Online Custom «Crime Scene Concerns for the DRNC» Essay Sample
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The DRNC is a complex case, which involves numerous law enforcement agencies. In a mass crime scene involving explosives, some of the most critical steps during investigation include procuring the necessary equipment, evaluating the scene, ensuring scene safety, documenting the scene, processing all the identified evidence on the scene, and completing the scene prior to releasing it to the relevant authorities. In the DRNC event, there are multiple crime scenes that will involve different law enforcement agencies if the criminals are to be caught and charged for their crimes. In this case, one of the most important considerations is that the officers are dealing with a mass crime scene with witnesses mostly scattered across the affected geographical area. It means that a vast range of requirements should be met by those working on the scenes. In criminal investigation, the DRNC is a delicate operation; therefore, in addition to the necessary equipment that has to be procured, there is also a need to consider hazardous materials that may be encountered on the mass crime scenes.
Equipment and Materials
Prior to arriving at the crime scene, Major Susan Baker would have to ensure that her teams have the required equipment for crime scene investigation in the context of a mass crime scene linked to a bombing incident. Considering that the crime scenes in this case are locations where the bombs went off, it is important to note that the required equipment can be divided into five categories. The first category is equipment that is generally used on a crime scene. It includes the barrier tapes, flashlights, generators, tarps and tents, batteries, flares, thermometers, forceps, knives and basically any other possible equipment that can be categorized under basic utility in relation to a crime scene (Hess, Orthmann, & Cho, 2014). The basic need for the teams on the crime scene in relation to operational equipment is often undervalued and yet it greatly affects the ability of the team to conduct their investigations effectively and promptly.
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The second category then features equipment and materials that are considered important for the safety of the teams on the crime scene. These include helmets and hard hats, strong footwear, particle masks or other breathing equipment, gloves, safety glasses, food, water, shelter and hygiene items and facilities, reflective tape, kneepads and first aid kits as well as bags, tags and labels for any biohazard materials that may be encountered on the scene. These materials are mainly used to protect the team members while they conduct the investigation on the scenes (Gruijter, Poot, & Elffers, 2016). In the third category of materials and equipment that are needed on mass crime scenes, such as the ones in the DRNC event, there is a need to consider the process of collecting evidence.
The main role of the investigation at the crime scene is to collect information that will enable the team to understand what happened at the scene, explain it and find the perpetrators in question. For this to be achieved successfully there is a need for the team to be fully equipped for evidence collection. The necessary equipment in this category thus includes the sealable nylon bags, the evidence flags, evidence tags and placards, evidence sealing tape, heat sealers, grid markers, rakes, spades, trowels, vacuums, shovels, screens, swabbing kits, brooms and brushes, cans and magnets among other things. In addition, the investigators will need equipment for documenting the crime scene (Rhineberger-Dunn, Briggs, & Rader, 2016). These will include computers and a CAD (computer aided design) program, drawing equipment, logs, measuring equipment, photographic equipment, recording equipment, compass, forms showing that they have the consent to search the crime scene, among other things.
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In this case, it will be important for the leadership to understand that scene documentation is often the most critical phase in the investigation because the information that is collected in this part of the investigation process is not only useful in identifying what happened but may also be used in court as evidence. The availability and accuracy of the availed equipment cannot be overemphasized (Ribaux, Baylon, Lock, Delémont, Roux, Zingg, & Margot, 2010). There is also a need for specialized equipment especially in a bomb scene where a lot of damage is likely to have occurred and there is a need for more than the conventional crime scene investigation routines.
Chemical test kits and vapor detectors will be very important to ascertain the state of the environment at the crime scene. Other important equipment will include aerial photographic equipment, ladders, trace explosives detectors, recovery equipment and even construction equipment in cases of extreme damage where the investigators may require some heavy lifting and extrication around the crime scene. Once there is a clear understanding of all the equipment that will be needed in the crime scenes, there is a need to procure them promptly without forgetting the fact that there are multiple crime scenes and thus a lot of equipment would be needed. With the exception of the aerial photography, equipment, which can be used for many crime scenes, it would be rather costly and impractical to share most of other equipment amongst the crime scenes considering the transportation cost and time.
