Overview: This 2 1/2 day program focuses on one of the most important areas that law enforcement ever has to deal with: Homicide and sudden death. A death leaves in its wake a family that seeks answers, a victim whose death seeks justice and a potential suspect who must be brought to justice for his crime. The program will examine death scenes generally and homicide specifically, providing participants with a practical approach to their response to these events that impact so many.
The scene: Participants will be provided with an understanding of the importance of the scene. The session will identify the duties and responsibilities of the first responders and investigators in the initial preservation of the scene.
Scene documentation: In any death investigation an investigator will be charged with the responsibility of the investigation. This investigator will ultimately be held accountable for the integrity and success of the completed investigation. Participants will be made aware of the proper methods of ensuring that the scene is properly processed and documented. This documentation includes written reports, photographs, measurements, sketch, and area canvass.
Distinguishing homicide from other unusual deaths: While law enforcement investigators are not expected to develop the same information as an autopsy, it is critical that investigators be able to identify evidence at the scene which would be an early indicator as to the cause and manner of death. This segment reviews case studies involving suicides, accidental deaths, and homicides.
Homicide Investigation: In many cases it may be required that investigators treat a death as a homicide until it has been ruled by a medical examiner or coroner to have been caused by something else. Homicide is the focal point of this program. Once the crime scene has been processed and concluded, investigators must now go about learning as much as they can about their victim.
Information development: Witnesses from the scene and surrounding area
Participants will gain knowledge as to the multifaceted approach to interviewing witnesses who were at or near the scene in order to provide an early roadmap as to how the events occurred
Family and friends: In many cases, particularly when there are no witnesses at the scene, family and friends will provide early leads and motives that will identify suspects or the victim’s recent activities or movements prior to death. Participants will be made aware of both the importance of these interviews and how they should be conducted
Sources of evidence: In today’s technology age investigators must be aware of the multiple sources of evidence that may enhance their ability to solve a case. This segment provides participants with laundry a list of evidentiary sources that they should consider when conducting a homicide investigation.
Working with prosecutors: This session focuses participants on the importance of working closely with prosecutors at the earliest possible stages of the investigation. Any successful prosecution will be the result of the combined efforts of the law enforcement investigators and the prosecution team. This segment focuses on the value of legal input and advice related to the investigative process with respect to the admissibility of the evidence which is essential to a successful prosecution.
Investigators guide to dealing with the media: Homicide cases always capture the attention of the media and the public. Investigators must balance the public’s need to know, the 6th amendment rights of the defendant to a fair trial and the integrity of the case. With a large viewing and reading audience, how can the media be effectively utilized to assist law enforcement in the investigation?
Legal issues: Homicide investigators are constantly dealing with issues pertaining to the constitutional rights of the defendant. This segment will discuss search warrants, arrest warrants, statements by defendants, methods of identifying the defendant and the best ways to ensure the evidence collected is admissible.
Resources brought from outside agencies: This session will provide participants with a host of resources that can be provided by outside investigative agencies. Firearms traces, NCIC searches, fugitive apprehension units…
Cold Case Investigations: Each year thousands of homicides go unsolved and are placed in “Cold Case” files. This segment will discuss the importance of these cases.
Survivors of Homicide: In any city or town across this country, where violence has impacted the community, you will find street shrines or memorials to victims. This segment will discuss victim advocacy and support and the role of the lead detective.