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  • Crime Scene Fundamentals & Documentation


This CA POST certified 16-hour course was designed as a refresher or preparatory course for all personnel having evidence collection and documentation responsibilities.   The course participants will experience the latest in adult learning methods used to facilitate their understanding of how to accurately investigate and document crime scenes while preserving evidence from the initial response to disposition.  Learners will apply our Crime Scene Fundamentals to effectively and efficiently document the scene and conduct a better scene investigation with a more careful eye for Evidence Collection and Documentation.  Furthermore, through written, oral, and demonstrated assessments, students will leave confident with their abilities to identify items having evidentiary value, deploy appropriate preservation techniques, and to prepare crime scene related reports successfully.

Seminar Highlights

  • Crime Scene Fundamentals
  • Equipment 101
  • Collection and Preservation
  • Report Writing
  • Demonstration and Learning Activities
  • Target Audience: Patrol Officers, Supervisors, CSO’s

Course Outline

Day One

Arrival at scene/Walk thru:

  • Verify Crime being investigated
  • Where are victims?
  • Where are suspects?
  • Any witness statements?  Where were the witnesses at time of incident?

Photograph/Video Scene Documentation

  • Photographs of a crime scene record exactly how the scene appeared at the time and how the evidence was found at the scene
  • Visual record of scene, evidence, and elements

Preliminary Crime Scene Investigation

  • Collect all available information necessary to document crime scene
  • Identify and preserve evidence-  Inner Perimeter and Outer Perimeter
  • Listen to the debrief, then look beyond.  Often evidence is missed.  Expand scene and walk through it.  Reevaluate.

Crime Scene Search

  • A search is a systematic, coordinated effort conducted to locate physical evidence
  • Do not limit yourself to collecting items you think are evidence.  Keep in mind that everything found in a crime scene should be considered evidence.
  • Search the area again
  • Evidence and Packaging (Chain of Custody)
  • Equipment Suggestions
  • Issues to consider with packaging:  Wet Evidence, DNA Preservation, Weapons, and Fingerprint Issues
  • Handling and Collection of Evidence
  • General Collection Rules

Day Two

  • Blood Stain Samples and Controls
  • DNA Sample Swabs
  • Buccal Swab (Oral Swab)
  • Collect a reference DNA swab from suspects and victims.
  • Date, time, location, description

DNA-Deoxyribonucleic Acid is a substance that is found in the chromosomes in the nucleus of all human cells.  It provides the genetic coding information that determines characteristics that are unique to everyone. Blood (Body Fluids)

  • DNA Sources
  • Hair and Fiber Collection
  • Weapons Packaging and Processing
  • Bloody Clothing
  • GSR- Gun Shot Residue Collection Tips – When and How
  • Scene Photographs
  • Evidence Item Identification – Number Stands
  • Ballistic Photography
  • Documentation of Vehicles

Report Writing 

  • Basic report outline
  • Document dates and times throughout investigation
  • Weather and lighting conditions at time of incident and changes upon your arrival
  • Briefing of known circumstances at the time and personnel involved
  • Scene personnel upon arrival
  • Outer and inner perimeter units and crime scene tape locations
  • Personnel as they arrive on scene

General Scene Description

  • Streets surrounding scene
  • Compass directions of streets
  • Area description (residential, commercial, etc.)
  • Scene Specific description
  • Specific location description (address, driveway, room etc.)
  • Evidence location, descriptions, and assigned E/I numbers
  • Measurement evidence, anything relevant (city light posts)
  • Document vehicles involved and their measured locations
  • Scene exit time
  • Evidence booked
  • Digital photos uploaded

Surveillance Video Documentation

  • Note brand and model of machine
  • Note owner information and contact phone
  • Photograph split screen of camera views
  • Note how many cameras and which cameras apply to needed information
  • Note where the cameras are located on the building and the view – east, west, etc
  • Note time displayed on video screen versus correct time

Cell Phone Documentation

  • Place cell phone in airplane Mode
  • Disconnect blue tooth and wi-fi
  • Note any information available-without turning off phone
  • Pass code, swipe code
  • Brand, model, phone number, owner information

Computer Documentation

  • Bump the computer or keyboard to see if the machine is on
  • Photograph the computer screen and any open programs
  • Take notes on open programs and progressively close each program
  • Turn off computer
  • Mark each cord and the matching plug in A-A  BB  C-C
  • Unplug and zip tie all cords in neat bundles
  • Collect tower and power cord
  • Need search warrant to search – Do not turn on computer.  Computer will change each time activated and you leave a foot print.
  • Place in static free container
  • The information that they have presented is highly relevant to my job, and was presented in a manner that was highly organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch Police Department
  • You two are an effective teaching team, and your presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda
  • ...Provides useful tools necessary for assessing the veracity of a suspected child abuser, which goes a long way in helping to protect children.

    —Sunny Burgan, MSSW, LCSW, Social Work Supervisor, Santa Clara County DFCS
  • Your class gave me the confidence and tools to interview the suspect for over 5 hours and to bring a closure to the case.

    —Daniel Phelan, San Jose Police Department
  • Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend the Interview and Interrogation training presented by Paul Francois and Enrique Garcia.

    —Todd Almason, Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office
  • Your instructional style is engaging and your tag-team style is highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • I highly recommend this training for any Probation staff who have the necessity to interview/interrogate individuals for investigation purposes.

    —R. Bret Fidler, Santa Clara County Probation Department
  • Your class has made the greatest and most direct impact on my assignment of any training class that I've taken.

    —Ken Gelskey, National City Police Department
  • I will continue to use and pass on this information because I really believe in the instructors and their approach.

    —Kimberly Meyer, Washoe County Sheriff's Department