Communication Kga Csi

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Communication In Crime Scene Investigation

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Communication Kga Csi

  1. 1. Tori Kelly<br />29 October 2010<br />Communication Skills<br />Mr. Gregory Russell<br />KGA #2-FINAL REPORT AND PRESENTATION<br />INTERDISCIPLINARY<br />COMMUNICATION IN CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION<br /> Introduction<br />Sherlock Holmes and Watson used to be able to solve a murder mystery by themselves. Now the process is more complex, involving a team of several crime scene investigators, using many different forms of communication. During an investigation, the team may consist of uniformed police officers, plain clothed detectives, crime scene and lab technicians, fingerprint experts, medical examiners, firearms and ballistics examiners, toxicologists, forensic dentists, and DNA specialists. The communication between these disciplines involves many technical terms that must be exchanged in a manner that the team as a whole can understand. <br />By observing the clues left behind, a suspect is brought to trial. Then a new team of experts: attorneys, witnesses, the judge and jury, psychiatrists, and forensic specialists for the defense exchange information on all the collected evidence. The evidence is now presented to a jury, involving interpersonal communication, as opposing attorneys present their case. Criminal investigation has become so extensive and scientific, that it requires cooperative and effective communication of many different experts, all specializing in different methods of analysis, in order to bring a killer to justice.<br />The Emergency Call<br />Criminal Investigation involves a cooperative, interdisciplinary, linear and interactional mode of communication, as explained by Berko (2010). The first exchange of interactional communication takes place during the 911 call to dispatch. When someone calls who is in the midst of a traumatic violent crime scene, they may be very overwhelmed and frantic. Dispatch tries to calm the caller and extract information as to the nature and location of the crime, but screaming, crying, and hyperventilation may interfere with their response. This noise, as Berko CITATION Ber10 n t l 1033 (2010) explains, may result in incomplete or incorrect information. Dispatch has the responsibility of obtaining as much detail as possible. This is the first link of communication in the crime-solving process. <br />First Responders<br /> After the 911 call is complete, according to Ramsland CITATION Ram011 n t l 1033 (2001), dispatch then calls the officers on duty. “Hey, we’ve got a double homicide, it’s in a house, the victims have been shot, and it looks like they ransacked the place.” The first officer to respond is responsible for assessing the victim(s), securing the area, noting any significant evidence, and interviewing witnesses. This information is shared with a team of many subsequent professionals within the criminal justice field and processed for investigation. <br />The Team<br />Based on the type of scene, Fletcher (2006) contends, the manner of assault or death, and the information provided by the desk officer, a crew, covering the various disciplines of forensic science is put together. There may be a finger print specialist, photographer, tire track specialist, shoe print expert, and blood spatter analyst at the scene: five to seven people, all exchanging information extracted from their observations. This involves transactional, interpersonal and intrapersonal modes of communication.<br />The Evidence<br />As each crime scene expert collects and examines the evidence, they compare their data and come to a conclusion, hopefully to provide a suspect profile. Interviewing witnesses, if any, also provides important information. Ramsland (2001) argues that investigators must keep in mind, the different ways that people interpret what they see could lead to conflicting accounts of the crime, various suspect descriptions, or exaggerations. This human communication flaw is inherent, and is the reason why the science of evidence bears more weight, than does a person’s testimony. Science doesn’t lie, people do.<br />The Interrogation<br />When a suspect is apprehended, the interrogation begins. This interactional model of communication, as Berko (2010) explains, takes finesse and careful observation. Investigators must pay close attention to non-verbal messages, which Ramsland (2001) lists, such as nervous or aggressive behavior, degree of eye contact, various pitches in voice, refusal to answer questions, and any other mannerisms which may indicate whether or not the suspect is being truthful. They must also be very specific during questioning in order to obtain the required information needed to help solve a crime. <br />Fletcher (2006) asserts that the interrogator must also listen very carefully to the testimony, as Berko (2010) contends is a factor in communication, and how it compares to the evidence from the initial investigation. Fletcher (2006) further point out that if the suspect states they were nowhere near the scene and their shoeprints match the ones collected, that conflicts with scientific evidence, and is considered to be an untrue statement. Any deviation of information given to repeated questions is often also a cue that the suspect is lying.<br />The Trial<br />When the evidence points to the most likely suspect, they are arrested and brought to trial. This stage involves exchange of information among legal experts to determine if the evidence proves guilt or innocence. The attorneys must be very specific in their questions on order to obtain the information they want the jury to hear. Intrapersonal communication as defined by Berko (2010) begins, as the twelve jurors now listen to the opening and closing arguments of the prosecution and defense, and testimony of witnesses, experts, and the accused.<br />The final phase of the trial is the deliberation. This involves a transactional model of communication, as Berko (2010) explains, where several jurors are communicating simultaneously. They must exchange their views and opinions with one another, which will most likely result in some degree of conflict, due to intercultural differences, their moral and religious beliefs, opinions, or interpretation of evidence. This final link is critical, as the suspect’s future is in the hands of these twelve people, who must encode all the information they’ve heard, and present an agreed upon verdict. <br />Conclusion<br />Sherlock Holmes might disagree, that to solve a murder case, an intricate communication process among an extensive team of experts is very complex. Crime scene investigators collect, analyze and process evidence, exchange their findings with one another, interview witnesses and suspects, and convey the results to legal experts. This information is presented and deliberated in court in order to bring serious criminals to justice. Any ambiguities may lead investigators to the wrong suspect, thus resulting in an innocent person receiving a life sentence, or a killer getting away with murder. Holmes only needed “my dear Watson” to help solve the mystery. <br /> References<br />Bass, B., Jefferson, J. (2007) Beyond The Body Farm New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers<br />Fletcher, C. (2006) Every Contact Leaves a Trace (1st ed.) New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press<br />Hallcox, J., Welch, A., Bass, B. (2006) Bodies We’ve Buried (1st ed.) New York, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group<br />Ramsland, K (2001) The Forensic Science Of C.S.I. New York, NY: The Berkley Publishing Group<br />Smith, P.A., Barber, C., Hunter, J., Butler, M.(2008)Ergonomics Vol. 51, No. 10, October)Measuring team skills in crime scene investigation: exploring ad hoc teams Taylor & Francis Group http://www.informaworld.com<br />

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