Investigators may apply the updated, current, simple, and complex forensic techniques to thoroughly and accurately examine the crime scene. Though the specificity of this work has significantly changed, photographing the location, where a criminal act has occurred, using the recent advanced technologies, remains the main tool in the forensic investigation. The immediate collection of hard evidence, namely blood, fibers, fingerprints, and hair as well as the methods of their analysis, have also developed. The competent authorities and individuals concerned pay special attention to the rapid resolution of offenses taking into consideration crime investigation themes raised by the mass media and TV. No doubt, it is impossible to resolve a criminal act immediately. However, the educational level, experience, skills, and training of criminal justice professionals are the best way to safeguard the communities and prevent crimes.
Keywords: crime scene, criminal justice, evidence
Crime Scene Investigation
The initial steps of criminal justice specialists at the crime scene may directly affect the outcome of the investigation. The diligent examination ensures that evidence is thoroughly explored, and witnesses are interrogated. Every investigator meticulously examines a crime scene in order to get real representation of what has happened. Criminologists describe it as a meeting point of legislation, science, and consistency. The paper is dedicated to the tedious process of crime scene investigation, which is an integral part of the work conducted by criminal justice professionals, who document the incidents circumstances and gather the hard evidence that indicates the potential perpetrator and the nature of offense.
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The Importance and Responsibility of Investigators
No one can underestimate the importance of crime scene investigation to the criminal justice field. When a criminal act occurs, it undermines public safety and a life of every person (Stevens, 2011). Peoples beliefs that the competent authorities will quickly respond to the offense occurred, can ease fear in the communities. The crimes nature, identification, and conviction of a perpetrator may directly influence the duration of investigation. Therefore, involvement of well-trained and skillful specialists is essential for the justice system and a perfect way toward prevention of criminal acts (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis, 2013). Criminal justice experts are the qualified specialists, who bear responsibility for gathering the hard evidence directly from a scene. Thorough examination enables them to link offenders to the criminal acts committed. These competent authorities have an experience in law enforcement and possess necessary skills. Moreover, they are proficient in conducting research and analyzing the clues detected. Every crime scene investigator properly identifies, collects, and preserves the physical evidence, while other specialists examine fingerprints, ballistics, blood, or fibers. These specialists constantly enrich their knowledge base and abilities through training. In reality, effective realization of this process can be carried out only if personnel possess advanced skills in that help carefully and accurately investigate a crime scene.
The Main Participants of the Process
In order to recognize the importance of clues revealed and reach the desired outcome, an investigator has to follow a set goal and chosen approach that will direct him/her while working. The main objective is to retain evidence that may provide a specialist with trustworthy information thus promoting the course of investigation. The competent authorities reach the scene since it is the only way to preserve clues and get the real presentation of what has happened. Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration the statement made by the witnesses of the incident and information received from the suspected individuals. It will help to examine the location carefully and objectively. Since every crime scene is unique and specific, there is no certain investigative approach toward its examination (Stevens, 2011).
The policemen are the first to arrive at the place, where a criminal act has been committed. The police officers detain perpetrators and request the medical aid in case if it is needed. They also ensure that unauthorized persons do not penetrate the scene, remove, or damage the hard evidence. Specialized unit examines the location and documents even unimportant details. Public official, including the district attorney, is often invited to help an investigator in obtaining a search warrant to conduct an investigation. If it is a murder, the presence of medical experts is necessary since they identify the preliminary cause of victims or offenders death. Osterburg and Ward (2014) mention that physical evidence may require a thorough analysis that can be conducted only by experts, scientists, and forensic psychologists. The participation of detectives is also important since they consult with investigators and interrogate witnesses to get testimonies.
Meticulous Examination of a Crime Scene
According to Duncan (2014), the main aim of investigation is to expose and gather clues and evidence. The process starts with calling a group of competent authorities, which guarantee the system functions smoothly. The initial task is to make a detour and get a general idea of what has happened. If a person moves or damages the hard evidence, police agents, detectives, and investigators need to capture defects upon arrival. In truth, it is better to keep everything untouched.
