Cryogenic materials of one sort or another are used in most of the forensic labs across the country. On a daily basis, we might receive shipments packed with dry ice, preserve samples with liquid nitrogen, keep our equipment cooled, and in some cases, use techniques that use cryogenic liquids, such as cryogenic grinding of samples. Here are some tips for the safe handling of these chemicals.
The investigators in charge of a crime scene should create an investigation team and process the scene carefully and methodically to protect the evidence. Follow these steps to control contamination and cross-contamination and to ensure scene safety and evidence integrity.
The investigator should control access to a fire scene after fire suppression and see that evidence is collected, stored, and transported so that it will not be contaminated. Follow this walkthrough to properly process the scene and take precautions to prevent contamination.
Goodwill and good management techniques are important, but strong leadership is also necessary for retaining qualified staff. In a well run organization leaders at all levels provide vision and help staff feel they are part of something that matters.
Managing people with respect, from the time they are being interviewed for possible hire, to the time of their leaving the organization, is the hallmark of modern, successful organizations. Managers should be constantly striving to build good relationships and strong esprit within their organizations.
In addition to sunlight, UV light sources are found in the lab and shop. Sources include some biosafety cabinets, certain types of hand-held light sources, transilluminators, crosslinkers, and some laboratory instruments such as spectrophotometers.
Converting from pencils to pixels is easy. With careful planning and commitment, law enforcement agencies can begin realizing cost-saving results using facial composite software programs. With the ability to import images and edit them in a photo/paint program, users can now make refinements that rival the work of traditional police composite artists.
Forensic toxicologists are often called upon to determine whether or not a controlled substance has been ingested by or administered to a victim of accident or crime. The availability of many tissue types is limited in decomposed or skeletonized remains, and therefore bone tissue becomes an important specimen.
The safe handling of chemicals requires an understanding of their properties, hazards, and measures for handling emergencies involving them. This information can be found on the compound's MSDS. The purpose of the MSDS is to inform chemical users of the hazards potentially encountered with their use.
Our primary job as crime scene investigators is always the same: to tie a suspect to the scene. The way to accomplish this goal is to collect as much evidence as possible from the scene and the suspect. The key point to keep in mind is that the scene will dictate what you need from the suspect.
Communicating is as much about effective listening as it is about effective talking. Just as it’s essential that people who work with a manager understand that manager’s messages, it’s also essential for the manager to understand messages from subordinates and superiors.
Due to the chemicals used to make the drugs and the wastes generated during the “cooking,” clandestine laboratories present significant safety and health risks to law enforcement, forensic scientists, and the public. When a clandestine drug lab is discovered there is a basic three stage approach to move from seizure to a fully restored site.
For years we’ve been talking about the effect that popular TV crime shows has had on juries’ expectations with regard to evidence and forensic analysis techniques. The CSI effect, the popular belief by laypersons that they have some knowledge or expertise in the area of forensics because they have seen it on TV, is expanding.
As a Crime Scene Officer, you have many responsibilities. In order to do your job well, you need to stay current with advances in the field. The best way to accomplish that goal is to invest in your ongoing training. In this issue I’ll take a closer look at why this training is so important, and I’ll also give you some suggestions for finding the right training to fit your needs.
The previous issue of Forensic Magazine presented the first part of OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and discussed the history of OSHA’s safety management emphasis. The birth of OSHA’s voluntary Safety and Health Program and its four major elements were outlined. This issue finishes the series with more detail on the VPP.