Crime Scene Protocol: “How Not to F-Up a Crime Scene”
Note, we offer this advice to all groups working on the ground in Tucson, so they may improve their ability to properly secure evidence without contaminating it. Please document what you can see with photos/video and careful notes, to what degree you can, consistent with not disturbing evidence.
The following is a list of steps to follow, tailored somewhat, for Search and Rescue operations in Tucson, AZ (Operation Child Shield);
1). If and when a team member comes upon what MIGHT be evidence of criminal or other related activity, they are to FREEZE and not contaminate the area surrounding, NOR TOUCH the possible evidence.
2). Notify team leader or team mate and approach the evidence carefully, watching for other evidence ie; articles, tracks, etc.
3). Once ascertained that the evidence is legit, the immediate area needs to be cordoned off, keeping others away from the site.
4). Further searching should cease to prevent further contamination of the general area.
5). Document the following; team member who discovered the suspicious evidence and phone number, date/time, GPS coordinates, description of the evidence and the names of other team members present. Photograph any evidence. Law enforcement will want a copy.
6). Appropriate law enforcement agencies need to be notified either with a direct contact number or 911 and given the name of the caller, group affiliation, location (GPS Coordinates and/or street address), description of suspected evidence, etc.
7). Maintain area security and wait for law enforcement.
8). Once Law enforcement arrives, get the agency’s and officers’ name(s) and badge # (s), time of arrival and turn the area over to them.
9). Remain until lead officer advises to leave the scene (for additional questioning and to log in other units/officers arriving).
10). Once out of the area and relieved by LE, do a debrief of what, how and why everybody did what they did (training/education) and preparation for possible court hearing/trial and additional LE questioning.
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