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An investigator carefully documents, photographs, and takes video of the crime scene as well as every detail that he/she regards as clue. Only the specialists with gloves can touch all the items found. Then, they have to make sure that the package of evidence is intact on its way toward the crime lab for further examination. Every police officer controls and monitors the main area of investigation (Stevens, 2011). Examination of the location is the long process that requires attention of the competent authorities. They ask strangers to leave the crime scene since it will help to ensure that the examined area is safe, and evidence is preserved. Afterwards, investigators ask the public prosecutors or attorneys to involve in the process since a search warrant may be required. If the judge does not take into consideration the evidence or clues presented, then it can be said that their value is minimal. An investigator always fulfills his/her obligations with a legal document. In this case, it is a search warrant. The right approach chosen by the criminal justice specialists will help them gather the physical evidence without any complications.
Documentation of Evidence Detected at the Crime Scene
Careful documentation of an incident helps to provide a detailed report at the end of the investigation. It will help public prosecutors and other competent authorities to recreate clear picture of what has happened in a proper way. Investigators often use digital camera as the most useful device for capturing the evidence and important finds. The main responsibilities of every investigator are to identify the perpetrator, gather the evidence, and preserve it for the further meticulous analysis and examination in the court. If a criminal justice professional fulfills the tasks step by step, he/she will be able to reconstruct the crime and come to certain conclusions (Li, 2013). The importance stage of gathering evidence takes a long time. The criminal justice professional scrutinizes the scene of the incident searching for clues, important items, and makes notes. If a dead body is detected, the investigators have to start their work from that place. Depending on the conditions and the nature of evidence, various types of data may be collected either at the scene or in the lab.
The Process of Collecting the Physical Evidence
Experts, law enforcement agents, criminal justice professionals, and other competent authorities bear responsibility for safeguarding a crime scene, preserving clues and findings, as well as delivering them for scientific research. The evidence detection directly affects the course of entire investigation and may lead to the immediate and effective resolution of an offense. The implementation of this process depends on the initial steps the specialist takes at the beginning of investigation. In order to document and retain clues in a proper manner, it is vital to apply the recent technology that will help to effectively analyze and accurately interpret the findings recovered. The meaningful and objective approach chosen by the criminal justice professional is a key factor that reflects significance of evidence detected. The goal of physical evidence collection is to reveal and preserve findings that provide the investigation with relevant and reliable data.
Importance of Testimony and Investigators Duties
The crime scene investigation is the only way for experts and specialists to reconstruct the criminal act, preserve the evidence, and make the necessary conclusions. In order to objectively and carefully assess the place of incident, it is important to take into consideration information from the witnesses and statements made by suspected individuals. The competent authority can redirect the course of investigation and pay attention to the evidence that earlier he/she has considered unnecessary. In order to successfully resolve the case with a minimum of efforts, it is crucial to emphasize every single clue and testimony.
Since a crime scene investigator deals with emergency cases, dramatic and tragic events, he/she needs to work long hours using all the skills and experience. The responsibility of criminal justice professionals is huge. The result of investigation directly depends on it. Owing to their job, the experts can apply various updated scientific approaches that will help to promote investigation. The police and civilians can also contribute to the resolution of a criminal act. Their testimony and statements are crucial. Before starting to work in the law enforcement agency, a person, who wants to become a crime scene investigator, has to possess skills and get education and training. Close cooperation with suspects and interviewing witnesses and those present are not related to the duties of these criminal justice professionals. Unlike a detective, an investigator does not persecute or interrogate an individual, who has committed a crime. Every expert in the criminal justice field is responsible for his/her own duties.
After an investigator has finished the report, his/her duties do not end. Moreover, the investigation cannot be considered completed even if the laboratory has examined the important clues and provided conclusion. An integral part of investigation is to inform about the evidence gathered and techniques applied. The crime scene investigation is deservedly described as the tedious process that requires attention, efforts, time, skills, and experience of the competent authorities, who are directly involved in it. Meticulous and careful documentation of a crime scene helps to successfully resolve an offense and convict the perpetrators.