Chapter 02


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Chapter 02

  1. 1. Chapter 2 Documenting the Crime Scene:Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching Hess 2-1
  2. 2. Introduction• Documentation is vital throughout an investigation• As much as 70 percent of an investigator’s job is consumed by paperwork and writing• Photography plays an important role in documenting evidence and presenting cases in court• Often both photographs and sketches must accompany written notes to provide a clear picture of the crime scene Hess 2-2
  3. 3. Field Notes: The BasicsNOTE TAKING• When to take notes• What to record  Ask yourself specific questions• Where to record notes• How to take notes Hess 2-3
  4. 4. Characteristics of Effective NotesEFFECTIVE NOTES• Complete• Factual• Accurate• Specific Continued Hess 2-4
  5. 5. Characteristics of Effective Notes (Continued)EFFECTIVE NOTES • Legible • Clear • Arranged in chronological order • Well-organized Hess 2-5
  6. 6. Filing NotesRETAINING NOTES• Place them in a secure location• Place them under a filing system• Make them available months or even years later• Policy usually determines where and how notes are filed• Many officers retain notes indefinitely Hess 2-6
  7. 7. Admissibility of Notes in CourtLEGAL APPLICATIONS• Can help discredit a suspect’s or a defense witness’s testimony• Support evidence already given• Strengthen testimony• Defend against false allegations Hess 2-7
  8. 8. Investigative Photography: An OverviewADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF PHOTOS• Advantages  Can be taken immediately  Accurately represent the crime scene• Disadvantages  Detail may distract viewers  Small nuances or discrete evidence may be missed Continued Hess 2-8
  9. 9. Investigative Photography: An Overview (Continued) ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF VIDEO • Advantages  Can show distances  Audio capability • Disadvantages  Poor focusing  Overusing the zoom  Unintentional audio Hess 2-9
  10. 10. Basic Photographic EquipmentMINIMUM PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT• Instant-print cameras• Point-and-shoot cameras• Digital single-lens reflex(DSLR) cameras• Fingerprint cameras• Video cameras• Accessories Hess 2-10
  11. 11. Training in and Using Investigative Photography WHAT TO PHOTOGRAPH OR VIDEOTAPE • Plan shots that least disturb scene • Use overlapping to cover entire scene • Long-range shots of the locality • Medium-range shots of the immediate crime scene • Close-range shots of specific evidence Hess 2-11
  12. 12. Training in and Using Investigative Photography ERRORS TO AVOID • Be familiar with your equipment • Maintain proper perspective • Show the objects in their relative size and position • Take pictures from eye level • Checklists help eliminate errors Hess 2-12
  13. 13. Types of Investigative PhotographyTYPES• Crime scene• Surveillance• Aerial• Night• Laboratory• Mug shots• Lineup Hess 2-13
  14. 14. Identifying, Filing and Maintaining Security of EvidenceEVIDENCE MAINTENANCE• Identifying  Include backing information• Filing  Cross-reference by case number  Follow department policy• Maintaining security Hess 2-14
  15. 15. Admissibility of Photographs in CourtCRITERIA• Must meet specific criteria to be admissible in court  A material photograph relates to a specific case and subject  A relevant photograph helps explain testimony  A competent photograph accurately represents what it purports to represent Hess 2-15
  16. 16. Crime Scene Sketches: An OverviewSKETCHES AS INVESTIGATIVE AIDS• Accurately portrays the physical facts• Relates to the sequence of events• Precise location and relationship of objects• Helps create a mental picture of the scene• Permanent record of the scene• Usually admissible in court Hess 2-16
  17. 17. The Rough SketchWHAT TO SKETCH• Better to include too much rather than too little• Do not include irrelevant objects• Area to be sketched depends on the crime scene  Large scene  Small area• Original floor plans Continued Hess 2-17
  18. 18. The Rough Sketch (Continued)SKETCHING MATERIALS• The first pencil-drawn outline of a scene• Paper of any type will do• Keep two or three pencils on hand• Use a measuring tape for measuring long distances• Use a compass to determine true north Hess 2-18
  19. 19. Steps in Sketching the Crime SceneTO SKETCH A SCENE• Observe and plan• Measure distances• Plot objects• Take notes• Use a legend and scale• Reassess the sketch Hess 2-19
  20. 20. File the SketchFILING OVERVIEW• Place rough sketch in a secure file• May be used later to question witnesses or suspects• Keep the rough sketch in its original form• May be needed for testifying later Hess 2-20
  21. 21. The Finished Scale DrawingSCALE DRAWING OVERVIEW• Done in ink• Drawn to scale• Materials needed• Made at police station• Simple or complex Hess 2-21
  22. 22. Computer-Assisted DrawingCAD• Benefits  Accuracy  Repeatability  Simplicity  Speed  Portability Hess 2-22
  23. 23. Admissibility of Sketches and Drawings in Court ADMISSIBILITY ISSUES • Investigator must be prepared to testify about:  Information contained in the sketch  Conditions under which it was made  The process used to construct it • Well-prepared sketches and drawings help people visualize crime scenes Hess 2-23
  24. 24. Summary• Investigative notes and reports are critical parts of a criminal investigation• Record all relevant information concerning the crime• Photography has become increasingly important in criminal investigation• Videos are now well established as an investigative tool• In addition to photographs, crime scene sketches are often used Hess 2-24