Helping victims, apprehending suspects, detaining witnesses, and requesting needed assistance are integral
parts of the actions taken by the first MP or investigator on the scene. You must ensure that victims and witnesses
are treated with dignity and consideration. Be sure to tell them of services available to them from the victim and
witness liaison at SJA. Provide them with other assistance indicated by circumstances and allowed by AR 27-10.
See AR 190-30 for specific guidance.
Keep suspects and witnesses separated if possible. Tell witnesses not to discuss the events. If witnesses
talk to each other, they may distort each other's impressions. They may come to think they saw things that they
really did not see or that never took place. And you should not discuss the crime with witnesses and bystanders.
Your doing so could jeopardize the case. But listen attentively and unobtrusively. By being alert you can often
pick up information of vital importance to the case.
Do not discuss the crime with the news media. Never give information to reporters. Informing the news
media is the duty of the public affairs officer. Your stated reason for declining to give information should be that
you do not want to show favoritism. Referring to standing orders that prohibit you from talking to reporters may
be seen as misguided zeal or an unwillingness to cooperate. In dealing with reporters, be firm but not curt nor
nonchalant, even when the reporters are persistent. Remember, reporters often give valuable help in the
investigation of major crimes. Press passes should be disregarded when you are protecting a crime scene.
If the search is to be lengthy, set aside an area, close by but outside the critical area, to use as a collection
point for trash generated in the search. Equipment not in immediate use should be placed in this area. MP and
other official personnel may also use the area to take breaks. Using such an area reduces the chance of
contaminating the scene.
By the end of the initial survey of the scene, you will have noted the obvious items of evidence to be
collected. Decide on what order you will process and collect them. If the scene is very large or if more than one
person will be searching, you must decide what should be searched for and how the tasks and the area are to be
divided. If your search must extend beyond the immediate crime scene, people needed to make the search may be
secured from an MP or other unit.
Searchers must be briefed thoroughly. Give them a full description of the evidence being sought. Tell them
how the evidence may have been hidden or discarded. Tell them what to do when they find a piece of evidence.
Tell them, emphatically, that when they find an item thought to be the one being sought or one like it, they must
take three actions. First, they must refrain from touching or moving the item. Second, they must immediately tell
the person in charge of the search. And third, they must protect the area until an investigator arrives.
A competent search of a crime scene demands close attention to detail. Items and materials that may seem
unimportant at first may later prove to be