Take Your Time at the Crime Scene
Crime scene investigators should resist the urge to rush the process because someone is asking them how long they will be. Crime scene processing requires a methodical approach each and every time and deviating from this can have negative consequences. If the process and results are to be credible in court, established procedures and a standardized methodology need to be followed.
In a perfect world, crime scene investigators would not have to justify the time spent at a scene to impatient co-workers or administrators. Fellow officers and supervisors should understand it is an absolute necessity that sufficient time be allotted, no matter how long it takes. We all know that this is not the case. No judgment should be passed on others who make these comments however. We, as crime scene investigators, have specific concerns relative to the jobs we perform, as do supervisors. Supervisors are concerned with coverage issues for crime scene security, patrol coverage, or overtime expenditures. Crime scene investigators need to recognize this and continue their methodical approach; viewing the question as a request for information, not a request to expedite the process.
In addition, crime scene investigators should be mindful of rushing or putting unrealistic time restrictions on themselves. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true in everyday life and is equally important in crime scene investigations. The “ounce of prevention” is following the methodology, meticulously processing the scene, and taking adequate time to complete the process. The “pound of cure” is spending less time on the witness stand, especially during cross-examination by a defense attorney. It can be uncomfortable, which is expected when someone attacks your work, but it is especially regrettable when it could have been avoided. If investigators make an error because they rushed, they have no one to blame but themselves.
From: Spend More Time at the Scene: Spend Less Time on the Stand by Rodney Westbrook and Steven Ryan