Presentation on theme: "Rules of Searching Crime Scene Search Techniques, Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures."— Presentation transcript:
1Rules of SearchingCrime Scene Search Techniques, Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures
2Protocols of searching The goal of any search during an investigation (at the crime scene, or during a consent search, or during a search warrant, etc.) is to discover evidence that helps to :1 Establish that a crime was in fact committed,2 Establish when/where the crime was committed3 Identify who committed the crime (and possibly why?)
3Search protocols Conduct a Detailed Search The search for physical evidence must be through and systematic. If you fail to recognize an item as a piece of evidence, or improperly collect the item, it may harm the integrity of your investigation.All scenes are three-dimensional never forget to look up (ceilings, walls, eves, roof, gutters, trees)
41 shotYou only get one shot at a crime scene. You have to get it right… (whether it is a search warrant (you only have certain amount of time to conduct the search)…..or a consent search (you can’t take forever…….remember ‘reasonableness’ is the standard and key to conducting any law enforcement duties)
5Searching Organizing any search includes the following; Dividing the duties among your team (delegate responsibilities clearly)Determining a search pattern (the most ideal search pattern for that particular terrain)Giving clear instructions (by team leader) with respect to WHAT it is you’re searching for, and the parameters / scope of the search (it must be ‘narrow’ in that it’s legally limited)
6Protocols to two different scenes Crime SceneArrival (Safety of people and security of scene foremost)Interview (overall, ID)Examine (why)Establish Command postEstablish perimeterPhotograph (General)Search & Process (Find, Photo, Sketch, Collect, Record)Sketch (Detailed)Scene ReleaseSearch Warrant SceneAnnounce authority and purpose and demand entry (K&A)Enter and Secure premisesPhotograph (General/overall)Sketch (rough)Search & process (Find, Photo (specific), collect (bag &tag) record/document)Photograph / video egress- Release of scene to occupant
7Clues/ evidence Crime Scene Sometimes it’s obvious Clues to the suspect IDSuggests manner or method of how crime was committed ‘M.O.’Things not associated with or are abnormal to the scene (foreign obj)Sometimes it’s obviousSometimes it’s an educated guess (T.K.E.)Training, knowledge, experienceSearch Warrant SceneSearch for and recover ONLY those things you have been authorized to search for (set forth by the court based upon PROBABLE CAUSE )Attachment ‘A’ will clearly define what evidence, fruits, instrumentalities you believe are there and can seize
8Crime Scene: What to Look For Unusual odorsPresence of biological fluids, biohazardsSigns of a struggleEntry and Exit pointsCondition of windows and doors (open/closed, locked/unlockedCondition of light switches (on/off)Condition of trash containers, ashtraysEvidence of drinking or drug abuseFirst responder actionsMedic actionsBiometrics, any trace evidence that may have DNA, prints, etc
9First responders’ observations are often critical (and overlooked)
10Crime Scene SearchingSome of the methods to search a crime scene for evidence are the “zone or sector” search, “lane” or “strip” search, “spiral” search, and “grid search”.Each may be effective depending on the type of environment, terrain, obstacles for the searchers. (ie; highway, roadway, vs. inside basement, high rise office bldg., open field)
11Essential note-taking at both Crime Scene and Search Warrant Scenes Time, date of arrival (specifics as to whom)What the scene looked like upon arrivalWho was present when you arrived (suspects, witnesses, victims, other law enforcement, medics, neighbors, etc.)What you did (Actions)Checked victim, interviews, evidence, photographs, video, DETAILWhat the scene looked like when you leftWho took control of the scene or how did you secure it. Who did you release it to?
12Post search ‘re-securing’ of the property Action after search – supervisor needs to determine the extent of damage and the necessity of securing the property.
13Choosing the correct search method Grid?Spiral?Line / Strip?Quadrant?Zone?Lane?Lane / Parallel?
14Spiral search Spiral or Circular Search Typically used for outdoor scenes. Thissearch pattern is usually conducted by asingle searcher (lone officer) who walks in a slightlydecreasing, less-than-concentric circle fromthe outermost boundary towards the center for certain crimes such as arson,The process can be reversed for bomb scenes.