A mass crime scene that involves explosives is a considerable safety hazard until it has been cleared by the relevant forensic teams. In order to ensure that the dangers are not fatal for the investigators and any civilians who may visit the scene for whatever reasons, a number of preliminary tests have to be conducted before the rest of the investigation on the scene begins. One of the main roles of the Major in charge of the joint investigations in the DNRC case is to ensure that all the officers in the investigation teams are safe. In this case, the supportive requirements include finding and wearing protective gear while on the crime scene until authorized otherwise after the preliminary chemical tests (Stoney & Stoney, 2015). After the explosion, crime scenes could be heavily contaminated with poisonous or hazardous gases depending on the explosives used and the environment within which the chemical reactions may have taken place.
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Therefore, when the team arrives at the crime scene, they are at risk for residual explosives and any other hazardous gases and particles that could be present in the area. The right course of action would be to allow the chemical team to swipe the area first and determine the kind of risks present. In some cases, an aerial swipe may be necessary especially if the scope of the crime scene is large and there are suspicions of a dangerous component being used in the explosion. Safety hazards in this case may even be nuclear in nature, thus the need for significant caution in order to avoid exposing the forensics team arises (Ribaux et el., 2010). Among other things, it will be expected that the leadership will emphasize on the safety of the crime scene before the team settles in. It means a thorough check protocol that is meant to test and clear the area and to ensure that the crime scene will not explode again. In addition, in the event that the affected buildings have been damaged but they still stand, there may be a need to bring them down in order to prevent them from collapsing on the crime scene investigators during their work. Evaluating these buildings for structural reliability is thus part of the preparation phase where there is a critical need to keep the investigators safe when they start working.
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As part of the safety measures, the first responders at the crime scene will require additional support from bomb technicians, chemical analysts and building inspectors among other personnel who will be able to provide the required expertise at the preliminary stage of the investigation. In most cases, the extra personnel required may be difficult to find at the early stages and it is the role of the teams’ leadership to ensure that they are found. The bomb technicians are particularly important in cases where there is a high risk for secondary explosives in the crime scene (Finger, Unz, & Schwab, 2010). Hazard areas also have to be marked and safety zones created in the crime scene. It means that there is a need to make the crime scene safe for the investigators and any potential witnesses or even observers depending on the prevailing contexts in the crime scene. The hazard areas are primarily areas that must be avoided for one reason or another. These reasons could include a risk for structural collapse, gaseous contamination, secondary explosives and blood-borne pathogens among other things. The need to keep the working areas clean and safe for the investigators in this case may also involve identifying and protecting areas that may contain credible physical evidence. Similarly, safety is paramount, thus members of the forensics teams undergo safety training to protect themselves from the potential hazards in the crime scenes. However, it would be helpful to create operational protocols for these crime scenes to avoid risks that may ruin the entire investigation if the collected evidence is contaminated or questionable for one reason or another.
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A mass crime scene is considerably different from the conventional crime scenes. The fact that the crime involves explosives makes the situation unique. The first special consideration in this case would be the swiftness with which the investigation has to be conducted in order to prevent similar incidents in future. Most of the evidence would have to be fully examined on site and the conclusions drawn immediately to help with the identification and apprehension of the perpetrators (Gruijter, Poot, & Elffers, 2016). In addition, there is a need for aerial photography not only to map out the extent of the damage and establish any dangers within the environment but also to help capture any suspicious activity around the area of the crime scene. While the rest of the team members focus on finding the suspects, the forensics team will be focusing on explaining how the attacks took place as they reconstruct the crime scenes and analyze the bombs that were used. Considering that there are multiple crime scenes, an ideal context would be where each crime scene has its own set of investigators who then share information through the relevant communication channels. It will allow each crime scene to receive as much attention as required considering that the clues that could solve the case can be found anywhere in the affected areas.
Coordinating crime scene investigation across multiple mass crime scenes is requires professional skills in the context of communications across all the involved teams. However, with the right operational protocols and support systems, it is very possible to close the investigation successfully within a limited time frame. In this case, the investigators will need larger teams to work at each crime scene as they communicate their findings with the relevant authorities.