator (Gardner, 2004). Skills must be acquired in the fields of science, chemistry, anatomy and the forensics, in addition to those needed for actual crime scene processing. REQIERMENTS A crime scene investigator needs to have the ability to conform to the department’s physical fitness and defensive tactics standards (Horswell, 2006). Requires ability to operate and maintain assigned police vehicle and equipment.
Also the ability to receive, understand, and act upon oral instructions thorough the use of a radio (Horswell, 2006). Physically be able to walk, stand, stoop, crawl, kneel, climb and push/pull objects. Must be able to visually identify or describe persons, vehicles, locations or describe physical evidence and crime scenes by sketching, report writing and providing courtroom testimony (Horswell, 2006). Be able to effectively and accurately document enforcement and investigative activities in handwritten reports (Horswell, 2006). CONCLUSION The job of a crime scene investigator is a responsible and complex field in the Criminal Justice Field.
Schooling along with experience are two main factors that create a successful investigator who has the ultimate goal of successful prosecution of the offender.
Works Cited Gardner, Ross. Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigations. CRC Press New York, New York. 2004. Henry, Lee. Henry Lee’s Crime Scene Investigation Handbook. Academic Press. 2001 Horswell, John. The Practice of Crime Scene Investigation. CRC Press New York, New York. 2006. U. S. Department of Justice. Crime Scene Investigations. http://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/nij/178280. pdf. December 01, 2007.