College Report

Posted by Shelly Shelly
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I really need some help I am studying Social and Criminal Justice in college and I need to write a paper about the difference between Real-life and CSI the tv show. If anyone can tell me any web sites or books I can reference that would be great.

                          Thank You.

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Shelly Shelly
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Re: College Report

You can reach me at twilightvamp11@yahoo.com
carlaCSI carlaCSI
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Re: College Report

You can reach me at cpatton@wichita.gov.  Im a CSI for the WIchita Police Department, in Wichita KS.
carlaCSI carlaCSI
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Re: College Report

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I'm not quite sure where to start.  First I am not a commisisoned officer.  I do not interview suspects, carry a firearm, or wear my own clothes to work.  I have a standard uniform that identifies me as a crime scene investigator and I have a badge.  We always have officers on scene with us and they clear any buildings or residences that we go into to process.  
As far as inaccuracies in the show there are many.  
First it is not possible to obtain a latent prints off of a spent cartridge casing.  When the firing pin hits the primer it sets into motion an explosion of sorts that propels the bullet out of the casing.  The casing is then extracted and ejected.  Due to the explosion any oils or sweat that would be on the cartridge casing are erased.  The only exception would be if the individual that discherged the firearm picked up the spent cartrdige casing and then dropped it again.  Markings on the cartridge casing consist of extractor and ejector marks.  The cartrdige casing does not bear lands and grooves; those are found on the bullet.  The bullets are only comparable if it is not deformed by whatever it has hit.  
Also you can not take pieces of a bullet and put it back together to match up lands and grooves. Usually the bullet if recovered is in fragmented pieces, all smooshed into a blob of metal or in pristine condition that has visibel and comparable lands and grooves.
 
On CSI Miami it showed a CSI walking up to a puddle of congealed blood; they pulled out a piece of trace evidence and then took it back to the lab to analyze.  First, having had to dig through puddles of congealed blood it would not be possible to extract let alone see a single piece of trace evidence.  I have had to recover cartridge casings from congealed blood and it was difficult to get the blood off of the cartridge casing.

The only times I have seen footwear impressions lead to a suspect is when the officers literally follwed the footwear impressions in the snow to the suspect's apartment and when the shoes were found with the blood on the bottom at the suspects residence and they matched the footwear impressions at the scene.  Footwear impressions will give you a class characteristic to narrow the search. Generallly it will not lead you to the exact suspect.
 I do not analyze the biological evidence that I collect.  Some CSI's do analyze the biological evidence depending on what kind of lab equipment is available.  

We base evidence collection of Locard's theory of transfer: every contact leaves a trace.  That most times requires thinking like the suspect.  Where and what did they touch, did they leave footwear impressions, did they leave blood or another biological substance that contains DNA.  

Which brings me to latent print impressions.  Many criminals are getting smart and wearing gloves when committing crimes.  When they don't they might leave a latent print impression.  Latent prints are made up of sweat, which is a mixture of oils, salts and other trace compounds.  Latent prints cannot be seen by the naked eye.  I use latent print powder to recover latent prints.  Gray print powder for dark surfaces and black for light surfaces.  Once I find a print I lift it with tape and place it on a matte acetate card; however there are different types of print cards.  I need to have at least 6 identifiable points of reference for it to be comparable by our latent fingerprint examiners.  If there are more than 6 it is considered AFIS quality and it put in to the AFIS system.

There are surfaces that will not retain a latent print impression. For instance; stainless steel, wood, granite or similiar type counter tops, clothing or any surface that is raised or textured.  In the TV shows they always see to find latent prints on surfaces that will not retain a print.  

I hope this helps with your paper.  If you have any other questions just email me back.  

Carla