Although arson laws and reporting requirements vary from state to state, here are some basic things to consider when investigating fire incidents, especially as a patrol officer.
Quickly gaining rapport and eliciting information from individuals is one of the most valuable tools in law enforcement. Obtaining admissions from suspects solves more cases than all the forensic evidence techniques combined.
In cases involving gang violence, get to the scene quickly, find the witnesses, and document who these witnesses are and what they say. Then if gang members do change their version of events, at least it can be explained why this person did what he or she did.
A video analyst can examine any media containing video footage including analog sources like VHS and 8mm tapes and digital sources like CDs, DVD, digital tapes, and computer hard drives.
In your search warrant affidavits, your reports, and your testimony you have to lay out the basis of your suspicions and justify every detention, arrest, search, seizure, entry, and use of force.
Motels are often the first destination for parolees and sex offenders upon their release from incarceration. And that makes for an unfortunate dynamic.
Unfortunately, Officer Erfle will not be the last law enforcement officer who will fall victim to a bad guy carrying a concealed firearm. The reason is simple; unless you have cause to search, you really can't tell who is packing and who isn't.
I've taught forensic photography to police officers for more than 10 years, and I always start my presentations with the notion that good photographs start even before the camera is out of the bag. You have to have the proper mindset because images documenting injuries are some of the most important photos we take.
Some cops could use a hug. Others could use a Huggy Bear. Like Starsky and Hutch's trusty tattletale, reliable informants provide us with a worm's eye view of their sordid social circles, a heads up on threats to officer safety, and the groundwork for search warrants. They hang in circles we wouldn't want to enter. There is no question that the access they have and the intelligence they acquire is often invaluable to law enforcement.
I remember riding with another L.A. Deputy Sheriff in an East Los Angeles gang car in 1975. To me, it was a privilege working with a special gang suppression unit, but my partner complained that he hated working gangs because it was useless. But he was wrong.
Interviewing a child is in some ways very similar to interviewing any crime victim but, in some ways, it's very different. The first hurdle is to get the child to open up.
Informants can provide a wealth of information. However, that information can come at a price if you’re not careful how you deal with them. Too many officers fall into a few common traps with informants, leading to bad cases, blown operations or personal complaints against them.
There are many motivations for stealing cars. Some are taken by kids for so-called “joyrides.” Others are shipped to foreign countries and resold or chopped into parts. And more and more often, stolen cars are used to facilitate other crimes, including burglaries, robberies, assaults, and the transportation of narcotics and smuggled immigrants.
The homeowner and a friend went to where the boys pointed to a van across the field and made a horrifying discovery. When they opened the door, the body of a young woman, her head almost completely blown apart, fell out.
James Mixon was a drunk. In life a drunk is a pretty predictable person. They get people angry, frustrated, and fed up; they get kicked out of the places they live, and get in trouble. James Mixon was no different.
In a major criminal investigation, getting off your ass and knocking on some doors is essential. In fact, it is a crucial element in the early stages of working an unsolved case. The area canvass-knocking on the doors of all the residences surrounding the crime scene-is one of the first tasks a lead detective should have on his lead sheet.
Although digital cameras are certainly high-tech and have a lot more power and control than their film predecessors, they are still only as good as the officer holding them.
The easiest and most common way associates are used in police investigations is to locate suspects. While this seems like routine information that everyone knows, only a few people put it into practice in each department.
Every investigation is a process of elimination. When a crime has been committed it is an investigator’s job to narrow the field of possible suspects until he or she can build a case against an individual or a group of individuals.