Academic level – Undergraduate 3-4
Type of paper – Analysis
Topic Title – Forensic Science
Describe the five things a first responder should document when arriving at a crime scene. Conclude by defining the chain of custody and discussing its importance.
A first responder is vital in documenting critical information at a crime scene to maintain the integrity of the investigative process. They should note the following five key aspects:
- Observations and Initial Assessment: Upon arrival, the first responder should document their first observations. The incident scene, the immediate location, and the local environment are all being monitored (Kösem & Yalçın Sarıbey, 2022). Documenting the initial assessment lays the groundwork for comprehending the context of the crime scene.
- Location and Positioning of Evidence: Accurate documentation of the location and arrangement of evidence, which entails documenting where items are discovered, their proximity to one another, and their relationship to nearby landmarks, is critical. Such data assists investigators in recreating the sequence of events and correlating witness accounts.
- Photographic Evidence: Visual documentation in the form of photographs is crucial in maintaining the state of the setting. The descriptions in the notebook must correspond to the photo of the evidence collected at the site and the description in the crime scene report (Clarke & Clark, n.d.). First responders should take detailed photos from various angles, capturing both wide pictures and close-ups of evidence.
- Notes on Witnesses and Involved Parties: Collecting information on witnesses present at the incident is critical, including their contact information and any observations they offer. First responders should photograph prospective suspects, victims, and anybody with pertinent details. These specifics develop a full grasp of the problem and permit additional interviews or follow-up investigations.
- Environmental Conditions: Documenting environmental characteristics such as weather, lighting, and temperature can help understand findings. Based on the witnesses’ information, the crime scene team will develop an evidence-collection plan considering the weather, time of day, and other circumstances (Clarke & Clark, n.d.). These factors, for example, can affect the degradation rate of biological evidence or the visibility of certain features.
The chain of custody tracks evidence from the crime scene to the courtroom, ensuring its traceability and validity. A paper trail is kept so that the people in charge of the evidence at any one moment may be identified swiftly and called to testify during the trial if necessary (Badiyem, 2023). Handlers’ comprehensive documentation, including identity, date, time, and objective, provides an unbroken trail.
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Badiye A., Kapoor N., & Menezes R.G. (2023, January). Chain of custody. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551677/
Clarke, A., & Clark, K. (n.d.). Crime scene investigation. Crime Scene Investigation: How It’s Done. https://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/csi/how.html#:~:text=Conduct%20a%20primary%20survey%2Fwalkthrough,the%20scene%20and%20the%20evidence.
Kösem M. M. & Yalçın Sarıbey A. (2022). Duties and responsibilities of first responders. Güvenlik Bilimleri Dergisi, 11(2), 367-388. https://doi.org/10.28956/gbd.1071495