Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching

Similar presentations

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 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. 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. Most people will give information freely. 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. Answer these questions: Who? What? Where? When? How? And Why?

6 What to Record Describe 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? Small Easy to carry Disadvantages? Not as organized

8 How to Take Notes Write brief, legible, abbreviated notes that others can understand. Omit unnecessary words such as “a, and, the” -- don’t need them. Be precise Use abbreviations If you make an error, cross it out so not erase? Why is this? You can also use a tape recorder Also 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 tall State 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 wordiness Length alone doesn’t make for quality Believe me I know~ Use spell checkers Watch for words that are misspelled that are not misspelled. “there and their”

11 Filing Notes 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. 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 narrative 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. 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 speakers Change location Change time Change idea

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

20 Advantages Taken immediately Accurately represent the crime scene
Highly effective visual aids Corroborate facts Create interest and attention to testimony given

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

22 Basic Equipment 35 mm camera Video camera Fingerprint camera
Trace evidence camera with 4 bulbs Digital camera Pixels 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 technique 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.

25 Markers 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.

26 Identifying Evidence Use Field notes Use 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
Distortion Unusual camera height For a direct photo without distance distortion, take at a 90 degree angle and about 12 inches above evidence. Color May be distorted May be objected to as inflammatory Take both color and black and white

29 Types of Investigative Photography
Surveillance Photography Concealing cameras? Is this hard to do? Trap Photography Aerial Photography Night Photography 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. 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 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. Mug Shots Generally departments have a policy relating to mug shots.

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

33 Crime Scene Sketch: An Overview
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. 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.

36 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene
Observe and Plan Measure distances Outline the area Locate objects and evidence within the outline Record details Make notes Identify the sketch with a legend and scale Reassess the sketch

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

38 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene
Rectangular – Coordinate Method Uses two adjacent walls as fixed points. Measures at right angles. 36' 11" 4' 2"

39 Steps in Sketching the Crime Scene
Baseline Method Center baseline

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

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

42 Compass Point Method 47dg 59 dg

43 File the Sketch 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. 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.

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. That's all folks~

Download ppt "Documenting the Scene: Note Taking, Photographing and Sketching"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google