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Officers who arrive at a crime scene must be cautious and methodical. They should strive to preserve the scene with minimal contamination and should not disturb physical evidence. Be aware of any persons or vehicles in or leaving the crime scene. Approach the scene cautiously, scan the entire area, and note any possible secondary crime scenes. Treat the location as a crime scene until it has been assessed and determined to be otherwise.
Officers must identify any dangerous situations or people to keep themselves and other individuals safe. Approach the scene in a manner that maximizes the safety of victims, witnesses, officers and others in the area. Survey the scene for dangerous persons and control the situation. Officers should ensure that medical attention is provided to injured people, and minimize contamination of the scene. Guide medical personnel to the victim to minimize contamination or alteration of the crime scene. Document movement of persons or items by medical personnel. Instruct medical personnel not to clean up the scene and to avoid moving or altering items originating from the scene.
Obtain the name, unit and telephone number of attending medical personnel, and the name and location of the medical facility where the victim is to be taken. If there is a chance the victim may die, attempt to obtain a dying declaration or a statement about the circumstances surrounding his or her impending death. If the victim or suspect is transported to a medical facility, send a law enforcement official with the victim or suspect to document any comments made and preserve evidence. Secure and control people at the crime scene. Officers should control, identify and remove people from the crime scene. Control all individuals at the scene — prevent individuals from altering or destroying physical evidence by restricting movement, location, and activity while ensuring and maintaining safety at the scene.
Determine whether they were witnesses, if so treat as above, if not, remove from the scene. Identify, establish, protect and secure boundaries. Officers can protect and secure a crime scene by defining and controlling its boundaries. Boundaries should be expanded beyond the initial scope of the crime scene with the understanding that the boundaries can be reduced in size if necessary.
Potential points and paths of exit and entry of suspects and witnesses. Be aware of trace and impression evidence while assessing the scene. Control the flow of personnel and animals entering and leaving the scene. Document the original location of the victim or objects that you observe being moved. Adjust the thermostat or open windows or doors. Note and document any items moved.
Turn over responsibility for the documentation of entries and exits from the scene. Remain at the scene until he or she is relieved of duty. Officers should create a permanent record of all activities conducted and observations made as soon as possible after the event. Observations of the crime scene, including the location of persons and items within the crime scene and the appearance and condition of the scene upon arrival. Personal information from witnesses, victims or suspects. Actions by the officer and others present. Tags: csi, document, initial officer, physical evidence.