Leading an Investigation

When a crime happens there are many obstacles and responsibilities that fall into the hands of an Investigator, everything from locating and identifying witnesses, protecting the integrity of the crime scene, insuring that the chain of evidence is not compromised, to being articulate and professional when testifying in court. This is not made easy when often the Investigator is not the first on the scene.

In most cases the first on the scene is the Patrol Officer. He is the one who will discover if a crime has actually been committed. He will then have to be responsible for the crime scene and the evidence found until the Investigator(s) arrive. The Investigator must make sure that the Patrol Officer makes a clear and concise report, and gets all pertinent information from the Officer, as well as a detailed list of ALL the individuals who may have been into the crime scene area. If the crime scene occurs in a crowded location this becomes quite the challenge.

To protect the scene once the Officer arrives he should cordon off the crime scene if not all ready done by the initial responders. If it is already been cordoned off he must determine if there is a need to extend the scene. Once that is done the Investigator should assign an Officer or fellow Investigator to stand vigil at the entrance to the scene and collect the names and information of anyone who wishes to enter the area. This can be unpleasant when Administrators arrive and want to bull their way onto the scene. Often when told that anyone who enters the scene will be a possible witness in the trial they will back off as most people do not want to testify in a court of law unless absolutely required. This will also protect the integrity of the scene and keep the chain of evidence intact.

The Investigator will then examine the scene, collect evidence, and identify possible witnesses and suspects.  He may conduct field interviews at the scene or elsewhere to collect the information and to identify suspects. Once that has occurred he will conduct interviews at the station, and if a suspect is located will conduct in depth interrogations to help solidify their case.

If a suspect is determined the Investigator is responsible for relaying the information in a clear and concise manner so that a search or arrest warrant can be obtained. Any lack of accurate information can result in the failure to obtain the warrant or it being thrown out in court. Once the Warrant is obtained the Investigator is in charge of serving the warrants and collecting further information, again taking steps to insure the validity of the evidence chain. Once there is an arrest warrant he must pass on the information to the Tactical Team or Officers performing the arrest, or in many cases make the arrest himself.

Then all that’s left is combining any and all reports, evidence in a clear order so that the court system can perform its duties. It is important to note that an Investigator is not responsible for how the evidence is perceived, but that it is laid out accurately so that the court system can then determine the guilt or innocence of those believed to have committed the crime.

So, the Investigators job is simple. All he has to do is not have someone infect his crime scene, appease his superiors, find the clues as to the who, what and where of it all. Then find suspects and witnesses and try to weed out the truth from the lies, then make the arrests warranted in the case, and then write a report that make be the size of a Novel, combine it with any other reports pertinent to the case, and then, if everything is in order, turn it over to the prosecutor. Then, usually several months or years later recall everything he did and testify to that in front of a court room full of people of whom a part of them will do their best to impugn his honesty and integrity. SIMPLE!

BE STRONG! BE SAFE!

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