Respond with Caution
Officers who arrive at a crime scene must be cautious and methodical. They should strive to preserve the scene with minimal contamination [opens in pop-up window] and should not disturb physical evidence.
The responding officer(s) should:
- Note or log dispatch information (e.g., address/location, time, date, type of call, and parties involved).
- Be aware of any persons or vehicles in or leaving the crime scene.
- Approach the scene cautiously, scan the entire area, and note any possible secondary crime scenes.
- Make initial observations (look, listen, smell) to assess the scene and ensure officer safety before proceeding.
- Remain alert and attentive.
- Treat the location as a crime scene until it has been assessed and determined to be otherwise.
From: NIJ Crime Scene Guides