Criminal Justice Essay Paper on Crime Scene Investigation

Assignment 1: Crime Scene Investigation

Crime Scene Investigation is a practice that encompasses information in law, science, and logic. A crime scene can bE defined as a location where a crime has been committed, and forensic evidence needs to be gathered by relevant law enforcement personnel to ascertain who the offenders are. The investigation to be taken at the crime scene needs to be thorough and precise to ensure physical evidence is not tainted and potential witnesses not overlooked (National Institute of Justice, 2000). A set of guidelines has to be adhered to during preliminary investigation by effective criminal investigators who possess particular characteristics.

There are definite procedures that need to be adhered to by investigators when conducting a preliminary investigation for any criminal case. The principle of such an assessment is to facilitate the determination of the incident to be investigated and the level of investigation that can be conducted. With such a principle, the policy would be to identify specific responsibilities and prioritize investigative plans that are in concord with federal and state laws. The investigators should converse with primary respondents as regards to the activities that took place. A proper evaluation of safety issues that might affect personnel engaging in the scene should be carried out. Search and seizure issues should be analyzed in order to ascertain the necessity of any consent in the form of a warrant to search the scene. The investigators need to establish scene boundaries, exit and entry strategies, a secure area within the proximity, a secure area for temporary evidence, and the need for additional investigative resources. The crime scene needs to be properly canvassed, and preliminary documentation taken in the form of photography (Penven, 2012). Such a set of guidelines ensures there are coordinated identification, collection, and preservation of evidence and witnesses’ statements.

After the preliminary investigation has been conducted, and it is established that there is a lack of a substantial amount of solvability factors, then there is a need for a follow-up investigation. The investigation will ensure that proper solvability factors can be raised that ensures the suspect can be brought to book. A strategy that can be taken in the follow-up investigation is the maintenance of contact between the case investigator and the prosecutor. Collaboration between the two would ensure that a successful prosecution could be undertaken. The steps that could be undertaken involve increased consultations with police, prosecutors, and supervisors (Maureen Malone, 2013). The initiative will improve preparation procedures for both entities and ensure that sufficient solvability factors can be raised on the suspect for successful prosecution.

Examples of major crimes often reported in the criminal division of the police are burglary and homicide. Burglary is the infiltration of a physical establishment with the sole intention of stealing its belongings. Homicide, on the other hand, is taking away the life of another human being. When reporting both crimes, there is a need to photograph and document the scene of investigation. There should be location and collection of latent fingerprints to establish DNA evidence. In a homicide crime scene, the dead body needs to be handled well, and information collected that shows how the victim was killed. Relatives of the victim need to be informed, and credible trails established on who the suspect might be. In a burglary, eyewitness accounts are collected, and credible investigations instigated on the suspects. The stolen items must be noted and sufficient efforts made in recovering them and capturing those responsible for the crime.

The most effective criminal scene investigators have defined characteristics that assist them become better investigators with an inept resolution to solve criminal cases. During investigations, relevant authorities utilize specific skills to gather information that is critically analyzed to arrive at credible resolutions. A characteristic that is quite significant to investigators is communication and interview skills. Interviews are the cornerstones of investigations that often involve active interactions with suspects, witnesses, and victims (National Institute of Justice, 2000). With such a skill, investigators can ask precise questions and extract as many details that are relevant to the investigations. The investigator needs to be a good listener and recognize through body language if witnesses are lying or not. The second characteristic is emotional control, where investigators need to have effective anger management strategies since an open expression of anger, might harm the case. A free expression of empathy is good for the case since it creates a safe environment where relevant details are enumerated on. The third characteristic is critical discerning and problem-solving skills. This is an active skill since it ensures that the investigator can piece together evidence and witness statements to come up with a workable solution and a possible suspect. The skill ensures that the investigator can consider all solutions without heavily relying on obvious solutions especially those that have been created by contradictory witness statements (Maureen Malone, 2013). These skills are of paramount importance in criminal investigation and have an enormous impact on the admissibility of a case in a court of law.

There is an argument that states that criminal investigation process should maintain the balance as regards to freedom of information through media outlets and privacy rights of alleged perpetrators of crime. I support this argument since the practice of one’s right should never impede on another person’s freedoms and rights. If that is permitted, then a situation of anarchy might be created where people only focus on their individual rights and not the rights of other people. Furthermore, alleged perpetrators are not yet proven guilty and should be treated as innocent until a court of law declares on their guilt.

References

Maureen Malone, D. M. (2013). Skills & Qualities Necessary to Be an Effective Investigator. The Nest, pp. 1-2.

National Institute of Justice. (2000). Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement. Washington, DC: U.S Department of Justice.

Penven, D. (2012). Basic Stages for a Crime Scene Investigation. Crime Scene Investigator Network, pp. 1-2.