ICSIA Examiner's Newsletter

ICSIA Examiner January 2012

The International Crime Scene Investigators Association

Welcome to the new Examiner

What you have here is the new format for ICSIA's official newsletter.  It's arrived directly in your inbox because, of course, you are a member of ICSIA. We've decided that sending these directly to everyone is likely to be more useful to you than the old system of posting them on the website. (You do remember that we have a website, right?  http://www.icsia.org/members/).  Our goal is to have one of these newsletters in your inbox every other month.  Given the frequency they will be shorter than some of the past newsletters, but our goal is to include at least one new article in each edition.  If you have an article or other information that you'd like to share with your fellow members, please e-mail me:  Editor

Daryl W. Clemens


President's Message

A letter from Executive Director Hayden B. Baldwin,

Well here it is 2012 already, where did the year go?  When I was a lot younger the year took forever to get over, now they just fly by! I say that because I just finished my forensic consultant contract with Jamaica. It doesn’t seem like I have been going there for the past five years. But what a world of difference in how they process scenes between when I first went there until now. In the next issue of the new Newsletter format I will talk more in-depth about my time there but for now just know that 5 years ago they were still photographing crime scenes using black & white film with cameras that had broken light meters. Now they have the Nikon DSLR’s and a whole bunch of new technology!

I bring this up because it is where we are at today, the ever changing technology. The crime scenes are basically being processed the same way they have been for years but the technology has changed the way we do it. We see our digital photos instantly, make computer aided crime scene sketches and reports. There are even new apps for the smartphones that will photograph the scene, calculate the measurements, write a report and complete an evidence log all right at the crime scene. It is modern technology at its finest. Technology is changing so fast that it is very difficult to stay on top of what is new and how to use it. That is where we come in. The best part of any organization is the ability to share information with and from its members. We have not been as successful in that as well as we would have liked. That is going to change and this new Newsletter is our first step in that direction. In each newsletter will be articles and links to some of the new technology and reviews of the products. We will try to keep you abreast of new techniques and what is new in equipment, supplies and things that will help each of us in doing a better job. But we cannot do these ourselves. It requires input from the field, you! Communications should not be one way. We need to hear from you, we need to work together to exchange ideas and comments. We have tried various forms of communications and a forum is the best at this point. We have a forum strictly for ICSIA Members. It is a Yahoo Groups forum and it works fairly well. We also have a private Facebook page that the general public cannot see.  You need to be an active member and share your stories, ideas and comments. We and other members want to share the same with you.  We work in a different environment than most people. Our sense of humor is quite different than most. Our problems are different. Our needs are different. No one else understands what we see and do. No one that is, except your peers. We need to be here for each other.

Until we find something better we will continue to use the Yahoo forum. MOST of you are not members of that forum and it is the only way we can reasonably communicate with you. Please, you need to join the forum so you can converse with others and we can converse with you. We have about 350 members who are not registered with the forum. You are missing vital communications with us! This newsletter will going out to everyone and thereafter only to those who have registered on the forum. So we strongly recommend you to join the forum! You may subscribe to the forum by sending a blank email from your email program to icsia-members-subscribe@yahoogroups.com  or directly at the Yahoo forum web site athttp://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ICSIA-Members/join

We have added a new Division to ICSIA, the Caribbean Division headed by Director Christopher Anderson, Detective Sergeant in charge of the Scenes of Crimes Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. “Andy” will be the contact for the others in the Caribbean to join ICSIA and provide the training to bring the Caribbean community in to the 21st Century. We are working on two other markets, South America and South East Asia. Both may take a while to develop. There are a lot of challenges ahead in developing additional Divisions. The language barrier is primary the problem while cultural differences are also a main issue. We are exploring the possibilities ahead of us.

