Tool Kit: Fire, CBRNE, and Hazmat

Here's some products to help with FIre, CBRNE, and Hazmat response.

"You Collect It. We Protect It." This is Not the Whole Story

THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES of an evidence/property unit are a critical task of any law enforcement agency, but these crucial functions are highly misunderstood and unappreciated regarding its effect on successfully prosecuting criminal violators (Campbell, 2011; Stresak, 2013). Evidence and property personnel are tasked with the unsung duties of working as the liaison between detectives and attorneys to ensure all evidence for criminal discovery is properly stored, documented, analyzed, present in court, and eventually disposed of in accordance with all legal and ethical guidelines. A combination of decades of ignorant neglect by agency heads, lack of training of staff, and inadequate collection and tracking methods resulted in many dysfunctional evidence rooms—creating an opportunity for the perfect crime from within.

High Dynamic Range in Crime Scene Photography

PHOTOGRAPHY CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED without illumination. Thus, the key variable in any photograph, even more than composition, is the type and amount of lighting used to create the image. A subject in total darkness cannot be photographed by visible light no matter how hard the photographer tries. If the image is being exposed by just the ambient visible light, there must be some illumination, and some contrast, to capture the image. If there is even the slightest illumination and contrast, a shutter speed of sufficient length, an aperture of sufficient circumference, and an ISO speed set to sufficient sensitivity on the camera, then an image of the subject in question may be captured in sufficient detail to discern most or all of the subject elements.

Operation Identification: Life, Death, and Lessons on the South Texas Border

LOST IN THE DEBATE over illegal immigration and border security is a story of human tragedy… and a forensic challenge.


NIST Corner: Scientists Automate Key Step in Forensic Fingerprint Analysis

FOR MOST OF THE LAST CENTURY, fingerprints were considered a nearly infallible method of identification. Recent research has shown, however, that fingerprint examination can produce erroneous results. A 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences, for instance, found that results, “are not necessarily repeatable from examiner to examiner,” and that even experienced examiners might disagree with their own past conclusions when they re-examine the same prints at a later date. Although errors such as these occur infrequently, when they do, they can lead to innocent people being wrongly accused and criminals remaining free to commit more crimes.

Investigating Image Authenticity

I ALWAYS USED TO SHY AWAY from image authentication. It seemed a bit of a “dark art,” requiring some serious knowledge of various Matlab scripts to get successful results. As the only police officer within the forensic image unit of a UK police force, and the most experienced in digital images, the requirement to authenticate an image passed my desk on the odd occasion. Several times though, we were not able to conduct the examination ourselves which often left me frustrated. When I left the service, after the closure of the unit, image authentication was high up on my agenda of subjects to learn.

What You Need to Know About Footwear and Tire Tracks

WHEN A CRIMINAL HIDES EVIDENCE of their crime, they are said to be “covering their tracks”—a direct reference to footwear and tire track evidence.

Editorial: Your Resource: A to Z

EVERY YEAR WE LOOK FORWARD to bringing you the most comprehensive directory of crime scene and forensic products and services, the Evidence Resource Guide. In this issue, you’ll find the 2018 edition features 200 companies that specifically serve this niche of law enforcement, with offerings ranging from Access Control to X-Ray. This year, we added to the listings Facebook and Twitter links for many of these companies, so you can be social and follow them throughout the year.

Book Excerpt: Drug-Facilitated Crimes

DRUGS CAN BE USED as tools for criminal activity such as sexual assault and robbery. In these crimes, victims are sedated or otherwise affected in ways that render them submissive or compliant with the actions of the perpetrators. The surreptitious administration of sublethal amounts of drugs as a form of punishment and the administration of abortifacients to expectant mothers without their knowledge or consent are also drug-facilitated crimes. Other examples are listed in Table 1. Most of the drug-facilitated crimes listed are reviewed in the following sections. Drug-facilitated sexual assault is reviewed separately in the following chapter.




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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)