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Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching.

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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 Documentation is vital throughout an investigation Written and photographic documentation records the condition of the scene as first observed, providing a permanent record. 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. Paperwork can constitute up to 70% of an investigator’s job.

3 Field Notes Investigative 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. Investigative 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. Detailed notes can make or break a conviction.

4 When to Take Notes Start to take notes as soon as possible after receiving a call to respond and continue recording information as it is received throughout the investigation. Start 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. Most people will give information freely. But what about the reluctant witnesses? But what about the reluctant witnesses?

5 What to Record Record all facts, regardless of where they may lead. Information establishing a suspect’s innocence is as important as that establishing guilt. Record all facts, regardless of where they may lead. Information establishing a suspect’s innocence is as important as that establishing guilt. Answer these questions: Answer these questions: Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why? Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why?

6 What to Record Describe the physical scene including general weather conditions. Describe the physical scene including general weather conditions. Do not jot down information unrelated to the investigation. Do not jot down information unrelated to the investigation.

7 Where to Record Notes Use a notebook Use a notebook Don’t use your hands! Don’t use your hands! The notebook remains the simplest, most economical and most basic of investigative tools. The notebook remains the simplest, most economical and most basic of investigative tools. Advantages? Advantages? Small Small Easy to carry Easy to carry Disadvantages? Disadvantages? Small Small Not as organized Not as organized

8 How to Take Notes Write brief, legible, abbreviated notes that others can understand. Write brief, legible, abbreviated notes that others can understand. Omit unnecessary words such as “a, and, the” -- don’t need them. Be precise Omit unnecessary words such as “a, and, the” -- don’t need them. Be precise Use abbreviations Use abbreviations If you make an error, cross it out so not erase? If you make an error, cross it out so not erase? Why is this? Why is this? You can also use a tape recorder You can also use a tape recorder Also has advantages and disadvantages Also has advantages and disadvantages

9 Characteristics of Effective Notes Effective notes are complete, accurate, specific, factual, clear, well organized and legible. Effective notes are complete, accurate, specific, factual, clear, well organized and legible. Be as specific as possible: Be as specific as possible: Instead of saying tall Instead of saying tall State about 6 foot 1 or 2. State about 6 foot 1 or 2. The basic purpose of notes is to records facts. The basic purpose of notes is to records facts. I always referred to the official report. I always referred to the official report.

10 Characteristics of Effective Notes Legibility refers to the distinctness of your letters and numbers. Legibility refers to the distinctness of your letters and numbers. Clarity refers to the distinctness of your statements. Clarity refers to the distinctness of your statements. Avoid wordiness Avoid wordiness Length alone doesn’t make for quality Length alone doesn’t make for quality Believe me I know~ Believe me I know~ Use spell checkers Use spell checkers Watch for words that are misspelled that are not misspelled. Watch for words that are misspelled that are not misspelled. “there and their” “there and their”

11 Filing Notes If notes are retained, file them in a secure location readily accessible to the investigator. If 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. 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. Officers may also refer to their notes in court to refresh their memory. Defense counsel will get a copy of those notes though. 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. 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 standardized format Use chronological order Use chronological order The narrative The narrative The opening paragraph states the time, date, type of incident and how you came involved. The 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. Next, what you were told by the victim witnesses. Use separate paragraph for each witness. Record what you did. 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. 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. Paragraphs should be short about 100 words. You should start a new paragraph when: You should start a new paragraph when: Change speakers Change speakers Change location Change location Change time Change time Change idea Change idea

17 Some more info on Reports Past tense Past tense Uses verbs that denote that events have already occurred. Uses verbs that denote that events have already occurred. 1 st Person 1 st Person I responded to the call I responded to the call Be objective Be objective Keep to the facts Keep to the facts Which of these is objective? Which of these is objective? 1) the man cried 2) 2) the man wept 3) 3) the man blubbered)

18 Investigative Photography: An Overview This is one of the first investigative tasks. This is one of the first investigative tasks. Precedes sketching, note taking, and searching. Precedes sketching, note taking, and searching. Do not touch or move any evidence until photo’s have been taken. Do not touch or move any evidence until photo’s have been taken.

19 Purpose To 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. To 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 Taken immediately Accurately represent the crime scene Accurately represent the crime scene Highly effective visual aids Highly effective visual aids Corroborate facts Corroborate facts Create interest and attention to testimony given Create interest and attention to testimony given

21 Disadvantages Not selective Not selective Do not show actual distances Do not show actual distances May be distorted May be distorted Color Color Distance Distance Lighting Lighting Can be damaged Can be damaged

22 Basic Equipment 35 mm camera 35 mm camera Video camera Video camera Fingerprint camera Fingerprint camera Trace evidence camera with 4 bulbs Trace evidence camera with 4 bulbs Digital camera Digital camera Pixels are the dots making up a digital image. Pixels are the dots making up a digital image. One mega pixel is about 1 million dots. One mega pixel is about 1 million dots.

