Criminal Case Investigations

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Constructing a set of guidelines on managing the preliminary investigation for a criminal case is very important as it gives a baseline for officers to follow to help prevent errors in the investigation. According to Hess and Orthmann (2010), “The initial response is crucial to the success of an investigation. Although it is popularly believed that cases are won or lost in court, more cases actually are lost during the first hour of an investigation … than in court” (p. 14). After containing the incident, officers upon arrive will begin examining the scene by taking photographs, sketches or videos. After the scene has been recorded visually, officers will search for evidence, and then collect it for examination and processing while documenting what has been found during the search for clues. The victims, suspects, and any witnesses will be questioned. Officers will canvas neighborhoods to locate any witnesses that may not have been on the scene. All information provided by witnesses and observed by officers will also be noted and recorded.
A strategy that criminal investigators should take in order to conduct an efficient follow-up investigation is to ensure all observations and notes are shared from the officers that conducted the preliminary investigation to the officers that are conducting the follow-up. This could eliminate potential time wasting activities that had already been addressed by the first officers on the scene. Using paperwork that is consistent can allow for easier communication for these two separate investigations in case there are other officers working the case. This paperwork would let the follow-up investigators know what steps were followed during the preliminary, and if they had not been ...

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...sted following up on something that was already checked. Different crimes will be reported and handled in a different fashion, even among the different major crimes that are committed. No matter what type of crime an investigator is working on solving, they should all be knowledgeable, patient and persistent in doing their duties. Once an alleged perpetrator has been identified by the investigator, it is important to balance their rights against the rights of the community that is being served by the law enforcement agency. Following policy will help prevent problems and mistakes from occurring.

Cornwell, N. C. (2004). Freedom of the press rights and liberties under the law. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.
Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. M. (2010). Criminal investigation. (9th ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.
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