Chapter 1


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  • Trooper Charlie Hanger is with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. On 04/19/95 he stopped a vehicle for no license plate. He noticed a bulge in the driver’s clothing and it turned out to be a gun. The driver was arrested and taken to the station. April 19 th was the day the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed killing 168 people. By the time the suspect information was put together and broadcast, Timothy McVeigh, Trooper Hanger already had him in jail after a “routine” traffic stop. Experience and alertness pays off in police work. When does an investigation start? Let’s say you are sitting in a marked patrol unit. A woman runs up to you and screams there he goes don’t let him get away. She points at a young male running away. What is your first instinct? What should be your first step? What do you think a criminal investigation is?
  • The word investigate comes from the Latin word vestigare meaning to track or trace. An investigation is a process of applying a step by step process, with observations, a careful examination of facts/circumstances combined with the recording of evidence.
  • A criminal investigation is the process of discovering, collecting, preparing, identifying, & presenting evidence. This is all done for fellow officers and supervisors for their input, to judges for warrants, to prosecutors to determine if there is enough evidence to go to court, to jurors to see if they will convict. Two goals of a criminal investigation: Was a crime committed and if so who is responsible.
  • Every crime has elements or specific conditions that must exist to be considered a crime. These are set by statutes. To charge a person with a crime these elements must all be met although some arrest may take place when they are not all there. This will be decided in court by a jury when the defense and judge outline what elements must be present for the specific crime to be charged. Charged. That is why your investigation will be looked at by supervisors and prosecutors. They should know what they need to secure a win in court (hopefully).
  • A person is guilty of homicide by abuse if, under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, the person causes the death of a child or person under sixteen years of age, a developmentally disabled person, or a dependent adult, and the person has previously engaged in a pattern or practice of assault or torture of said child, person under sixteen years of age, developmentally disabled person, or dependent person.      (2) As used in this section, "dependent adult" means a person who, because of physical or mental disability, or because of extreme advanced age, is dependent upon another person to provide the basic necessities of life.
  • Investigators need to be knowledgeable about many subjects. Reading trade journals and researching tactics can be beneficial. They must be creative to find ways to work within the law and they must be up-to-date on Supreme Court rulings. Patience is a virtue they say. There have been cases where investigators have waited years for evidence to become available or have gone back to look at cold cases with new technology. Persistent is a good thing to be. Tenacious never give up. Investigators become involved with their cases and the cases can actually become a part of who they are. Many investigators have retired knowing the big case they made was the best thing they ever did and others have retired haunted for the rest of their lives by the inability to solve certain cases.
  • Investigators should undergo a lot of training in how to investigate crimes. The patrol officer conducts preliminary investigations every day on the street but what sets investigators apart is their training and experience. Many departments have specialized squads or units, gang unit, burglary, robbery, homicide, etc for that very purpose. They need to know what the statutes are so they know if a crime has been committed. They must also be up to date on the Supreme Court rulings. Investigators must be culturally adroit: that means be able to talk and interact with people from all walks of life as well as various cultures. Investigating skills like any other skills need to be honed to perfection by practice. For example who would you let interrogate a serial killer suspect? A detective with 10 years experience or a guy fresh to the unit? The answer is by examining who your people are. The new guy may be able to “identify” with the suspect more than the veteran. The newest thing is the interrogator wearing a small ear piece whereby other people watching the interrogation can make comments/offer suggestions. Investigators have to be able to make decisions on their own, many times in a split second independently. The boss can offer advice but ultimately the decision on how to handle the case is left to the investigator.
  • A good investigator is well balanced. Investigations have stress and requires many decisions. An investigator who is overly sensitive or defensive may run into problems. Being detached is easier said than done. Looking at dead babies and being with the grieving families is not an easy thing to do. Empathy is treating people like you would like to be treated. Compassion is knowing how to treat people in difficult situations. Sympathy will kill you because this means you are sitting there crying more than the family. Investigators are naturally inquisitive and want to know the answer to why, how, where when, who, what. They do not rest until the answers are found. Being suspecting and cynical plays a part in investigations because one axiom all police officer have is “everyone lies”. They are lied to all the time. Self-disciplined because many times the investigator is the one running the investigation with very little supervision. Persevering is just simply refusing to give up.
  • The criminal investigation process usually starts with a citizen observing something or being the victim of a crime. They notify police through the 911 system. The dispatcher takes the call, enters the information and dispatches police. This dispatch includes directions for incoming officers. This dispatching is a critical step. What information would responding officers want to know? Location, type of crime, suspect description/direction of travel, hazards (weapons), what is actually going on, who is involved, how many suspects/victims, etc
  • The first officer on scene has a vital role. More cases have been lost during the first hour of the investigation than have been lost in court. What are the responsibilities of the first arriving officer? What concerns would you have while responding to a call? Plan your approach/Think like a suspect..which way would you try and flee if you had just committed a crime? Always think about something happening. Officer deaths from crimes in progress still rank near the top (FBI stats). What type of emergency situations could you be facing?
