of a certain scene are established by the types of incident and place where
the act occurred.
(2) Processing the Scene of an Incident or Crime.
The purpose of an
investigation is to identify persons involved. It is also to determine facts,
circumstances, and items of evidence related to the act. Processing a scene
refers to the methods you use to recognize, identify, preserve, and collect all
facts and items of value as evidence. Such items may help in reconstructing
what actually happened.
The area processed as the scene should reach far
enough to include all direct traces of the incident or crime.
processed should include the presence and actions of the offender(s) just
before and after the act occurred.
Generally, evidence is that which tends to prove or
This lesson is mainly concerned with physical evidence.
This is also known as real evidence. Physical evidence is a tangible article
or matter having physical or material quality.
Physical evidence may be
classed into three categories.
(a) Movable or removable evidence is that which can be picked up at a
crime scene and moved.
Examples are tools, weapons, clothing, glass, and
(b) Fixed or immovable evidence cannot be readily removed from a
crime scene because of its bulk, size, shape, or characteristics. Examples are
walls and telephone poles. Also, items such as footprints, tool marks, tire
marks, bloodstains, and fingerprints on surfaces which cannot be moved are
examples. Such surfaces may include paved roadways, buildings, and soil.
(c) Fragile evidence is physical evidence which can deteriorate to a
point where it is no longer of value as evidence. Special care must be taken
to preserve its state. Evidence which may be altered, damaged, or destroyed is
fragile. Change, damage, or destruction may occur when it is collected, left
exposed or reproduced.
One example of fragile evidence is bloodstains on
sidewalks. Footprints in dust or soil and latent fingerprints on heavy safes
are examples. Also included would be hair and fluids. Such evidence should be
processed when it is found. A footprint in the snow is actually immovable, but
a cast of it can be taken and preserved.
The cast will be admissible as
evidence. Fingerprints can be "lifted," or removed; whereas, body fluids can
be preserved in their natural state or closely thereto if processed promptly.
Initial Action at the Scene.
Some incidents, accidents, or crimes are within the military scope of
interest and jurisdiction. If so, one or more MP patrols will usually arrive
at the scene before any CID special agent. The responsibilities of these MPs
Not only must they protect the scene and start the preliminary
investigation; they must give first aid, if needed. They must also apprehend
any violators still present in the area.
It would behoove your CID special
agents then, to ensure that MP are well-trained in the protection of a crime