ICSIA Examiner July 2014
Daryl W. Clemens, Editor

From the Editor

It was brought up at the conference, but for those of you who were not there: The time has come for me to step down as newsletter editor. While I have enjoyed working on it over the last dozen years, life and a new rather third shift like schedule have made it hard for me to concentrate on all the things I need to do. When I started as editor I had a number of things to talk about and material lined up for each issue in advance. That time too has passed, and I think it's time for fresh ideas, new insights and a new face on the top of each issue. What's required you ask? Well, here is a short list:
  • A reasonable grasp of the english language, grammar and punctuation. You need not be perfect at these things, few of us are, and the newsletter is reviewed before it is sent out.
  • A computer with internet access. The newsletter is written and sent out from an online provider (mailchimp.com), so you will need to be able to log into the site.
  • Some knowledge of document editing and .html. Most of the actual articles in the newsletter are too big to include in their entirety, so a link is included to a file on the association web site. You need not be a wiz at .html, but you'll need to know how to modify an .html document. (You can use one of the existing articles on the site as a template).
  • Willingness to poke and prod at the members and vendors for articles and photos to use, to search the internet for related materials and to create content as needed to fill each issue.
That's pretty much it. It's really not that hard to do the actual editing, the provider makes it more or less painless. Tracking down the material is a bigger job than the formatting for the most part.

If stepping into this role sounds like something you might be interested in, send us an e-mail at:newsletter@icsia.org
Got comments/questions or want to submit an article for The Examiner?  e-mail me: Daryl W. Clemens

ICSIA's 2015 Conference Announced

New Orleans, Louisiana (Jefferson Parish) 
Welcomes the 2015 ICSIA Conference!!!
May 19th-21st, 2015
More details will be posted on icsia.org as they become available, but make plans now to attend.

CSI work in Belize

by Hayden Baldwin

I recently was hired to assess the forensic capability of Belize, specifically the SOC Unit. CSI’s in Belize are called Scenes of Crimes Technicians (SOCT).  They are currently all civilians and recently separated from being under the police agency. They now work under the National Forensic Science Services along with the Forensic Laboratory and Medical Examiner. They are in the process of rebuilding and reforming to meet international standards. 

Belize is rated as number 2 in the world for homicides per capita but as most stats they can be deceiving. Belize has 150 homicides a year but their population is low. Whereas Jamaica was 1500 a year and ranked number 3 but now are number 12.  So the crime rate is not high in numbers just high because of the number per capita.  Belize is a beautiful country flanked by the ocean on one side and the jungle on the other side with a mountains in the middle. Belize is also many islands which are where most of the tourists go to relax and enjoy the sunshine and beaches. Belize is also rich in culture and history.

Read More

Membership Committee Volunteer

ICSIA is looking for someone to take on the responsibility of handling the membership applications and approval for memberships.  The person volunteering needs to have computer literacy in handling Word files and a database.  This is NOT for those busy with work and family as it requires a little time to fulfill the duties.  Those duties are:
  • Review the membership application to see if the person qualifies and the appropriate fees are included.
  • If the person qualifies then an email is sent to them with a link to a registration page for the members area of the web site.
  • You will receive notification that they have registered an await approval.
  • Once approved they are sent another email with additional information.
  • The membership certificates need to be printed out on a color printer with special document paper.
  • They are then mailed a red cardboard tube containing a certificate, lapel pin, rulers, lanyard, membership card, 3d glasses, and folding checklist card. So trip to the post office is required to mail out the red tubes.
  • At this time International Memberships are not being mailed the red tubes and receive their documents by email.
  • A membership database must be maintained.

All of this will require about 2 hours a week or less from your schedule.
The person volunteering must have a PC Computer, a good quality color printer, file space, storage space for the “goodies” inside the red tubes plus a supply of the red tubes.
ICSIA will pay for shipping, supplies and printer ink.

This is a commitment. This is not a job for someone looking for something to do this year. We are looking for a volunteer for a few years at least.

If you are interested in hearing more or asking questions please do not hesitate to contact us at membership@icsia.org

On the Web- 

By Daryl Clemens

A Guide to Death Scene Investigation, from NIJ
DNA Analysis Exposes Flaws in an Inexact Forensic Science, in the New York Times. Keep in mind people are still looking at everything we do.
Digital Crime-Fighters Face Technical Challenges with Cloud Computing from NIST. The link is a summary, full details via a .pdf file which can be downloaded from that page.

Online Training

ICSIA collaborated with the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Arkansas to produce an online training course: Crime Scene First Responder For The Uniformed Officer

Challenge Coins Available

ICSIA now has metal challenge coins available for purchase among the other logo'd items available via the website. Current cost is $5.00 +shipping.  See them and all the items available for order on our Merchandisepage.

Thirty Years of Change

By Dick Warrington

This article originally appeared in Forensic Magazine®  June/July 2007, Reprinted with Permission.

Have you ever seen a bag phone? That was the early cell phone. And that’s just one example of how technology has changed in the last thirty years. When I first started in crime scene investigation in the late 70s, we did not have digital cameras, camcorders, portable alternative light sources, superglue for processing fingerprints, personal computers, AFIS, or DNA capabilities. In other words, a lot of the technology and products that we now consider essential did not even exist then.

So, how did we get stuff done without the technology? In many ways, it was much more difficult and time consuming, but we used whatever technology was available. For example, we used Polaroid pictures to get instant shots. At one of my first crime scenes, we used a reel-to-reel black and white video unit that weighed about 40 lbs. You needed an extra person just to carry it around. The camera was attached to a six foot cable. A few years later, we switched to camcorders, which were much lighter and recorded in color, but quite large. Now we use digital cameras and digital camcorders that are lightweight, easy to use, and provide high quality images. Using cell phones and PCs, these images can then be transferred immediately back to the office so that other officers can begin their investigation.

Read More
Above photo by: NCinDC(Josh) 

Cell Phones

The big news, of course, is the recent court ruling regarding cell phone search. Basically, phones can no longer be searched incident to arrest. If you think a phone may contain relevant evidence you will need to seize and secure it until a warrant can be obtained.

You can read more about the ruling in this article in the New York Times.
The full opinion is here. (In .pdf format)
Copyright © 2014 The International Crime Scene Investigators Association, All rights reserved.