Different areas tend to be prone to crime and hence the necessity of having appropriate interventions and measures which will be adopted in the handling of the murder scenes.The paper presents analyses of how law enforcers handle murder scenes and the health and legal risks associated with processing the crime scene. Conversely, it describes the strategies that should be developed by the typical law enforcement organization to improve their murder scene handling skills.
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Definitively, murder scene investigation refers to analytical use of physical evidence to deduce and obtain knowledge of the events surrounding the murder. This investigation is multidisciplinary and entails use of systemic search, observation and at times lab or forensic analysis of evidence. Handling and actions taken at the start of murder scene investigation plays an important role in the resolution of a case (Peterson, Mihajlovic & Gilliland, 1998).
A thorough investigation provides opportunities that make sure the latent physical evidence is not contaminated or likely witnesses overlooked, since if handled badly it would lead to both health and legal risks.Going by the global standards and individual country legislations, it’s vital for security personnel’s to demonstrate understanding of how to handle crime scenes (Bicheno ,& Elliot,1997). Personnel given a mandate of handling murder crime scenes need to have the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to obtain necessary evidence. Ultimately, the assessment of risk at murder scenes is an indication that anything can happen in crime scenes and it’s important to observe caution in order to avoid problems associated with processing of evidence.
How Law Enforcement Handle a Murder Scene
The great importance of carrying out murder scene investigation is to produce identification and evidence that can be used to disclose the cause of death and to obtain facts that can be used to bring the culprit to book, in case of murder. Murder scene investigation involves a meeting place of law, logic and science. Processing and handling of the murder scene is very tedious and long process that involve recognition, identification, documentation, collection of evidence and analyzing of the collected evidence.
In case of suspected murder crime, law enforcers move in as investigators, where they first seal the area of murder. This is necessary to prevent contamination of the murder scene from curious onlookers. After sealing the scène, investigators from law enforcement agency analyze the murder scene and makes sure that nothing has been moved .Here they are able to generate preliminary hypothesis based on visual examination (Bodziak, 2009). With the analysis done, the law enforcers are able to clearly describe the extent of murder crime. Apart from sealing the murder scene, the police secure the core area where they suspect a large amount of evidence is concentrated.
After sealing the entire area, law enforcers then move to the district attorney ‘s chambers where they obtain search warrants .This is important because at times some people could have prospects of privacy in portions of the murder scene. Also if not done legally, the whole investigation process would be of little importance since the findings won’t be admissible in courts (Eliopulos, 2003).
The law enforcers also call for any specialist and additional tools they think would be necessary during the process. The law enforcers also talk to first responders to determine if anything was moved or touched, and give details of anything they saw or heard during the occurrence of the murder crime. During this process, law enforcers touch nothing. Secondly, they scrupulously document the murder scene by taking pictures and drawing rough drafts. At times, they use video to document the scene in details without touching anything.
After documenting the scene, law enforcers then engage in the collection of potential evidence, where they tag, log and package the evidence in plastic containers for laboratory analysis. The evidence is kept intact from where it’s transported in a safe manner for analysis. The evidence collected is labeled accordingly in relation to place of collection, date, and type of evidence collected. Before moving the body, the law enforcers analyze the body carefully for any evidence. Here they check for marks, cuts, bruises or stains on the victim’s body. They also check if anything is missing such as watches, rings and other personal effects (Peterson, Mihajlovic & Gilliland, 1998).
After collection of all evidence, the evidence is analyzed.DNA fingerprinting which is also known as forensic-DNA analysis is the common method used by law enforcers to analyze the evidence. This analysis is most reliable and affordable in such kind of scenes where for instance the body has been shot severally, burnt or even disfigured. With connection to these, the analysis provides faster mode of identification once established in such kind of scenes.
Despite the benefits of dealing with DNA evidence, the evidence should not be collected unless the information is relevant to the murder crime in question. This implies that the proceedings should be undertaken under given instructions from either the regulatory body’s or the involved medical experts.
