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Actions undertaken during crime scene investigation play a significant role in ensuring the resolution of a criminal case. A careful and a thorough investigation process are imperative in ensuring that there is no manipulation of the available evidence (Crawford, 1999). Crime scene investigators and other law enforcement agencies such as the police therefore have a chief responsibility of ensuring protection of the crime scene and the preservation of first hand evidence. In addition, the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation process have the responsibility of submitting the gathered evidence for scientific analysis and examination. Launching an investigation early enough ensures that the crime scene investigation process is a success; this is because it does not provide a chance for the manipulation of the facts and evidence concerning the crime (Fisher, 2004). This paper outlines the roles of the police officers as first respondents in crime scene. In addition, it outlines an overview of the basics in crime scene processing through documentation and evidence collection.
The responsibilities of the first responding officer at a crime scene
The first responding officer plays a significant role in ensuring the success of a crime investigation process. One of the responsibilities of a first responding officer is crime scene recognition. The main objective behind crime recognition is to acquire an in depth understanding of the elements that the investigation will involve. Crime scene recognition plays a significant role in determining evidence collection methods. It entails having an insight of the scene using eyes, smell and sound and recording of any relevant material. Defining the degree of the crime scene is one of the most critical steps in recognition of the crime scene (Holden, 2006). This typically involves identifying the locale, which the crime might have taken place and any other items used by the perpetrators such as cars.
After recognition of the crime scene, the first responding officer has the responsibility of securing the crime scene and other affected areas. The core area of the crime scene is most critical and represents the area where most of the evidence is available. The first responding officer must secure the core area in preparation for an untainted search before the manipulation of evidence. Physical barriers such as tapes and police barricades serve to secure the crime scene area. It also involves eliminating any other unwanted persons from the crime scene. The first responding officer must guarantee that he amasses evidence that is acceptable in a court of law. After securing a crime scene, they can then talk with the respondents to see if they happened to touch anything at the scene just after the crime (Janssen, 2011).
Gathering evidence is also a significant role of the first responding officer during the investigation of a crime scene. The officer has the mandate of ensuring there is no evidence manipulation of any sort. In cases of homicides, the police have the responsibility of conducting a thorough analysis on the dead body and looks for indicators such as marks, the condition of the clothing, the presence of blood and other elements that might have led to the death of victim.
Crime scene processing
Crime scene investigation requires diverse skills such as observation and the ability to analyze critically the collected evidence; in particular, to draw a relevance of the collected evidence and the crime that is under investigation. Crime scene investigation is a dynamic and the nature of crime and the crime scene significantly determine the plan of approach. Crime scene processing is diverse in nature. It typically entails the procedures below.
The first phase of crime scene processing is scene documentation. The main objective behind the documentation of a crime scene is to have a visual representation of the crime scene. This is significant in allowing the forensics experts and the attorney in charge of prosecution to reconstruct the crime scene accurately. Scene documentation typically entails the use of video, audio and still photos to have a visual representation of the crime. One of the basic steps in documentation of the scene is a second walk through, keeping in mind to follow the same trail of the first walk through. An investigator is also required to take notes during this phase; note taking requires scientific observation of the crime scene (Flaherty & Corinn, 2004).
Gathering the evidence is important in crime scene processing. The main objective of this stage is to gather and preserve all the reliable evidence, which might play a key role in attempting to reconstruct the crime and help in identification of the offender, in such a way that the evidence is admissible in a court of law. Typical evidences collected at a crime scene include impressions such as fingerprints; body fluids such as vomits and blood; hair and other fibers; documents and weapons. It is important to draw a correlation between the evidence and the nature of the crime scene (Ross, 2004).
Forensic analysis is also important during the processing of a crime scene. Forensic laboratories provide analysis of the gathered evidence. The forensic reports base on matching evidence collected with the known information to identify the offender. It is worth noting that the task of Crime investigator does not with filing of the crime report. A big task of the CSI is ensuring that the evidence collected is permissible in a law court. This usually entails the testifying about the evidence, the approaches the investigator deployed to collect the evidence and the people that he met during the investigation. The evidence should be able to stand the attack from the defense attorney. This explains why investigation procedures such as search warrants, logs of the investigation process and detailed photos of the crime scene should not be overlooked (Stuart & Nordby, 2005).