  • Crowds will be present many times. They can be hostile or cooperative or scared and running away. How do you handle the crowds? Suspects-are they still on scene? What do they look like? This is where getting the initial information from the caller by dispatchers is so vital. Suspects still on scene takes priority over all else. Apprehend/contain suspect. Asking people at the scene where person (s) who did the crime are? If the suspect left seconds prior on foot what do you do? Go after them or secure scene? If left scene longer than a minute or two: get full description and broadcast as soon as possible. What info would you be asking witnesses? Physical description, clothing description, direction, mode of travel, weapon and type? If there are victims at the scene you have a responsibility to provide aid and get medical into them. If they are deceased you will know. The basic policy is to have one medical person come in to confirm death. Locate any witnesses to the crime and immediately separate them. Get preliminary statements from them and then get them started on written statements for the investigators. This locks them into a statement. Remember in law enforcement many times the witnesses is actual the suspect.
  • Once the victim has been treated/transported the first officer has the responsibility to protect the crime scene. That means locate and protect all evidence visible. This is usually best done by establishing crime scene perimeters and putting up tape or barriers. For evidence protection officers can cover some types to prevent destruction by the elements. Calling for more officers to stand guard at the perimeters is the best way to contain and secure the scene. First officers are not concerned with the locating, documenting and collecting of evidence at this point but rather just securing.
  • Once the detectives arrive the preliminary investigation begins. The team meets with the first arriving officer and a briefing is held. All facts starting with the time of the 911 call, what was reported, time of the officer’s arrival and actions taken. The witnesses names, what they reported, what evidence was found, how protected, if EMS came in/transported (names/unit #/destination). All info up to that point discussed. Lead detective then makes assignments: Scene-are the boundaries correct (smaller/larger), walk through (Lead detective and others does this why do you think?), scene is processed. Witnesses: if wits are known then detectives are assigned to interview witnesses (SEPARATE!!!) and others assigned to canvass area for potential witnesses. A canvass should cover all of the areas around the crime scene. If there is an apartment building with 35 windows facing over the scene each of those apartments need to be checked. If no one is home at the time of the canvass make a note and come back. NYPD will send a detectives back to intersection on the same day and time as a crime, for example if the crime occurred on Friday at 1200 noon a detectives will be back at the intersection on the next Friday at 1150 to start to canvass to see if there was possibly one person who only comes through that location on Fridays. License plate numbers of all cars in the area-suspect might have had a car there but had to run away. Parking tickets have led to the solving of crimes.
  • The media will descend on calls due to using scanners. It is vital to have an area assigned for them to set up at otherwise they will make their own. Most agencies have a PIO who is responsible for handling the media. It is vital that the lead detectives coordinate with PIO about what info to release. There is information at a crime scene that is kept quite since only the investigators and suspect know about it. This is a very important investigative tool. By keeping the media in one place you can limit their trying to get into the scene or filming something you don’t want them to. This is where the use of sheets over bodies, tarps, and canopies come into play. Photographers will sneak into scene and try to get the “magic” shot. Even though the media can be annoying it is important to remember that a working relationship with the press is something you want to have. Once you have set up the place for media to gather be sure to make a preliminary statement as soon as possible. You don’t want to get them all together and then keep them waiting for hours for a statement. No one should talk to the media who is not authorized and who is experienced at doing so.
  • In the event that the preliminary investigation does not result in the case being resolved (less than 3% of the time it does) then the follow-up investigation kicks in. In most cases detectives have to examine what was learned during the preliminary investigation and put it all together. This is done as a team and everyone has input. Information will come in from the lab on evidence submitted & from the coroner’s office about what the autopsy revealed. The separate witness statements will be put together to see if there are any consistencies or discrepancies. A suspect description/profile can be built on these statements. As suspect info is developed (hopefully) the detectives can move on that info. Suspect info may be simply a street name, or description. Let’s say you have a suspect description or a particular MO. Who can you reach out to right away for help on this case? Patrol officers. These folks work assigned areas and get to know all the players in their districts.
  • Historically police departments were one unit with one purpose types of agencies. They responded to crimes and tried to catch bad guys. The first detective units were created in Detroit in 1866 and in NY in 1882. It was recognized that criminals were becoming specialized in the crimes they committed. For example most bank robbers did not burglarize homes. As the criminal became specialized so was the need for police to do the same. Most police departments have a detective bureau and in the larger cities these detectives are divided into even more specialized units. Homicide, Robbery, sexual assault, abuse and neglect, fraud, etc. This means that an assignment to one of these units will result in detectives becoming more trained and experienced in that area of crime. The more trained/experienced the detective the better the chances of catching the perp.
  • Sir Robert Peel (London Police) in 1829 made the quote listed above. He created the world’s first professional police force that is still in operation today. Community policing is defined as what is listed above. Developing partnerships with the community. Who do police work with?
