Procedure for Photographing a Crime Scene, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Photographing a crime scene should provide a permanent visual record of the crime scene as it was found.

The purpose of this document is to educate the officer on proper procedure for photographing a crime scene so there can be a permanent visual record and so the proper chain of custody is followed, ensuring that the photographic evidence will be admissible in court.

Terms and Definitions:

Specific Responsibilities:

Crime Scene Protection: The crime scene should first be made secure according to procedure for securing a crime scene. Once it has been verified that the perpetrator is no longer at the scene and the area is secure against intrusion, the photographer can set  up his or her equipment.

Equipment: A basic equipment kit for still photographs is a camera, filters, various lenses, a tripod, measuring devices, a gray card, and materials to protect the equipment from environmental hazards.

Safety Precautions: Ensure that the crime scene has been secured before entering. Be careful of what you touch when on the scene and of where you step, especially in the case of building fires, building collapse, or other structural events.

Types of Photos: Three types of photos should be taken: long-range, mid-range, and close-ups. Make sure the lighting used does not alter the appearance of the scene and that there is no blocking by the measuring device used. Remember pictures cannot show accurate depth; there needs to be distance to accurately show the positioning of objects. (Dowdey, 2012)

Photo Identification: A photographic log should be kept to reference where and when photographs were taken. The conditions the photographs were taken in should be noted.

Chain of Custody: Chain of custody for photographs must be established by recording the location, time, and date of photographs, sealing and labeling the photos inside an envelope, and adding the photos to a master inventory list. (Dowdey, 2012)

Storage of Photos: Photographs may be stored in a secure evidence room until transfer to a lab or for use during trial. They will be transferred by the proper chain of custody.

Reconstruction of the Crime Scene: Objects at the crime scene should not be moved in attempt to recreate the scene of the crime. Photographs should be taken first from a distance, then moving in mid-range, and finally as close-ups. If the crime scene covers a wide area, photographs should be taken progressively as the photographer walks through the scene, starting from an identifying point just outside the scene. (Dowdey, 2012)

Presentation at Trial: Photographs must have been identified at the scene of the crime when taken and chain of custody not been broken in order to guarantee validity of photographs. The photographer should be able to explain lighting choices and any environmental conditions that may have influenced the acuity of the photographs.

References

Dowdey, S. (2012). How Crime Scene Photography Works . Retrieved June 16, 2012, from Howstuffworks: http://science.howstuffworks.com/crime-scene-photography2.htm

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