Strategies of Handling Murder Scene Effectively in Relation to Law Enforcers
To develop efficient strategies that would promote effective handling of murder scenes by law enforcers, it is quite necessary to have good management structures and operations within the institutions dealing with crime issues in order to promote performance within the given organization. In that case, there has been the need for different crime handling agencies to effectively adopt a number of measures that will help them in promoting teamwork and concept of working together. Problems involved in processing and handling of murder crime scenes can be mitigated by adequately training the individuals involved on better procedures and ways of handling evidence (Bodziak,2009) .As well, community involvement and awareness is also important in making sure members of the public have an idea of avoiding crime scene disturbances and don’t contaminate themselves. This kind of learning and training makes sure all individuals engage in activities that do not promote murder scene and evidence contamination.Another approach to this practice involves identification of the potential hazards which appear to be in scenes of crime and include mitigation measures which should be implemented by all.Once the problems have been identified, the next advancement is to come up with adequate plan that provide fundamental ways into how deal with exposures at the murder crime scene (Eliopulos, 2003).
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Issues of Law Enforcers Face in the Process of Murder Scene Investigation
Many law enforcers are involved in murder scene investigations and they do encounter countless tribulations in response to how they handle evidence. For them, any action taken in the scene has some level of destructive effect on the scene and in application of justice. Sometimes scenes are degraded and altered and negative data is obtained which at times is used to convict innocent individual. Poor processing of murder scenes tends to convict innocent people and leave real culprits free and this represents injustice in the society (Bodziak,2009) Drastic changes in political and economic conditions have increased regulations and state litigation hence processing of murder crime scenes has been neglected due to strict procedural formats from the government ,as a result, individuals conducting investigations have been subjected to work without adverse training thus limiting murder scene processes.
Sometimes murder crime experts like CSI personnel and law enforcers like the police, are faced with the dilemma of consulting higher authority and regulatory bodies, before conducting murder scene investigations. Indeed, this makes them loose their independence since; most of the scenes are at times thronged by curious onlookers, who have little or no knowledge of crime scene management (Bicheno & Elliot, 1997).
Legal inflexibility on the part of the law enforcers have contributed to challenges which force them to follow strict crime scene processing procedures which at times are time consuming and non cost effective. Investigators are required to make quick decisions even in fragile cases and legally this lead to negligence. At times there are legal problems in situations where investigators have personal stake in case. Effectiveness of the murder scene processing is lost due to the loss of neutrality in policing and close association with court systems. Other legal issues relating to murder scenes processing include technical barriers between crime scene investigators and legal practitioners. Another issue is that, an investigator may get concrete evidence to convict a criminal and yet the court disregards it. Lack of coordination between the law enforcers and courts slow down scene processing and limit justice (Peterson, Mihajlovic & Gilliland, 1998).
Inherent Medical and Health Risks Associated with Murder Crime Scenes, Evidence and Evidence Handling and Processing.
Mostly the unintended contamination of murder scenes emerges as one of the major problems associated with murder scene handling and processing. Law enforcers involved in Murder scene investigation usually perform their works in scenes that are hazardous to their health and health of others, and this is due to coming in to contact with them. Most investigators duties entails processing of murder crime scenes and mostly they use dangerous chemicals and fingerprint powders which when accidentally ingested are life threatening. Some chemicals used are carcinogenic while others tend to cause long term Health hazards (Eliopulos, 2003). Despite the use of powders and chemicals in processing crime scenes, investigators are also susceptible to whole lots of other medical problems and hazards. Biological samples like urine, saliva, semen and blood are always handled routinely and if the victims had contagious diseases like HIV, measles and other sexually transmitted infections, probability of accidents occurring and infecting them is quiet high since majority of them have no protective clothing’s (Bodziak,2009) .When processing murder scenes, at times investigators use equipments like lasers, electro static dust lifters and other electrical appliances which when not handled well can cause electric shock, damage to eyes and even death. Also most law enforcers suffer from traumatic Stresses due to grotesque scenes they see when handling cases and also due to strenuous working conditions. Generally, most murder scene investigators and law enforcers are usually taken for granted and unappreciated, but they should never compromise their health (Bicheno & Elliot, 1997).
Law enforcers are served with responsibility of making our community safe .They are required to investigate and arrest individuals suspected of murder crimes. Proper handling of these scenes is significant in making sure that justice has been achieved. In conclusion, Personnel given mandate of handling murder crime scenes need to have necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to obtain necessary evidence that is indispensable in solving any murder case.
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