PART B - EVIDENCE COLLECTION
Although the circumstances of a case must always guide your actions in processing a crime scene,
experience has shown that the following general rules are useful in systematizing the search for, and the collection
of, evidence and in preventing errors.
Give first priority to fragile evidence that can be altered by time or the elements. Collecting evidence at
a crime scene is usually done after the search has been completed, the photographs have been taken,
and the rough sketches have been drawn. But under certain conditions it may be best to collect fragile
items of evidence as they are found. Some forms of evidence can be destroyed by the elements or be
contaminated, despite protective measures.
Next, collect items that could impede the search of the scene--but only after they have been located,
noted, photographed, and depicted on the sketch. The essential factor is that the evidence be carefully
and properly collected.
Place your initials and the date and time of collection on each piece of evidence so you can identify it at
a later date. Do this as you collect the evidence. Place the information where it is least likely to affect
the appearance, monetary value, use, and evidence value of the item. Evidence that cannot be marked
must be placed in a proper, clean container; sealed; and identified by marks on the container. Make
notes, to include a description, in your notebook at the time the evidence is marked.
Examine, photograph, sketch, record, and collect major evidence in the order that is most logical,
considering the need to conserve movement. Do not move any item until it has been examined for trace
evidence. Make casts and lift latent prints from items that must be moved. Or at least develop,
photograph, and cover prints with tape before an item is moved.
You may have to damage, partially destroy, or otherwise decrease the effectiveness of an article to
collect important evidence. Such actions are based on the needs of the individual case. You may have
to cut the upholstery on a piece of furniture to get an area stained with blood. You might need to cut
out a section of a wall to collect fingerprints or other evidence that cannot be collected by other means.
A door or a window may need to be removed from a building to process it at a lab or to hold it as
evidence. When a door or a window is removed or when a building or a room is made insecure by
evidence collection actions, make sure that measures are taken to protect the interior's contents.
When death is involved, process the evidence between the point of entry to the scene and the body.
Next, make a detailed search of the deceased. After the search, remove the body. Then continue