COVID may have reduced travel, hospitality, education and entertainment, but crime scene investigations never stop.
As Forensic scientist, Researchers and lecturers, I know the risks and challenges directly Investigation of crime scene The (CSI) team has faced the past two years as it has tackled the reality of operations in the threat of COVID.
CSI units present unique challenges because they often work for long periods of time in crowded areas of investigators. Surprisingly, however, there have been few adjustments to existing crime scene procedures so far.
When COVID first appeared, the guidelines were immediate Introduced and Country range Forensic autopsy of COVID-positive cases and handling of infected biological samples, but not for the more general CSI protocol.
How do CSI teams need to be protected?
One possibility is for the CSI team Existing protection measures Used for chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear incidents.
These measures were developed in response to widespread concerns about terrorism that began to emerge in the 1990s, primarily following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
However, these safety measures are burdensome, time consuming, costly, and not always useful when dealing with viruses, especially for local and regional law enforcement agencies.
For example, officers dealing with the identification of potentially toxic war agents require equipment that is much bulkier than the standard PPE used to prevent COVID infections.
Also, keep in mind that the role of law enforcement agencies includes not only identifying, securing and providing evidence in criminal courts, but also many other tasks such as crime prevention and public order and morals. In an ideal world, each police station has its own specialized forensic agent. However, the reality is that police officers are trained in all tasks, including collecting forensic evidence, especially in small cities and remote areas.
During the 2020 blockade, minor crimes such as robbery and car theft decreased around the world. However, serious crimes such as murder and domestic violence did not decrease.
In fact, COVID has definitely created a new type of incident to investigate. Suspicious death in hotel quarantine..
COVID still seems to be with us for a while. So what’s the best way to protect your CSI team in an affordable and practical way?
COVID-Safe Crime Site
One of the places to look for ideas so far is Italy. record 5.6 million COVID cases and about 140,000 deaths.
With Enrico di Luis of the Italian Military Police Institute in Messina’s Forensic Biology, I Release The world’s first set of recommendations to enable forensic operations in various phases of crime scene management, from on-site evidence gathering to laboratory analysis.
Simply put, the recommendations are:
- CSI call policy.. To ensure maximum preparation, operations call center staff should be trained to seek information on the health of the victim and others involved in the incident, such as travel history and contact history.
- Equipment preparation and hygiene.. Objects contaminated at the crime scene can spread to other members of the CSI team. To prevent this, team members should be provided with their own set of equipment, such as briefcases, evidence boxes, chemical reagent sets, and UV flashlights. Disposable materials and tools should be treated as medical waste and placed in designated areas of the crime scene. Reusable items need to be disinfected with disinfectant or bleach at the crime scene and re-sterilized upon return to headquarters by mechanical or chemical disinfection or heat sterilization in an oven called an autoclave. This should be done in a dedicated room by staff wearing the appropriate PPE.
- walking group.. The CSI team must be able to maintain independent forensic abilities, including at least experts in the fields of forensic biology, fingerprint analysis, and photography. In addition, one team member can take on the task of a team leader. This is the only viable way to maintain a fully operational team. Officers should be organized into small, non-exchangeable teams. This allows if one or more members of one team get sick, another team can intervene without risk.
- On-site procedure.. Regardless of the scenario, CSI operators should consider all crime scenes as “hot zones.” It is very important to limit the number of operators that are always present in a room or small space. Proposed a new general layout. crime The scene can be divided into different areas, such as a one-way entry / exit path or a dedicated “clean area”.
- A series of management.. The correct management process for evidence is crucial for any forensic case. However, different types of evidence can have different infections and often need to be processed in different laboratories, different staff, or different time frames. In the past, details such as time and exact location were rarely included in regular traceability records, but now they should. These details are very important in tracking the movement of potentially contaminated items.
Quote: The crime doesn’t stop because of COVID. How should investigators at the crime scene be protected? (January 14, 2022) January 14, 2022 Obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-crime-wont-covid-scene.html
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