In the past few years we developed a Certification program that is worthy of ICSIA. It is a certification program that is not complicated but requires the applicant to prove they have the knowledge required to process a crime scene thoroughly and that they have the ability to do so. Please explore the Certification information posted on the web site here.
Earlier I was speaking of this new technology we are seeing. In the months ahead we will be talking about it too. Not only will be talking about it but we are planning on providing a few online presentations and training sessions. If we get the support from you we will expand to webinars and formal online training. But we cannot take that step unless we get your support. We have reduced the membership fees to $25.00 for 2 years! That is unheard of with all the other associations. We are trying to keep the expenses as low as we can but still provide as much as we can to you. Traveling for training is out of the question for most budgets. So online training will be the next best alternative. We are negotiating with several companies right now to provide you with the best online training we can. I am looking at later this year or the beginning of 2013 to have a conference. We may start off small but we have found a way to present the conference online so those of you who cannot travel can still attend the conference. The technology is there and available to us. What we need you to do is to support our efforts and help guide us. We need volunteers. All this doesn’t happen because 5 people are doing everything, we need your help! The more you help the more we can offer the members. The more members we have the more we can do. The BEST way of getting more members is by word of mouth. We need you to tell others about us. After all $25 for a two year membership is really hard to pass up!

I am looking forward to what I see as an exciting year ahead of us. We want you to be a part of it so please, join the forums and let’s start talking and exchanging ideas!

Thanks, Hayden

Adequate for the Intended Purpose?

By Bob McMicken

Obviously, a camera should be adequate for the intended purpose. How do we define that purpose? How can we test for adequacy? These questions are not easy to answer. There are no universal standards that will cover everyone from a rookie patrol officer to a senior crime scene investigator. However, there are standards which, while by no means universal, will give you a place to start.

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Creating Panorama Photographs in Crime Scenes Using Your Current Camera Equipment

By Hayden B. Baldwin

Panoramas in crime scene work has always been a useful tool in depicting the area near the crime scene or even in the crime scene. In the past the equipment required to create and shoot panoramas was cost prohibitive for most police agencies. Now panoramas can be made with your current camera equipment. Nothing new to buy and the software is available free from various sources. 

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Above photograph byJonathan Warner


Let's All Be Carefull Out There

It is with great sadness that we have to report the loss of a CSI in California.  46-year-old Mary Donahou, a CSI in Stanislaus County, was struck and killed while investigating a drive-by shooting.  Links to news stories are included below.  Remember that safety is always the primary concern while working a scene. Have someone there to watch your back whenever you can.  Treat every firearm as loaded, and re-clear it every time you pick it up. Be extra careful anytime you are working in, or near the roadway.  Remember to take the camera away from your eye when moving- Sounds simple I know!  But I and many others have fallen while moving with the camera pressed to our face to compose a shot.

Daryl W. Clemens

Turlock Journal
News 10
More Stories:

Psychological Considerations

By Mack House

For those who are not aware of the personality changes that take place in this line of work, I would ask this question. Have you ever noticed how “naive” the “newbie” is when he or she first comes on board as the new C.S.I.? If he or she is on your team, then you will observe, first hand, the changes they go through whether it be gradual or accelerated depending on case load and circumstance. How often, in your observation of their newness, have you gone back in time remembering how you were when you first started as a C.S.I.?

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A Tale of Two Flashlights

I have a couple of  lights I'd like to tell you a little bit about.  The first is the Streamlight Stinger DS LED, and the second is the 5.11 "Light for Life".

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Above photo by: Johnathan Lyman

Cell Phones & Tablets

Cell phones are the next big thing in computing.  Phones and tablets have seen explosive growth over the last couple of years starting with the introduction of Apple's iPhone and closely followed by Google's Android operating system.  This is important for a couple of reasons- first, many of our suspects and victims are going to be using these devices, so we are going to want to be able to pull data from them much like we do with standard computer foresics. Second, we can use them for our own purposes. I guarantee that at some point in the near future your field reporting system will be your phone (and/or a tablet that uses the phone for it's internet connection). We are going to be looking at some software that you can use on these devices to assist you in doing your job.

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Copyright © 2012 The International Crime Scene Investigators Association, All rights reserved. 



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