POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1037204

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assets to help block o major roads, such as your version of the road and bridge department. I handled a shooting one time at a large air-conditioned ea market spanning three separate connected buildings. Because it was a running battle that went from one end to another, the crime scene was huge. We had to shut down and control the entire complex for most of the day. Suspect Movement nother duty you have is to try to establish the nature of the suspects' movements. You need to establish where their point of entry was, how they moved inside, and where they exited. •e exit point is especially critical because it helps you find their direction of travel. Screw that up and you have made tracking the suspect more difficult, if not impossible. If you can't secure anything else, secure the exit point because it will be a K-9's starting point. Keep everyone away from there until a€er the K-9 unit stops their track. On one call, we were just minutes behind a mobile home burglary. We found a bloody towel just outside the residence that had obviously been used to smash through a window. Our K-9 team was second to arrive and I was sure we would catch the suspect unless they had escaped in a vehicle. As soon as we set up, the K-9 was o and tracking in a ash. To everyone's surprise, our K-9 team kept circling back to the residence and hung around one particular oicer. It seems the oicer had handled the bloody towel prior to our getting there. Our K-9 did his job but unfortunately the deputy that failed to secure the exit point (and touched the towel) did not. Keep Unauthorized People Out nce things are locked down, you have to control and record who comes in and out of your crime scene. You need to treat your crime scene like classified information: need-to-know basis only. If you are working the crime scene, you're in. If you are a gawker you're out. •ere is one notable exception, however. If you are a field training oicer and exposing your recruit to something new, that's fine. Just make sure you clear it first. •ere are a few procedures you can follow in order to limit unauthorized access. •e first thing you can do is create a sin- gle guarded entrance. Everyone wanting to go in or out must pass through that point. You can also create a crime scene log. Anyone going in and or out is documented with the date, time, and the reason they went in. It's a good practice to advise of‹- cers that if they go in, they are subject to writing a supplemental report and that they may have to appear in court. Usually that's enough to keep away all but the most hardcore gawkers. Where it gets tricky is when members of the command sta try to push their way in. I suggest you not argue with them, but I would make sure their entry is documented. It's been my ex- perience that some members of the command sta only bother to show up for high-visibility crimes. For example, on every ho- micide scene I ever worked, it tended to look like a mandatory sta meeting. I don't care who they are; they walk into your crime scene, it gets documented. Use Common Sense here are other common sense considerations as well. For example, there is no eating, drinking, or smoking at a crime scene. If you are going to be there for a while, make sure you create a separate area for those things. And don't for- get about members of the media. Your perimeter has to be big enough to prevent them from contaminating the scene. Another aspect that is sometimes overlooked is protecting the crime scene technicians or the investigators themselves. Don't be so quick to clear the area and leave them alone if your suspects are still at large. One resource I recommend on the topic is a PDF handbook on crime scenes by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It's free and can be downloaded at http:// www.nist.gov/forensics/upload/Crime-Scene-Investigation. pdf. Q Amaury Murgado retired a senior lieutenant from the Osceola County (FL) Sheri's Office with 30 years of experience. He also retired from the Army Reserve as a master sergeant and holds a Master of Political Science degree from the University of Central Florida. I N V E S T IG AT I V E T E C H NO L O G I E S | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 17 PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES A O T

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