18Lane (or Line) search Strip or Line Search Method Usually used for covering large or open areas. Ideal for sidewalks, parking lots, alley ways, etc.Personnel will line up shoulder to shoulder; usuallyan arm’s distant away from each other and moveslowly along examining parallel strips of terrain.When a suspected piece of evidence is locatedthey will call the Team Leader or evidence tech before taking any action. Personnel should try to maintain the straight line and move forward together to avoid missing areas.*stop, move in synchronicity, flag or mark, and photograph
21Grid or modified technique Grid Search MethodVariation of the strip search method-best usedoutdoors. Personnel will search a strip along oneaxis, east to west and then come back and coverthe same area on a north to south axis.This method provides a double check of the search area for evidence that may be missed
25Zone search (Popular method) Zone or Sector Search MethodArea to be searched is divided into zones or sectors…and marked accordinglyEach person is assigned a sector to do a thorough search. The sectors can then be searched by another team member in the interest of thoroughness
27Zone or quadrant markings Zones can be marked or designated as ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ (and beyond)….or “1,2,3,4”, etc) or any combination thereof, as long as it’s clear. Vehicles can be broken down into zones such as; “Interior Front”, “Interior Rear”, “Trunk”, “Engine/Hood”, “Exterior” Apartments can be “Room #1A, 1B, 1C, etc for first level rooms, and #2A, 2B, etc. for second floor rooms, B-1, B-2, etc. for basement rooms
28Which search technique would you use, parking lot, busy 4 lane (bomb scene)
29Which technique would you use (rural area with long, dirt road)
36Collecting and Marking Evidence Bagging and Tagging Bagging TipsPharmacy fold for trace evidenceBlood – glass (but it depends on type (ie; on clothing, shoes, knife, etc)Documents – paper (ideal for preserving fingerprints) or plastic container if not printingCurrency – plastic (seal if possible)Weapons or ammunition – (zip tie/secure - box/paper bagNarcotics – plastic (heat sealed if possible)Flammable liquid – cans (breathable)Explosives – sterile cans (line or unlined)Arson Debris – sterile cans
39Paper bags may be used for certain evidence that has to ‘breath’
40ForensicsChoose your bagging and tagging method wisely. The value of your DNA samples, fingerprints, tool marks, etc. may depend on how you process.Although fingerprints are generally considered one of the more reliable identifying forms of evidence, DNA is essentially a genetic ‘fingerprint’ however many investigations will not test for DNA evidence
41Latent PrintsLatent fingerprints may be visible, invisible or not even present at a crime scene…however every crime scene investigator should treat the scene and all physical evidence as of prints may exist.Handle with gloves, process correctly, choose bag, vial, can, appropriately
42Contamination and cross contamination issues Keep in mind that not only can a scene or piece of evidence be ‘contaminated’ at any point between the scene and trial (or lab), but investigators also run the risk of ‘cross contaminating’ scenes (and evidence) if their boots/shoes, equipment, tools, clothing, etc. are not changed or decontaminated properly.This is the source of many defense challenges and gives laboratories problems in eliminating: prints, DNA, trace evidence, hair, etc.
43DNADespite television CSI shows, DNA is not used or even sampled in most criminal investigations. DNA testing is expensive, time consuming, requires specific storage requirements for DNA related bio-hazards, etc., and laboratories therefore have specific protocols in handling, sampling, transmitting, and testing. (*it must sufficient in its type and amount to be test, and it must be probative with respect to the crime at hand)
44Daubert ChallengeDiscuss the Daubert case and what it means with regards to ‘expert testimony’ in court.Discuss Daubert challenges and how investigators should expect that as a growing trend particularly in Defense arguments.
45Never discount trash, garbage bags, dumpsters, waste cans as potentially good repositories for evidence (look for discarded gloves, bags, hats, boots, bloody clothes, etc.)
