Traditionally, a line between the items used by the first responding officer and the crime scene personnel is drawn. The former must utilize the items such as biohazard bags, bindle paper, barricade tape, and first-aid kits. The list is not restricted to the specified components and may include other elements. However, the tools mentioned above can be regarded as the bare minimum that must be utilized when investigating a crime scene.
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For the crime scene personnel, it is mandatory to use the tools mentioned above. Furthermore, crime scene personnel must include the items such as a camera, flashlight, measuring devices, and other elements of the measurement process. Particularly, the crime scene personnel must utilize the devices that will lead to a careful and accurate assessment of a crime scene. The significance of the specified devices is very high since they help prevent instances of evidence destruction.
To protect themselves, both the crime scene personnel and the first responding officer must use gloves and similar items to prevent contact with potentially hazardous pieces of evidence. The range of protective items that a crime scene investigator must wear may vary depending on the circumstances in which the investigation occurs. For instance, when being exposed to biohazards, the staff members may be required to wear additional protective equipment (Hazard 209). Thus, the safety of the staff is enhanced.
Types of Hazards
There is a vast array of threats to which a crime scene investigator may be subjected during the assessment of a crime scene. While the existing taxonomy attempts at covering all of them, the range of threats is truly vast. Among the most common types of threats, one must mention biohazards, chemical hazards (e.g., agricultural chemicals), and physical hazards (Reno et al. 23). Although the identified taxonomy is rather brief, it allows delineating essential dangers that a crime scene investigator may discover when considering a particular issue.
Hazards and Investigation
Defining the notion of hazardous material at a crime scene, one may point out that the identified term embraces all items that may cause harm to an investigator’s physical or mental well-being (Reno et al. 23). Therefore, any potentially dangerous item may generate an array of threats to the health of a crime scene investigator. For this reason, prior training is viewed as a necessity for the personnel that must investigate the scenes of crime.
Herein lies the significance of protective clothing. As stressed above, the number of protective items worn by a crime scene investigator may vary depending on the type of crime that has been committed, the specifics of the setting in which it took place, the weapon, etc. For instance, chemical hazards mentioned above may include pesticides, in which case they are addressed as agricultural chemical hazards (Reno et al. 10). A thorough analysis of the type to which a certain threat belongs, as well as possible implications thereof and the effects that it may have on the health of an investigator, will allow locating the tools that should be used to facilitate the safety of an investigator.
Reducing the exposure of bystanders to the threats that a crime scene may potentially contain is an essential part of a criminal investigator’s task. Therefore, using the available tools for limiting people’s ability to access the scene is imperative. For this reason, a detailed analysis of a crime area must be conducted. Unless the entire area is secured from the access of onlookers, the latter may be subjected to a range of threats. In the case under analysis, flaming and smoke, as well as other conditions associated with a particular crime, may pose a significant threat to the well-being of bystanders (Reno et al. 13). Therefore, passers-by must be kept away from the crime scene. For example, smoke may cause respiratory problems in passers-by, leading to a massive aggravation in their condition and even possible death (e.g., in case of asthma in a bystander) (Reno et al., 2012). In addition, the potential ramifications of the error include injuries caused by the fire that has not been put out, explosions that may be triggered by the fire, or the injuries received from the debris.
as little as 3 hours
To avoid the specified issue, an investigator will have to use the barricade tape as the tool for identifying the area that may contain potential health hazards. The specified measure is essential since it will provide the opportunity to avoid injuries of innocent bystanders. Seeing that securing people’s lives must be the priority of an officer, it is crucial for an investigator to ensure that no out lookers could have an opportunity to enter the crime scene. Because of the possibility of people being affected, it is imperative to contain its effects within the crime scene area.
Evidence destruction is not only a significant hindrance in the way of investigating a crime but also a punishable offense that will lead to serious repercussions. Moreover, one must keep in mind that, by stepping into a bloodstain and leaving marks on the floor, one will make the process of investigation more complicated and create multiple obstacles to solving the crime. Therefore, it is essential to restrict the area that has been affected. As soon as the area contamination is identified, one will have to change one’s shoes not to leave any further footprints that may hinder the investigation. In addition, the problem will have to be documented properly. A report detailing the situation, the problem caused by the investigator, and the effects thereof will have to be provided. Thus, a full analysis of the issue will be conducted, and the outcomes of the accident will be contained, therefore, making any further contamination impossible.
Similar instances of crime scene contamination and destruction of evidence must be prevented and avoided at all costs in the future. For this purpose, detailed instructions must be provided to crime scene investigators. In addition, the focus on developing caution and care necessary for managing crime evidence will need to be fostered in investigators. As a result, the threat of losing essential evidence will be reduced significantly. Therefore, the active promotion of responsibility combined with consistent training should become the foundation for preventing cases of evidence contamination in the future.
In accordance with the existing standards for carrying out a forensic analysis, securing the crime scene must be regarded as the first step toward managing the situation. Therefore, it will be crucial to mark the area as the crime scene and ensure that passers-by could not enter it. The specified measure will help reduce the threat of contaminating crucial evidence and compromising the available information. Furthermore, a detailed record of the crime scene will have to be submitted. The specified objective will imply taking pictures of the corpse and the environment, i.e., the area in the field where it has been found.
Hazard, Durdica. “The Relevant Physical Trace in Criminal Investigation.” Journal of Forensic Science and Medicine, vol. 2, no. 4, 2016, pp. 208-212.
Reno, Janet, et al. Fire and Arson Scene Evidence: A Guide for Public Safety Personnel. 2nd ed. NCJ, 2000.