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Lee High School

Protecting to Preserve

How could a forensic technician preserve and protect a crime scene?

Veronica Picazo

Senior Capstone

Mr. Foote

April 13, 2017


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Blood spatter, fibers, hairs, a crime scene, it all comes down to forensic science to solve a

crime. Assisting and maintaining a crime scene isnt an easy process, forensic science

technicians, better known as crime scene investigators, along with the officer or detective in

charge of the crime scene, are the ones who are in charge of this process. Conducting an

investigation is part of the hard work that in the long run pays off. Preserving and protecting a

crime scene along with evidence is one of many steps forensic technicians take when they

arrive at the scene but it definitely is the most important thing for a successful

investigation.

There is always room for mistakes and the number one mistake that can be made at the

crime scene is allowing too many people to be present inside of the area of the scene while the

forensic unit is protecting it. It means keeping even well intentioned and curious law

enforcement officers [and other people] out of the scene in order to allow the unit to get it

photographed, measured, sketched and evidence collected before the scene changes (Brittain)

not only can the scene be disturbed but it can also put in risk losing or whats being investigated.

These mistakes are all too common and can put many things in jeopardy. For example putting

the wrong person in jail for a crime that they did not commit but still being blamed for it for

being in the wrong place and leaving a trace like fingerprints all over the body or for touching

the victim and getting blood all over.

Forensic technicians can also assist the court with anything that has been found at the

scene so that it is a successful case. If one part of the investigation does something improperly

then the evidence may become inadmissible in court (Brittain) although evidence found at a

crime scene can be used in court, it is very important to keep the evidence secured in the
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appropriate place so that it doesnt lose its value while its being presented at the court. At the

beginning process of protecting and preserving a crime scene, it is important to have the right

equipment and wearing personal protective gear incase of any contamination or disease thats

around the scene. Once the crime scene technicians are dressed accordingly and the officers have

established a safe path the common approach path allows people to move within the scene

while minimizing possibility of contaminating the scene (How is a forensic scene protected &

initially examined) they can go ahead and start. Although the scene has been organized to

collect any type of potential evidence, that does not mean that theres no risk in contaminating

evidence with other things that can cause disturbance therefore it is recommended to be as

careful as possible.

Each task deserves their own time and if not done so this can not only affect the

investigation but can also break the chain of custody and once thats broken theres no case that

can be taken to court. The unintentional contamination of crime scenes appears to be a problem

that will not go away without written departmental policies reinforced by a strong foundation in

training (D.H Garrison, Jr.) forensic technicians have to be clear on what is permitted and what

is not to protect a crime scene. New technologies may help to preserve the evidence found and

uncover cold cases, but in order to do that the material should be treated at the best value as

possible. What starts as being protected at a scene should always end being protected in the lab.

Forensics has had a significant amount of change over the years and has become the most

important part of a case. Physical evidence, class evidence, testimonial evidence, circumstantial

evidence, it all is gathered by forensic technicians and has also been collected differently. Today,

they use different tools or methods. Most items of evidence will be collected in paper containers
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such as packets, envelopes, and bags. Liquid items can be transported in non-breakable, leak

proof containers. Arson evidence is usually collected in air-tight, clean metal cans.(Schiro) it all

depends on what type of crime the investigators are dealing with and how it is collected.

Forensic technicians have to work to not only preserve the scene, but to also preserve the

evidence and avoid the mixing of evidence at all cost. To protect an item for DNA means to not

let it get cross contaminated with other items of evidence (Brittain) not only is this hard to

accomplish, but it is also very important that evidence doesnt lose any value when its exposed

to other things for example, location, temperature, or chemicals that may harm it.

Crime scene technicians also have to be careful that when the scene is going to be

investigated, they are also aware of the dangers they may encounter I have worn a bulletproof

vest every day of my career (Brittain) nobody is in a safe spot if the suspect has not been

apprehended. To everyone involved in the case it is important to find the person or persons

involved but the main concern that crime scene investigators have is not about chasing down the

criminals, there concern is whether they will have sufficient evidence to have the criminals

chased down.

Every piece of evidence that is preserved and protected during the arrival of a forensic

technician is fundamental to solve a crime. Not many see the value of a small fiber but to the

eyes of a forensic technician it can be the biggest lead to solve a crime. For that reason it is

important that everything found or seen at a scene is kept and captured to keep a case as solid as

possible. Evidence is beyond an item, its the key to a successful investigation.


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Work Cited

Brittain, Wendy from the Forensic Science Unit at the Wyoming Department of Public Safety
Garrison, D.H., Jr. "Protecting the crime scene." The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Sept. 1994,
p. 18+. Academic OneFile,
go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=lom_accessmich&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA
16166623&asid=fde1f6ddc88600e76eed2ae16e38b661. Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.
How is a forensic scene protected & initially examined?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVqr-taIS14. Accessed 15 Sept. 2015.
Reese, Susan. "Forensic science technician." Techniques, vol. 90, no. 4, 2015, p. 58+. Academic
OneFile,
go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=lom_accessmich&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA
412275496&asid=b5cda0fdcdf53fde64c4be6edf699fbb. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017.

Schiro, George. "Collection and preservation of evidence, part 3." , 1999,


www.forensicscienceresources.com/CAPE3.htm