23 Errors to Avoid Take photographs before anything is disturbed. Take photographs before anything is disturbed. If you move something, do not put it back and take a picture of it. If you move something, do not put it back and take a picture of it.

24 What to Photograph & How Use the overlapping technique Use the overlapping technique First photograph the general area, then specific areas and finally specific objects of evidence. Take exterior shots first. First 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. Sound recordings are admissible if using a video recorder.

25 Markers A marker is anything used in a picture to show accurate or relative size A marker is anything used in a picture to show accurate or relative size Be aware that using a marker introduces something that is foreign to the crime scene. Be aware that using a marker introduces something that is foreign to the crime scene.

26 Identifying Evidence Use Field notes Use Field notes Use a chain of custody card Use a chain of custody card

27 Admissibility of Photographs A material photograph – relates the specific case and subject being discussed. 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 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. A competent photograph – accurately represents what it purports to represent.

28 Admissibility of Photographs Distortion Distortion Unusual camera height Unusual camera height For a direct photo without distance distortion, take at a 90 degree angle and about 12 inches above evidence. For a direct photo without distance distortion, take at a 90 degree angle and about 12 inches above evidence. Color Color May be distorted May be distorted May be objected to as inflammatory May be objected to as inflammatory Take both color and black and white Take both color and black and white

29 Types of Investigative Photography Surveillance Photography Surveillance Photography Concealing cameras? Concealing cameras? Is this hard to do? Is this hard to do? Trap Photography Trap Photography Aerial Photography Aerial Photography Night Photography Night Photography Use floodlights if available Use 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. 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. Macrophotography – enlarges a subject such as fingerprints. Laser-beam photography – can reveal evidence indiscernible to the naked eye. Laser-beam photography – can reveal evidence indiscernible to the naked eye.

31 Types of Investigative Photography Ultraviolet-light Photography Ultraviolet-light Photography Uses 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. Uses 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 Shots Mug Shots Generally departments have a policy relating to mug shots. Generally departments have a policy relating to mug shots.

32 Types of Investigative Photography Rogues Gallery Rogues Gallery The computer can now make a photo lineup. The computer can now make a photo lineup.

33 Crime Scene Sketch: An Overview A sketch is worth a1,000 words A sketch is worth a1,000 words Photo:

34 The Rough Sketch The rough sketch is the first pencil drawn outline of a scene and the location of objects and evidence within this outline. The 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. Sketch after photographs are taken and before anything is moved.

35 Sketching Materials Paper, pencil, long steel measuring tape (longer the better), ruler or straightedge, clipboard, eraser, compass, protractor and thumbtacks. Paper, 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 Plan Observe and Plan Measure distances Measure distances Outline the area Outline the area Locate objects and evidence within the outline Locate objects and evidence within the outline Record details Record details Make notes Make notes Identify the sketch with a legend and scale Identify the sketch with a legend and scale Reassess the sketch Reassess the sketch

37 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Observe and Plan Observe and Plan Decide where to start Decide where to start Use fixed locations Use fixed locations Measure Distances Measure Distances To Scale To Scale Plot Objects and Evidence Plot Objects and Evidence Rectangular – Coordinate Method Rectangular – Coordinate Method Baseline Method Baseline Method Triangulation Method Triangulation Method Compass-Point Method Compass-Point Method

38 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Rectangular – Coordinate Method Rectangular – Coordinate Method Uses two adjacent walls as fixed points. Measures at right angles. Uses two adjacent walls as fixed points. Measures at right angles.

39 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Baseline Method Baseline Method

40 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Triangulation Method Triangulation Method Uses straight line measurements from two fixed objects to the evidence. Uses straight line measurements from two fixed objects to the evidence.

41 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene Cross Projection Method Cross Projection Method Presents the walls and floor as they were one surface. Presents the walls and floor as they were one surface.

42 Compass Point Method

43 File the Sketch Place sketch in secure location. Place sketch in secure location.

44 The Finished Scale Drawing The finished scale drawing is done in ink and on a good grade of paper. The finished scale drawing is done in ink and on a good grade of paper. You will not be drawing a sketch to scale at the crime scene. You will not be drawing a sketch to scale at the crime scene.

45 Computer Assisted Drawing Many companies have developed computer hardware to assist in drawing a crime scene. Many companies have developed computer hardware to assist in drawing a crime scene.

46 Admissibility of Sketches and Drawings in Court An admissible sketch is one drawn or personally witnessed by an investigator that accurately portrays the crime scene. An admissible sketch is one drawn or personally witnessed by an investigator that accurately portrays the crime scene.


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