47Photography Crime Scene and Search Warrant Video and Still (Overview – inside and outside)Video (No Sound, 30 minute tapes or DVD’s)Stills (Digital is now OK, although Courts struggled to accept digital photos initially because of their susceptibility to be altered, morphed, copied, etc)Arrival (Immediately after scene security and victim assistance)Set, and Crime SeatPerimeterBystandersDeparture (ingress and egress points)Photo Log*rule of thumb is “you can never take too many photographs at a crime scene”
48Sketching Reasoning for Sketching Sketches are an excellent companion to photographs (Photographs are 2 dimensional so accurate distances cannot be judged)Sketches offer accurate information about the placement of objectsSketches help determine the relationships between distances and thingsSketches complements notes and photographs taken at the crime or search scene
49Sketching General Tips Sketching TeamOne person drawingTwo measuringMeasurements to evidence are usually to center of mass unless placement of the object, e.g. a body, is importantWith Crime Scenes accuracy counts. Measurements are made to the nearest inch and drawing is to scale.With Search warrant scenes we are only trying to assist recall of what the premises searched looked like, no measurements are necessary.
50Evidence Measurement Systems Rectangular Coordinates MethodTriangulation methodBase Line MethodCompass Point methodCross Projection method of drawingShow graph paper with all three measuring system on one page for same evidence location.
51Rectangular Coordinates Method 1Demonstrate on graph paper using the overhead.2
52Triangulation Method1Demonstrate on graph paper using the overhead.2
53Evidence Measurement Systems Baseline Method 42Demonstrate on graph paper using the overhead.3A1
5410 x 10 = ‘100 step guide’Team Leader – conducts walkthrough and overall scene evaluation, assigns tasksPhotographer –photo’s general scene as well as specific evidence and witnesses, victimsEvidence Technician –controls all evidence collection, categorizes, documents, cust/controlSchematic Artist - – draws overall sketch as well as diagrams immediate area of evidenceImmediate Area Investigative Unit – interview victims, witnesses, first responders relevant persons inner perimeter
55100 step process6 Immediate Area Search Unit – locate seat of crime, measure and record, conducts search for evidence, bag and tag, etcGeneral Area Search Unit – search surrounding areas, beyond perimeter, ingress and egress points,General Area Investigative Unit – neighborhood canvass interviews, narrow suspect pool, lab analysis, photo line ups
56100 step process # 9, 10 if possible, if available, and if appropriate/needed Forensic ChemistBomb Technician or Firearms Expert or other similar specialists such as fingerprint, DNA
57Scene protocolsRecord and Collect all Physical Evidence that is determined to be collected by the T.L. or the Case Agent1. Photograph and/or videotape all items before collection and enter notations in photographic or video log (remember—use scale when necessary).2. Mark precise evidence locations on the diagram/sketch…which coordinates with the photo log and evidence log.
58Scene protocolsThree points of consistency; (that should be accurate and synchronized for ‘best evidence’ in court):Photo logEvidence Collection logSchematic Drawing of scene(with respect to number of items, location it was found, who recovered it, etc.)
59Evidence logComplete evidence log with appropriate notations for each item of evidenceIdeally, have at least two persons:(1) See evidence in place before collection(2) Observe it being recovered(3) Mark the evidence by initialing (mark item itself or the tag, bag or sticker)(4) Count currency, or inventory valuables seized asevidence/contraband (particularly with $$ and drugs).*(5) Place identifying marks on evidence containers, e.g. date, time, case number, name of agent, etc.
