It’s so important for law enforcement officers like joe hariton to be cautious when handling crime scenes and how they deal with procedure. At the same, it’s been a serious problem for beginners who are just starting their law enforcement careers, making mistakes that can seriously harm a case. Here are some of the most common mistakes you might make and what can be done about them.
1. Show up late to a crime scene.
This may come as a surprise, but showing up early to a crime scene will definitely help your case. Even the most professional investigators, who are known for their dedication and diligence, are not always able to gain access to the crime scene immediately after the crime took place. Not only do you want to arrive at the scene of a crime before any other officers and before anyone has left or changed clothes, but you want to be there before you leave. If you arrive at almost any police department too late in the morning or too late at night, detectives on duty will still be present and busy with paperwork. However, if you arrive at the crime scene too early in the morning or too late at night, no one will be there and no notes will have been taken. It’s a simple matter of trying to take full advantage of every opportunity.
2. Enter a crime scene that has already been secured and secured.
It’s very important to remember that a crime scene is considered secure when all evidence has been removed and no one is present who could have potentially tampered with it. It’s dangerous to enter a crime scene after a detective, a family member or even a friend has been allowed into it. The crime scene can become contaminated by people who were not entitled to be there, and their presence may have altered the case against the person who committed the crime. For example, if someone from your department visits the crime scene during an investigation and notices some evidence that they believe needs to be reexamined, they shouldn’t go into the same room as that evidence is still considered potentially compromised.
3. Throw your hands up in frustration when you have nothing to work with.
Every crime scene is different, but there is usually something of value at each location. For example, a crime scene might be a car that was stolen two or three days ago and abandoned in the parking lot of a local mall. It’s important not to make any assumptions about how the car was stolen or if it was recovered. However, there might be small traces of blood on the inside of your car or indications that it was cleaned up while in transit. Even if you don’t find clues that lead you to solving your case, officers can gather enough evidence from a crime scene to make identification and capture more likely.
4. Rely too heavily on digital evidence when physical evidence is also important.
There is nothing wrong with using your smartphone while investigating a crime scene, as long as it’s done in a way that doesn’t destroy evidence or wash away clues. You should never touch any digital device, especially if it looks like it has been wiped clean. If you have to use your phone as an investigation tool, follow the procedures that are outlined in your department’s policy, set up on a more secure mobile device and ensure that your phone has been wiped of all evidence related to the case.
5. Jail someone after the arrest even if you don’t have enough evidence proving guilt.
It takes more than finding a cell phone or fingerprint at a crime scene to prove guilt in court. A lot of cases end up in the judge’s hands with only a single piece of physical evidence that proves someone committed a crime. There are many ways to handle these cases, but one of the more common ones is to throw away the case. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t find any solid evidence or that you have no eyewitnesses who can identify the suspect. You are still responsible for putting someone behind bars based on a case that the judge believes is not valid.
6. Mistake every beginner as a suspect by asking questions too soon in an investigation.
It’s important to remember that you should always assume that everyone has a right to be protected under the law. Never question someone who is a potential witness or suspect in a crime before you have all of the facts in front of you. In most cases, it takes only one innocent question for an innocent person to turn into a suspect. Of course, if someone actually is guilty of committing the crime, then it doesn’t matter if they have been treated as a suspect from the beginning or not.
The main things you can do to avoid these mistakes are to arrive at the crime scene as soon as possible and to try not to assume anything about your suspects. If you already arrived at the crime scene, then it’s probably too late for a check-out. In that case, it’s best to handle everything in a calm and professional manner, despite the fact that many of these situations are emotional ones for officers.