importance of properly collected physical evidence by trained Crime Scene
Officers can not be overestimated. The O.J. Simpson case illustrated this fact
and emphasized the scrutiny to which a crime scene team is subjected in a
courtroom. Our technicians continually receive training by experts from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State in fingerprint development and
identification, evidence collection and preservation, photography and crime
scene processing of evidence.
the County's principal crime scene response unit, the scope of their job is
quite vast. Investigators respond to among other things, Serious Incidents such
as Burglaries, Grand Larcenies, Robberies, Assaults, Rapes, Serious Motor
Vehicle Accidents, Fatal Accidents, Homicides and to scenes where photographing
and evidence collection is not practical for the responding Deputy to do.
Technicians accompany the coroner to "posts" and autopsies to
photograph injuries and collect evidence from the body of the deceased.
two aspects of evidence maintenance: legal and physical. All the
evidence secured by our investigators is "logged" to show an unbroken
"chain of custody". This documentation of possession maintains the
integrity and evidentiary value of the item. Currently, this department
is holding over l,500 evidence items. The physical aspect of evidence
preservation includes proper labeling, packaging and storage. When a
case is concluded and the time period for appeal has expired, the
evidence is released or destroyed. One of the most important
responsibilities of evidence custody is the proper destruction of
narcotics and weapons. After obtaining court orders and following legal
guidelines, this department has destroyed numerous firearms and
incinerated a significant quantity of drugs.
Crime Scene division maintains a full service, confidential laboratory capable
of developing color and black & white film and paper. Confidentiality is
indispensable to maintain the integrity of police and their cases. Agencies
relying on private sector mini labs have experienced disastrous results. Not
only is the chain of possession broken when film is dropped off at a private
mini lab, but there is a high risk that sensitive crime scene photographs will
be leaked to the public.
Police agencies throughout the area rely on the prompt and confidential service
of the Crime Scene Division's Photographic laboratory.
addition to processing crime scenes, The division also installs surveillance
camera's and other specialized equipment for the aid of apprehending suspects.
Video cameras, portable alarm systems and the other equipment used has solved
cameras used require an opening of only 1/8" diameter to observe and obtain
evidence to catch would-be thieves thereby allowing their placement to be
undetectable and placed virtually anywhere.
is literally impossible to be somewhere and not leave some evidence that you
were there behind. The evidence collected at a scene is the silent, but potent
witness to a crime. A crime scene begins when a criminal converts "intent
into action". The investigation starts there. It follows the criminal's
escape route to any location where physical or traces of evidence are available.
systematic collection, preservation and processing of the scene and evidence are
crucial to arriving at the "truth of the crime". The value of physical
evidence is determined by it's use in verifying that a particular crime has been
committed, identifying the person or persons involved, and exonerating all other
persons who may have been under suspicion.