Presentation on theme: "Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching"— Presentation transcript:
1 Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching
2 Introduction Documentation is vital throughout an investigation Written and photographic documentation records the condition of the scene as first observed, providing a permanent record.Paperwork can constitute up to 70% of an investigator’s job.
3 Field NotesInvestigative notes are a permanent written record of the facts of a case to be used in further investigation, in writing reports and in prosecuting the case.Detailed notes can make or break a conviction.
4 When to Take NotesStart to take notes as soon as possible after receiving a call to respond and continue recording information as it is received throughout the investigation.Most people will give information freely.But what about the reluctant witnesses?
5 What to RecordRecord all facts, regardless of where they may lead. Information establishing a suspect’s innocence is as important as that establishing guilt.Answer these questions:Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why?
6 What to RecordDescribe the physical scene including general weather conditions.Do not jot down information unrelated to the investigation.
7 Where to Record Notes Use a notebook Advantages? Disadvantages? Don’t use your hands!The notebook remains the simplest, most economical and most basic of investigative tools.Advantages?SmallEasy to carryDisadvantages?Not as organized
8 How to Take NotesWrite brief, legible, abbreviated notes that others can understand.Omit unnecessary words such as “a, and, the” -- don’t need them. Be preciseUse abbreviationsIf you make an error, cross it out so not erase?Why is this?You can also use a tape recorderAlso has advantages and disadvantages
9 Characteristics of Effective Notes Effective notes are complete, accurate, specific, factual, clear, well organized and legible.Be as specific as possible:Instead of saying tallState about 6 foot 1 or 2.The basic purpose of notes is to records facts.I always referred to the official report."Just the facts mam"
10 Characteristics of Effective Notes Legibility refers to the distinctness of your letters and numbers.Clarity refers to the distinctness of your statements.Avoid wordinessLength alone doesn’t make for qualityBelieve me I know~Use spell checkersWatch for words that are misspelled that are not misspelled.“there and their”
11 Filing NotesIf notes are retained, file them in a secure location readily accessible to the investigator.
12 Admissibility of Notes in Court Properly introduced original notes made by the testifying officer can be used in a criminal proceeding.Officers may also refer to their notes in court to refresh their memory.Defense counsel will get a copy of those notes though.
13 Admissibility of Notes in Court Original notes are legally admissible in court, and officers may use them to refresh their memories. Officers should take to court only those notes that pertain to that particular case.
14 Formal Notes Use standardized format Use chronological order The narrativeThe opening paragraph states the time, date, type of incident and how you came involved.Next, what you were told by the victim witnesses. Use separate paragraph for each witness.Record what you did.
15 Effective Report Writing An effective report uses paragraphs, the past tense and is in first person. It is factual, accurate, objective, complete, concise, clear, mechanically correct, written in standard English, legible and reader focused.
16 Paragraphs Paragraphs should be short about 100 words. You should start a new paragraph when:Change speakersChange locationChange timeChange idea
17 Some more info on Reports Past tenseUses verbs that denote that events have already occurred.1st PersonI responded to the callBe objectiveKeep to the factsWhich of these is objective?the man cried2) the man wept3) the man blubbered)
18 Investigative Photography: An Overview This is one of the first investigative tasks.Precedes sketching, note taking, and searching.Do not touch or move any evidence until photo’s have been taken.
19 PurposeTo record the scene permanently. Pictures taken immediately, using proper techniques to reproduce the entire crime scene, provide a factual record of the highest evidentiary value.
20 Advantages Taken immediately Accurately represent the crime scene Highly effective visual aidsCorroborate factsCreate interest and attention to testimony given
21 Disadvantages Not selective Do not show actual distances May be distortedColorDistanceLightingCan be damaged
22 Basic Equipment 35 mm camera Video camera Fingerprint camera Trace evidence camera with 4 bulbsDigital cameraPixels are the dots making up a digital image.One mega pixel is about 1 million dots.
23 Errors to Avoid Take photographs before anything is disturbed. If you move something, do not put it back and take a picture of it.
24 What to Photograph & How Use the overlapping techniqueFirst photograph the general area, then specific areas and finally specific objects of evidence. Take exterior shots first.Sound recordings are admissible if using a video recorder.
25 MarkersA marker is anything used in a picture to show accurate or relative sizeBe aware that using a marker introduces something that is foreign to the crime scene.
26 Identifying EvidenceUse Field notesUse a chain of custody card
27 Admissibility of Photographs A material photograph – relates the specific case and subject being discussed.A relevant photograph – assists or explains testimony. It appears to the matter in question. Determines truth to a matter in question.A competent photograph – accurately represents what it purports to represent.
28 Admissibility of Photographs DistortionUnusual camera heightFor a direct photo without distance distortion, take at a 90 degree angle and about 12 inches above evidence.ColorMay be distortedMay be objected to as inflammatoryTake both color and black and white
29 Types of Investigative Photography Surveillance PhotographyConcealing cameras?Is this hard to do?Trap PhotographyAerial PhotographyNight PhotographyUse floodlights if available
30 Types of Investigative Photography Microphotography – takes pictures through a microscope and can help identify minute particles of evidence such as hairs and fibers.Macrophotography – enlarges a subject such as fingerprints.Laser-beam photography – can reveal evidence indiscernible to the naked eye.
31 Types of Investigative Photography Ultraviolet-light PhotographyUses the low end of the color spectrum, which is invisible to human sight, to make visible impression of bruises and injuries long after their actual occurrence.Mug ShotsGenerally departments have a policy relating to mug shots.
32 Types of Investigative Photography Rogues GalleryThe computer can now make a photo lineup.
33 Crime Scene Sketch: An Overview A sketch is worth a1,000 wordsPhoto:
34 The Rough SketchThe rough sketch is the first pencil drawn outline of a scene and the location of objects and evidence within this outline.Sketch after photographs are taken and before anything is moved.
35 Sketching MaterialsPaper, pencil, long steel measuring tape (longer the better), ruler or straightedge, clipboard, eraser, compass, protractor and thumbtacks.
36 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Observe and PlanMeasure distancesOutline the areaLocate objects and evidence within the outlineRecord detailsMake notesIdentify the sketch with a legend and scaleReassess the sketch
37 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Observe and PlanDecide where to startUse fixed locationsMeasure DistancesTo ScalePlot Objects and EvidenceRectangular – Coordinate MethodBaseline MethodTriangulation MethodCompass-Point Method
38 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Rectangular – Coordinate MethodUses two adjacent walls as fixed points. Measures at right angles.36' 11"4' 2"
39 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Baseline MethodCenter baseline
40 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Triangulation MethodUses straight line measurements from two fixed objects to the evidence.
41 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Cross Projection MethodPresents the walls and floor as they were one surface.