The purpose of this research paper is to show the role, function, nature and responsibility of the criminal investigator. The Methods Used and the Interpretation of the Collection of Physical Evidence and Understanding of the Sources of Information will be explained within this paper. The Role, Function, Nature and Responsibility of the Criminal Investigator The criminal investigator has specific roles and function within their organization. The duty of a crime scene investigator is to try to assemble and bring together multiple events, information, and interpretations of a crime scene to make it one big picture. Based on physical evidence, testimonies of eyes witnesses, suspects, and the victim he will create scenery to figure out what has happened. He or she is creating a hypothesis in what happen before the crime scene occurred and after. All evidence found in all cases by the investigator has full understanding and knowledge of it in order to be an effective investigator (Physical Evidence).
The mentality of an investigator has to have interest, observative, and have the ability to write down everything that is going on. While on a crime scene he or she will notice what is wrong in the crime scene. For instance, the investigator notices that everything in a home is taken out and thrown on the floor in which the investigator can tell the crime scene is a burglary. In the investigative world, not only each individual investigator learns from each case they take up but from each other. While learning from each other they have to be opened minded and have doubt in order not to interfere with the facts of the case. The job of a criminal investigator has high levels of critical thinking (Police). The Methods Used and the Interpretation of the Collection of Physical Evidence When the investigator is called onto a crime scene they have a lot of work to gather and process. The first initiative officer will turn the crime scene over to them.
The investigator might be also in charge of giving out press information based on the crime scene. The first thing that they might observe is the possible of the scene being contaminated by the officers who arrived their initially. The crime scene must be organized, and controlled using the proper methods so that the suspect of the crime scene may be successfully captured (Police).. The investigator will meet with the lead detective and the first responding officer on scene. He or she will interview them the two people on information pertaining to the scene. The investigator will get an understanding on what happened, when it happened, and how the crime occurred. The information received, the investigator will combine his information with theirs and make a logical determination of what happen in the crime scene. The gathered information as if you were a judge to see if the facts and evidence will meet will support the conclusion of the scene (Police).
The process of the crime scene investigation is when they receive a call to go to a crime scene. When you arrive at the scene, you will make a list of what is required for this particular crime. Every crime scene is different. As crime scene investigator, you will need to have enough police officers protecting the crime scene and yourself. The officer will have to make sure that no one who is not authorizes to enter the premises stays out. The responding officer or a designated person would be the recorder keeper of authorize personal who enter the crime scene. They would have to write down their name, ID number, date, time, and what department (Police). The crime scene investigator will start to take photographs from the outside. The will take pictures of the entire area. All angles will be necessary from across, behind, on top, and bottom of the crime scene. Pictures will be taken of the street names, numbers, the street itself, vehicles, and street light posts.
The more pictures taken; the more evidence you have. Every picture taken should be accounted. A log will be helpful of keeping account of the pictures, what camera, lens and film being used. If video camera is used that is also should be logged into the log sheet. In addition, you may want to write down who had access to photos or video other than the crime scene investigator (Physical Evidence). Now, the crime scene investigator will take note on any damages or any property taken on the outside. All evidence will be taken into photography. Photography will be taken from all angles, close-up and from a distance. Any mark numbers and letters must be place in the one area and be able to fit in one photograph. Next, Diagrams will be made of the crime scene and where the evidence was found. Triangular, rectangular, and baseline diagrams will be made to show a rough measurement of where everything happened.
The investigator is always to remember to record location, measurements, and the person who collected the information. The investigator will now move inside the premises of the crime area. The investigator has to make sure he has proper approval and if necessary a search warrant. When entering the premises, you may want to wear protective gear so that you will not contaminate the evidence. Protective gear may include gloves, head and shoe covers, jumpsuit, and a mask. When looking for evidence inside the area, avoid the place where you think the suspect has moved around. The investigator will have less cross contamination on the evidence. Area where the investigator will walk will be around the edges not of the middle of the scenery. They will take notice on the entry point and exit point of the suspect.
They will make sure other detectives or investigators in the crime scene to walk in certain paths to not contaminate the crime scene (Police). The crime scene investigator will logically take photographs as he did outside into the interior of the crime scene. They will work either in the same direction or opposite direction in working the crime scene. The crime scene investigator will do the same procedures in all crime scenes. When taking photographs, the investigator will take photographs in a three dimensional way. Photographs will be taken of the floors, walls, and ceilings. Everything must be visible for evidence by taking photos of the four walls. One angle might not be enough to show the evidence needed. Multiple angles must be taken.
With all the photos taken, the investigator will make a diagram of the crime scene. It is good to point out the major details of the crime scene such as furniture, entry and exit points, and the victim. Another way of recording evidence is through video camera. Taking video must be only of important video of the crime scene. It may be easier to take video in fifteen second intervals. The investigator will also take video from all angle of the crime scene. After they are done collecting evidence, they will go make another walk through to make sure no missing evidence pertaining to the crime scene. Collaboration with other crime scene investigators and detectives will be done to insure all evidence has been collected.
Understanding of the Sources of Information
In the line of an investigator, getting enough information is critical. Information can be from physical evidence, the crime scene, interviewing, and interrogations. Interview and interrogations are very different. Interviews are just to gather information of the crime. An interrogation is getting information based on the suspect being involved. An investigator need to know the difference so that the person being interviewed or interrogated will know if they in custody or being asked a few questions. Two key ways of getting information will be witnesses, and interviews (Berg).
WitnessesA witness will help out a lot while investigating. When interviewing, there are ten basic steps. The steps are plan ahead, arrange for privacy, identify yourself properly, assemble case facts in advance, have an intentional direction, be timely, avoid interruptions, be a good listener, adjust language level, pace, and demeanor as necessary, and maintain rapport throughout the interview.
There are many types of witness which may include willing witnesses, eyewitnesses, reluctant witnesses, silent or disinterested witnesses, unreliable witnesses, frightened witnesses, biased witness, hostile witnesses, timid witnesses and deceitful witnesses. An investigator may also deal with people of many different ages. The investigator will have to identify these witnesses, and if they are children, young adults, or mature adults. They will have different methods on the way they try to receive information and if the information is valid (Berg).
At first, a rapport will be made by the investigator. A rapport is a relationship between the officer and the one being interview knowing theirs empathy. An interview may not exactly occur right after the crime due to the anxiety from the situation. Time is needed before interviewing. It has to be a respectful interview and listening very closely. There two ways to interview a person; cognitive and behavioral analysis. Cognitive interview is reconstructing the circumstances, reporting all information, recalling events in different orders, and changing perspectives. Behavioral analysis is just identifying the person body language to the truth (Berg).
In conclusion, criminal investigation is a long process of collecting information. They have the most important job. The process of collecting information is extensive. It is critical for them to collect all evidence so that the suspect may be apprehended and justice shall be served when in the court system. Information may be either through physical evidence, interviews, or witnesses (Berg).
Berg, Bruce L., John J. Horgan, and John J. Horgan. Criminal Investigation. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1998. Print. “Physical Evidence.” Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/physical-evidence-reference/physical-evidence>. “Police: Criminal Investigations – Sources Of Information And Evidence In Criminal Investigations.” – Physical, Crime, Polygraph, and Witnesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://law.jrank.org/pages/1656/Police-Criminal-Investigations-Sources-information-evidence-in-criminal-investigations.html>.