Protocol for processing a crime scene for physical evidence
By Hayden B. Baldwin


 The protocol is based on ICSIA’s Crime Scene Processing Protocol.

Interview, examine, photograph, sketch and process


  1. Obtain all information regarding the scene in question. (who, what, how, where)
  2. Examine the scene to get an overall view of the scene and make thorough notes of your observations of the exterior and interior condition of the scene.
  3. Photograph the entire scene, including the secondary area of scene.
  4. Use a scene diagram to document the size of the scene, relationship to objects and to identify where evidence was recovered.
  5. Process the scene for physical and testimonial evidence.
    1. Non destructive to destructive methods.
    2. Examine the scene with a white light, and forensic light source.
    3. Shoe prints are extremely important to all scenes both 2D and 3D
    4. Identify and process items associated to the scene.
    5. Recover trace evidence by taping the objects.
    6. Photograph and recover by swabbing or removing any suspicious stains.

                                                              i.      Blood marks, patterns

                                                            ii.      Seminal or Vagina Fluid

                                                          iii.      Other suspicious stains.

    1. Swab the textured surfaces for DNA potential.
    2. Process scene for latent and patent prints.

                                                              i.      Superglue fume non-porous objects if possible.

                                                            ii.      Use contrasting powders to process for ridge detail.

                                                          iii.      Photograph all prints prior to recovering them.

                                                          iv.      Lift the prints and properly mark the backer cards with exhibit number, case information and where the lift was recovered.

1.      If using fluorescent powder mark the lifts with “FLO”

2.      Always indicate on lift with an arrow the direction of up or away from you for proper viewing orientation.

    1. Chemical process when required for blood patterns and latent prints.
  1. Package all evidence in paper, properly mark and seal before you leave the scene.

 The scene to be processed must be cordoned and secured properly to preserve the integrity of the evidence.

We recommend a Crime Scene Log to identify who was in the scene, when and why.

Always consider the Secondary Scene.

 Elimination prints (Major case prints) must be obtained from those who have legal access to the scene and if bodily fluid is found then elimination DNA should also be collected.


For a printed document of this click here.