By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Daily Republican
Detective Kozlowski explains how to collect evidence and process the crime scene with additional tips throughout the evening.

Editor

BPD detectives explained the process involved in a CSI situation last session. For this evening, detectives came back to class on and set us the task of processing a crime scene. The class was divided into two groups and each group was taken to a different room, which had been staged into a crime scene. Each room had most of the same evidence scattered around, one room had a few additions to the evidence.

We all began with the same information, a frantic mother who had been unable to contact her son, went into his room and saw drugs and other suspicious stuff so she called the police. The patrol officer who had arrived first on the scene called in the detective division to process the evidence.

Then we, as crime scene detectives, showed up. (Our practical experience? Watching crime fiction shows on TV.) Happily, each group had a detective to guide us through the process. Detective Delavan and Detective Kozlowski worked with us as we processed the rooms.

As the CSI photographer, I began taking pictures before even setting foot in the room, documenting the scene from the doorway, each side of the room and each corner of the room. My backup (a crime scene investigator never enters a scene alone regardless of what is shown on TV) helpfully pointed out evidence I should be documenting more thoroughly.

Only when that had been completed did the rest of the team enter to examine and collect evidence. Equipped with gloves and evidence bags, they waited patiently while one person sketched the scene, placing each piece in the correct spot. As each person went to work, each piece of evidence was labeled on a list along with the name of the person who collected it. The evidence was placed into numbered and labeled evidence bags as the photographer continued to document everything happening.

Beginning the process of learning to fingerprint a counterfeit bill.

Detective Kozlowski, who has been with the BPD for 12 years and a detective for three years, gave many helpful tips and continued to direct and supervise my group. We located a ‘dead’ body in the back of the room, partially hidden by cardboard boxes. Trajectory rods, and a laser sighter determined that the ‘bullet’ holes in the box lined up (more or less) with what wounds we could find on the body.

When the body was moved, a gun was found, and that was also photographed, and documented both on the sketch and into evidence.

As the CSI team gathered the evidence bags and left the room, the photographer took more pictures documenting the state of the room when the team had completed their work.

The pieces of evidence we located included: three soda cans – all different brands; numerous bullet casings of various calibers (no bullet holes were found in the room); a $100 bill by a small scale; a $20 bill on a table by three lines of a crystalline substance; brass knuckles behind the door; a funky looking state ID; a cell phone; a brochure with signs of writing on it; a piece of paper on floor; a short piece of wire which may be evidence or a sign that someone missed cleaning it up; a wadded up piece of duct tape; a piece of duct tape placed loosely on the edge of a desk; a piece of duct tape peeled off the mouth of the dead body; a cardboard box with bullet holes; and a gun.

Everything went back to our ‘lab’ in the training room to be processed further.

A bright color of fingerprint powder is used to pull prints from dark objects

The teams promptly set to finding fingerprints on the evidence. Fingerprint powder comes in black, red, orange, pink, silver, grey, white, and magnetic. The color used will be in contrast with the evidence being dusted (black powder will not show up well on a black surface) and at the preference, training, and knowledge of the user.

Orange powder was used to dust the grip of the gun; magnetic powder was tried on the brass knuckles; and black powder on the fake driver’s license ID. Lift pads were used to pull prints and place them onto print cards. The currency found in the two rooms was, in reality, confiscated counterfeit…

For complete article, pick up the April 11 Belvidere Daily Republican.