Written on: 06/11/2012 by plappen (111 reviews written)
The Criminal Investigative Function: A Guide for New Investigators, Joseph L. Giacalone, 2011, ISBN 9781608850235
Many law enforcement textbooks have been written by academics with little, or no, real experience. The author of this book has many years of actual, crime scene experience.
On TV, detectives will get a phone call, quickly write down an address, and then rush out the door. It's dramatic, and it's also a bad idea. A quick check in the police computer will show if police have been to that address in the past, or if there has been criminal activity in that area in the past.
At the crime scene, the investigator will go over the crime scene with the first officer on the scene (who is supposed to establish the crime scene perimeter, detain witnesses, etc.). The investigator will sketch the scene, take lots of photographs and lots of notes, and establish chain of custody for all physical evidence found at the scene. There is a good, and bad, way to search the scene for evidence. It is vital to document everything. The defense attorney can be expected to focus on the smallest error in police procedure, and use that to move for an acquittal.
The follow-up investigation is necessary, but not very glamorous. It involves things like going over the crime scene photos again, and visiting the various law enforcement databases. The book talks about what is, and is not, allowable when it comes to eyewitness identification.
Much time in the book is spent on what haapens in the interrogation room, whether it is interviewing a witness, or interrogating a suspect. It is vital to establish some sort of connection between the interrogator and suspect. Last but not least, the investigator has to appear in court. The investigator should refresh their memory by going over the file, answer only the question that is asked, and give the impression that they are prepared and they know what they are talking about.
This book should be required reading for all law enforcement personnel. For everyone else, it is very easy to understand, and shows what the police field is really like.
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