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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Sexual Assault Investigation VII

Working the scene: Part One

If you’ve read my first novel, NHI: No Humans Involved, a Nate Richards crime series – don’t you just love how I worked a commercial right into the first paragraph of my blog? But I digress…. As I was saying, the one thing Nate always does when he comes to a new crime scene is stop, back up and then walk in slowly. 

This is called getting the big picture or an overview, most often it is referred to as the Walk Through. During the walk through no evidence is collected. It is exactly what it sounds like, a walk through. The CSI, will during this phase, discuss what angles will be used to take which photographs and what evidence will eventually be collected, but this is discussion only.  

The scene officer, remember he is the one who got the call and probably was the first officer on site, is or should be familiar with the crime scene. This officer will give the lead crime scene investigator a briefing of what is believed to have happened and then, having already determine a route of ingress and egress –that’s fancy cop talk for the way in and the way out- that will least impact the crime scene, walk the CSI through he scene explaining the scene as they go. 

Next time, who does what.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Sexual Assault Investigation VI

Crime Scene:

The phrase brings to mind images of people dressed in white protective clothing and re-breathers, white or blue yellow banded booties and rubber gloves. There are two people or are key to have a successful crime scene search, they are the Team-leader and Perimeter guard, or checkpoint guard.

The team-leader is the one person who will coordinate the entire search. If the team leader is not in place and not doing the job well, the proper tracking of who did what and what evidence was collected where may not be properly tracked.

This proper tracking is what we call the Chain of Command. This one act alone can cause all the evidence to be thrown out of court if the chain of command cannot be properly traced from discovery and collection, to processing to presentation in court.

The Perimeter guard is responsible to tracking who goes into the crime scene. This officer records what time the person goes in and what time they exit. They will also record the reason for entering: i.e. evidence collection or scene walk through.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

NHI: No Humans Involved

Hey everyone, I just wanted to take a minute from the regular blog to announce that NHI has been released. Praise God!
It is listed on,, and Feel free to stop by the websites and check it out.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Anatomy of a Sexual Assault Investigation V

The Call Out:

What comes after the initial response is settled? If you’re a detective it’s the dreaded middle of the night call. Our last blog covered the levels of the call response and troop deployment. This time we will turn our attention to the Call Out.

The callout is usually where the detective first gets involved. Up until this point, by in large, everything we discussed has been a patrol function. Once the scene-officer has determined what the need is, he or she will advise the shift supervisor or the AFC: acting field commander. The AFC is usually either a sergeant or corporal, but sometimes maybe the highest ranking officer.

Using the supplied information, the AFC makes the determination to call in a detective or not. While the determining factor is based on a lot of things, it is mainly based on if the crime scene requires working or if it requires more attention than patrol can afford to give at that time. 

If the crime scene needs working and suspects are in custody; or known and at large, then a detective will be called out. Of course, if the victim is a child, a detective- responding to the callout- is initiated and assumes control investigation. 

Next time we will look at the Crime Scene and how and who does the processing.