Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders

Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-07-11
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders
Unit 2 Transcript: Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders
Unit 3 Workbook: Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders
Unit 4 Recording: Crime Scene Documentation for First Responders

Effective crime scene documentation is essential for preserving evidence and accurately representing the scene. This webinar walks us through the role first responders play in documenting the scene upon arrival and what they can do to facilitate better scene preservation and evidence collection – things that are critical down the line during investigation and prosecution.

Leading the conversation is Andrew R. Reitanauer, the CEO, lead trainer, and instructional designer of Delta Forensics. He is a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst (CSCSA) through the International Association for Identification, and an adjunct professor instructing courses on Crime Scene Investigation, Fingerprint Analysis, and Criminalistics. He had 18 years of experience within the forensic laboratory system as an active Trainer, Latent Print Examiner, and Crime Scene Responder, among others.

Points Andrew covered in his presentation include:

  • How the success of crime scene investigation is heavily impacted by the actions taken by first responders before investigators arrive.
  • A rundown of the different first responders who are involved in life-saving and securing the scene that can assist with preserving the crime scene.
  • The different situations and factors that necessitate immediate action and may inadvertently result in altering the crime scene before investigators arrive.
  • Scene security guidelines to ensure that the crime scene remains preserved as much as possible and alterations of the conditions remain minimal.
  • The importance of thorough documentation and marking perimeter edges in large-scale accident scenes which may include debris fields and tire/skid marks to provide crucial information.
  • Considerations taken into account surrounding traffic scenes.
    • Preservation of life and ensuring the safety of the first responders on the scene.
    • Documenting any potential evidence that can be gleaned from the contents of vehicles involved such as paraphernalia, speedometer readings, and pedals.
    • How weather can change the crime scene conditions and obliterate evidence quickly and ways to manage these.
  • Elements to look out for in crime scenes involving animals.
    • Dealing with live evidence that can alter the scene and whose conditions can likewise change in time highlighting the importance of immediate and accurate documentation.
    • Ensuring the safety of the responders and the animals that may need prompt medical attention.
    • The moving parts involved in hoarder situations requiring early documentation.
  • How the color of the flame and the smoke require immediate and close attention in fire scenes and the importance of documenting it as it helps determine the fuel source.
  • Documentation pointers when capturing the crime scene through photography, notes, and sketches.
  • Tools and techniques to utilize without having specialized equipment to produce valuable information about the crime scene and its components for investigative purposes.
  • Key documentation pieces to include – the perimeter, what is seen, who is present, environmental observations and conditions, and scene access logs.
  • Factors that must be captured as quickly as possible to prevent alterations or complete loss.
  • How it’s better to over-document than to miss crucial details and how this can help avoid future investigation problems.

Points tackled in the Q&A are about:

  • Proper handling and packing of evidence to prevent degradation and maintain integrity.
  • Techniques to best photograph tire tracks and shoe prints.
  • First responders taking videos of the crime scene.
  • Whether taking part in documenting the crime scene requires one to testify in court,
  • Considerations on marking the perimeter and managing the flow of traffic at accident scenes.



Other Webinars with this Presenter


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