  • Who do detectives work with?-patrol officers. To become a detective you first start off as a patrol officer with that department. This is so you can learn the department and your community. Next are dispatchers. They are the ones taking the calls and talking to victims/witnesses and in some cases suspects. Prosecutors are very involved in cases since they are the ones who will be presenting the case in court. Detectives many times consult with prosecutors about cases-is a warrant needed? How much PC do we have for a warrant? Defense counsel interact with detectives all the time. In small jurisdictions the same defense lawyer will be questioning the same detectives on many cases. Doctors/coroners in regards to the autopsy results. In Lewis County and Las Vegas the case detectives attend the autopsy to see for themselves and collect evidence.
  • The crime labs are involved since detectives need to know what was learned from the evidence. Having a good relationship will mean that the scientists will explain things in details for you. Detectives should never be afraid to say “what does that mean?” A lot of contact is made between the detectives and citizens: Victims of crimes will spend many hours with detectives and a rapport has to be established. In cases of homicide detectives notify the families and keep in contact with them. This contact is very important to the families and they will keep in touch for many years. Witnesses are one of the most important contacts for detectives. Rapport is vital. If it cannot be established with one detective it may be with another. Concerned citizens are a big part of police lives. For example when a crime or many crimes occur in a certain neighborhood there may be citizens who want to meet with the police. There may even be some suggestions from the community that would work for helping to reduce/solve crimes.
  • Local LE agencies have many resources at their disposal and this is important in light of budget cuts. On the federal level the FBI provides many services to local PDs: The Behavioral Analysis Unit can provide offender/victim profiles, The hostage rescue team (HRT) can be deployed and the joint terrorism task force between the federal and local PDs exists in just about every major US city. The ATF has access to information about weapons/explosives. IINTERPOL: the International Criminal Police Organization (actually ICPO) is a clearinghouse for information on criminals worldwide. They do not make arrests at and are solely involved in intelligence and information. They doa great job of tracking international criminals.
  • Chapter 1

    1. 1. Chapter 1
    2. 2.  Who is Trooper Charlie Hanger? When does an investigation start? What is a criminal investigation?
    3. 3.  Investigate: track/trace-step by step inquiry-observation-careful examination-recording of evidence
    4. 4.  Criminal Investigation: Evidence-discovering-collecting-preparing-identifying-presenting-to who?TWO GOALS?
    5. 5.  Deductive reasoning Criminalistics Criminalist Forensic Scientist Crime Felony Misdemeanor
    6. 6.  Crime:-elements-statutes-investigation must prove all elements of crime
    7. 7.  person is guilty if:-extreme indifference to human life,-causes the death of a child/person under sixteen years of age or,-developmentally disabled person-or a dependent adult-and the person has previously engaged in a pattern/practice of assault/torture of said child, person under sixteen years of age, developmentally disabled person, or dependent person.What do you think are the characteristics of an effective investigator?     -
    8. 8. Effective Investigators:-knowledgeable-creative-patient-persistent
    9. 9.  Intellectual Characteristics:-training-know statutes/elements-culturally adroit-skills honing-decision making/independence
    10. 10.  PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS:-well balanced-detached/empathetic/compassionate-inquisitive-suspecting/cynical-self-disciplined-persevering
    12. 12.  Process:-observation/info from citizen-911 call-patrol dispatched (direction)-critical step (what information?)-citizen to dispatch to officers
    13. 13.  PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION:-rapid response-watch for fleeing suspects-take control at scene-protect evidence-locate witnesses
    14. 14.  PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION:-first officer on scene (IMPORTANT)-initial response (concerns?)-Arrival: (responsibilities?)-Emergency situations at scenes?
    15. 15.  Crowds-hostile/cooperative Suspect (s)-still on scene/recently fled Victims:-injured-deceased Witnesses-separate-written statements
    16. 16.  Secure crime scene-Locard’s Exchange Principle-Tape-Cover-Additional officers
    17. 17.  Preliminary Investigation: Criminal Investigators/Detectives-info from 1st officer-briefingMulti-faceted:1. scene:-scene boundaries-walk through-process scene2. Witnesses:-interview-canvass (what does this entail?)
    18. 18.  Media:-set up area-Public Information Officer (PIO)-limit information/access-working relationship versus adversarial-keep in touch
    19. 19.  Follow up Investigations:-builds on preliminary investigation-lab-autopsy-wits statements-suspect info-Firs step in cases?
    20. 20.  Historically: PDs:-one unit/one purpose-Detroit 1866/NYPD 1882 Investigation specialized:-criminals-MO-different types of crimes
    21. 21.  Definition?-Robert Peel “police are the public and the public are the police”-working together police and community can accomplish what neither can accomplish aloneWho do detectives work with?
    22. 22. -Patrol officers-Dispatchers-Prosecutors-Defense-Doctors/Coroners
    23. 23. -Crime labs Citizens:-victims-families-witnesses-concerned citizens
    24. 24.  Outside resources: Federal:-FBI (BAU/HRT/JTTF)-ATF International:-INTERPOL