Investigation Tips

  • Secure the stuff in your squad

    13

    No one goes into a shift expecting to wrap their squad around a pole, get t-boned in an intersection, or get whacked by some idiot in a real-end wreck, but as we know all too well, it can — and doe...

  • Searching cell phones for criminal evidence

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    Earlier this month, I attended a class on gang activity and gang interdiction led by a Sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department Street Crimes Unit. My instructor works a gang unit in a secto...

  • Steps to ensure good management of a homicide scene

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    Homicide scenes are wrought with chaos and swirling emotions. Whether they are the emotions of the victims’ family members, or in the event of a fallen police officer, the emotions may be those of ...

  • Cracking a computer case

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    Criminals use computers for all manner of nefarious activities — this is not news — from arranging meetings between Johns and prostitutes, to distributing illegal pornography, to advertising the sa...

  • Getting to the unknown unknowns

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    — From an interview with Assistant Chief (ret.) Dale Ferranto“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know ...

  • Five tips for successful criminal interrogation

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    Sgt. Steve Schrimpf of the Greeley (Colo.) Police Department has spent years conducting interviews and criminal interrogations. Schrimpf was a Police Officer in Albuquerque from 1991-1994, spent fi...

  • Make your own 'luck' in cracking cases

    By Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Senior Editor — From an interview with NYPD Lieutenant (ret.) Tom Joyce“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” — Ralph Waldo EmersonWe often...

  • Finding the mobile phone number of your suspect

    6

    By Tom Joyce, Lieutenant (Ret.), NYPDAs told to PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug WyllieMany people don’t even have a land-line phone anymore, but the mobile carriers do not share information about thei...

  • Addressing video evidence at trial

    Val Van Brocklin says that for any video evidence used at trial, law enforcement officials ought to expect the following questions from the defense: When and how was the recording made? Who was in ...

  • Volatility of digital evidence

    1

     Digital data are stored in various forms (random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), hard drives, and other magnetic or optical media) and are subject to inadvertent alteration, degradati...

  • Take Time to Observe

    4

    As a police officer for a major railroad, I work alone 90 percent of the time. When investigating suspicious activity or persons, before I go charging in I try to observe them and their activity fr...

  • Remote check on vehicle movement

    7

    During surveillance, you can check, unobserved, whether a vehicle has moved and returned to its usual parking space by using binoculars to note the positions of the valve stems on the wheels. Note ...

  • Scope it out

    3

    As police and corrections officers, we transport prisoners every day inside and outside our secured facilities. One thing that can help us on the outside is "scoping out" our various destinations b...

  • Cell phone data mining

    4

    Cell phone seizures can be a great investigatory tool. Data may be retained on the telephone itself, in removable media, or at the service provider. It's important to note that information held by ...

  • Check MySpace.com for intel

    25

    Me and a department buddy always check www.MySpace.com for local intel. You will find all sorts of things on their pages, such as upcoming MIP parties, etc, but more importantly, you can gather inf...

  • Safe tactical response to an unknown subject at a robbery scene

    7

    Download the video Download Windows Media Player What’s the appropriate tactical response when you respond to a convenience store robbery, someone blasts out of the door, claims he's a cop and star...

  • Interviewing rape victims

    Download the video Download Windows Media Player In this week’s PoliceOne Video Tip of the Week, provided by the Law Enforcement Training Network (LETN), an expert investigator of sexual assaults s...

  • Drug concealment reminder

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    Twice I have found drugs on suspects that other officers have patted down. They used tape to hide drugs inside their shirt sleeves near the hem. It's easy to miss this during a quick pat down. I al...

  • What would you do?

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    Download the video Download Windows Media Player This week’s video training tip, provided by the Law Enforcement Training Network, explores three response options to a “man with a gun” call involvi...

  • Using a digital audio recorder

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    I find that a digital audio recorder is a great piece of equipment to have. It can serve as a helpful investigative tool to record field interviews, dying declarations at a moment's notice, or to h...

  • Entry Weapon Choices

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    Video:  Broadband  Dialup Download Windows Media Player In this tip from the Police Officers Safety Association (POSA), Training Director Ralph Mroz explores the pros and cons of the traditional us...

  • Using props in vehicle stop training

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    Video: Broadband  Dialup Download Windows Media Player In this week's PoliceOne Video Tip, Trainer Gary Monreal from the New Berlin (WI) PD, explains how using props during traffic stop training ca...

  • Make sure you've got a quick exit

    13

    During a traffic stop, keep your car door ajar. If an occupant of the vehicle you have stopped gets out and points a gun at you, or begins running at you, you only need to push your door open. The ...

  • Concealment alert: Search handhelds

    1

    If you find a suspect to be in possession of any electronic devices during an arrest, be aware that the interior of the device (battery compartments, accessible interior areas, memory card slots, e...

  • Pause, observe and listen at domestic disturbances

    A tactic that I find useful for domestic disturbances is after parking away from the location and making a tactical approach, pause near a window and, if possible, take a look inside to see what yo...

  • More on hats & building searches

    In addition to removing your hat prior to a building search (see related tip), some officers I know will leave their hat just outside the door they used to enter the structure. This way, if more of...

  • Hats and building searches

    If you wear a hat of any type on patrol and you must perform a search of a location for a suspect, take it off. The brim will hide the suspect if he's above you. Even if you know to look up, the br...

  • Watch for hidden sharp objects

    Razorblades, needles, and other small, sharp objects can be hidden easily...even on the head. These tiny, yet potentially deadly, weapons are hidden/taped behind suspects' ears, under bangs, or on ...

  • Drug concealment in carpeted rooms

    1

    I was booking a person who by trade was a carpet layer. He told me that while he was replacing carpet in a nearby low-budget motel, he found that the carpet in every room was pulled up in every cor...

  • Seat belt safety

    1

    When on patrol, I always wear my seatbelt. However, there are times when it is tactically necessary to take it off. I take it off whenever I am checking behind a business or going through an alley ...

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