60Evidence TechIf feasible, have only one person as the assigned “evidence custodian”. This is typically designated by the Supervisor or Case Agent and is often the person who will ultimately testify in court as to the location all evidence was ‘recovered’.Do not unnecessarily handle evidence after recovery…or without gloves if fingerprintingSeal all evidence containers at the crime scene.Do not guess on packaging requirements—different types of evidence can necessitate different containers (paper bags vs. glass vials, vs. metal pain cans, etc)
61Legal protocolsTo be effective during your search, investigators should know the legal requirements for searching (are you there under ‘consent’ vs. search warrant, or exigent circumstances? How about Search Incident to Arrest? …..…and also know the items being searched for (specifically), and also…the elements of the crime being investigated
62Generally speaking…… (5 lawful ways to search) Search Warrant (preferred by prosecutor and Courts. Either State or Federal S/W. (local Magistrates (Justices) can be problematicConsent Search (verbal, written, implied, explicit)Exigent Search (exigent circumstances such as the destruction of evidence or the threat to public safety or imminent escape, etc)Search Incident to Arrest (‘arms reach doctrine’ ie; lunging distance) (S.I.A.)Inventory or Impound Search (primarily vehicles)*plain view discoveries are not considered a search per se
63Search WarrantA federal or state court judge may issue a search warrant for evidence of any crime. SW may be for a residence, building/office/warehouse/business, etc.A person (actual person)For blood, DNA, biometricsFor mailFor computersFor cell phones or similar devicesVehicles, trucks, trailers, boats, conveyances,
64Search warrantSearch Warrants MUST be limited to the specific area and items named in the warrant.Items to be searched for must be set forth clearly in the affidavit of probable cause, as well as the Cover sheet of the SW application itself
65Collecting and Marking Evidence Bagging and Tagging Evidence Tag with sequential numberingMarking the evidence (see handbook)Latex glovesSerial numbered itemsNo serial numberOfficer initialsDate and timeExhibit #On the item if possible without destroying the evidence or compromising forensicsProvide each student with several evidence tags.Show evidence tag on the overhead
66Search WarrantS/W’s are authorized by a Judge if probable cause exists. This is typically determined by the ‘totality of the circumstances’ as outlined in the affidavit by the Affiant (investigator or officer seeking the warrant)
67Consent SearchA lawful ‘consent’ to search is valid if given voluntarily by someone who legally and actually has the authority to consent to the search.It must be a person who can demonstrate dominion and control over the property or premises to be searched (discuss bedrooms, locked basements, sheds, apartments, etc)
68ConsentConsent means the person can not be under duress, threats or inducement by the officers or investigators. Must be voluntaryIt cannot be a subterfuge in attempts to circumvent the lengthy process of securing a search warrant.It cannot use trickery, promises, inducements
69Consent can be trickyIf one spouse gives consent for the home, but the other spouse stops (denies consent) the search of his bedroom, that search must stop.If any party with actual consent authority stops the consent, it over-rides any other party’s explicit consent …..IF THEY HAVE REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY (R.E.P.) AND ‘AUTHORITY’ TO DO SO
70Exigent Circumstances Discuss examples; (shots being fired, screams)Imminent threat to public safetyArson/explosive casesEscape, armed/dangerousDestruction of evidence is likely or imminent (FLUSHING OF DRUGS)Perishable evidence (something that may disappear if not recovered immediately, ie; texts, snapchat photos, social media, evidence in water or water soluable, even fingerprints)
71IMPOUND or INVENTORY search Inventory searches are done by police after a vehicle has been towed or impounded into police custody. It’s done to account for everything in that car (or truck)…and a documented record is kept for them and the owner/operator of the car.Can lead to follow up search warrant (ie; blood evidence, shell casings, drug paraphernalia)
72SEARCH INCIDENT TO ARREST S.I.A ‘arms length doctrine’ (or lunging distance is the standard) according to courtsOnce someone is in custody (arrested), police can search their person and immediate surroundings (within lunging distance) to safeguard against weapons, hazards, destruction of evidence, etc.)Limited in scope and nature (reasonableness is key + Officer’s T.K.E.)
73S.I.A.S.I.A. is valid but be careful, it can easily be abused by going further than legally allowed.(while in homes’ first floor you search the basement or bedrooms well beyond reach , or beyond car’s interior and into the locked trunkDistinguish between S.I.A. and officer’s legitimate need to ‘search’ for people that may still pose a threat throughout the house (different type of search)…but may also reveal ‘plain view’ evidence)
74Plain View DoctrineDiscuss contraband observed in plain view of the officer’s sight while lawfully in a place he should be.This may give rise to stop, asking consent, or getting a search warrant…..but plain view discoveries do not allow L.E.to circumvent lawful search requirements –especially if it is not contraband they’re observing
75‘Inevitable Discovery’ This doctrine establishes that if illegally obtained evidence would be in all likelihood eventually have been discovered anyway, it may still be admissable.
76Carroll and Terry doctrines The Carroll decision ruled that automobiles may be searched without a warrant if there is probable cause for the search and the vehicle would likely be gone before a search warrant could be obtainedThe ‘Terry v. Ohio’ case allows officers to conduct pat downs and frisks of individuals reasonably suspected of having a weapon or about to commit a crime.
77T.K.E.Remember, an officer’s Training, Knowledge and Experience matters in all cases.That combination of skills (and how you articulate them) affects the weight of an affidavit, your reports, your courtroom testimony, your overall believability by suspects, victims and most of all - jurors,