CSI for the First Responder: A Concise Guide, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

CSI for the First Responder

A Concise Guide, 1st Edition

By Jan LeMay

CRC Press

168 pages | 125 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781439819227
pub: 2010-12-16
Hardback: 9781138426870
pub: 2017-09-11
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429245916
pub: 2017-09-11
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Critical to the successful apprehension and prosecution of criminals, the job of collecting evidence at a crime scene requires knowledge, technical skills, patience, and perseverance. Often this task falls on just one individual — the officer on routine patrol duties who is the first to arrive at the scene of a crime. Written by an expert with seventeen years experience in law enforcement, CSI for the First Responder is a succinct guide on how to secure, search, identify, document, collect, and preserve physical evidence essential for solving a case and making the evidence stand up in court.

A practical, hands-on resource to all aspects of crime scene investigation, this book covers:

  • The approach to the scene
  • Securing the scene
  • Searching for and identifying evidence
  • Documenting the evidence through notes and reports
  • Photography and videotape
  • Sketches and diagrams
  • Collection and preservation
  • The investigative value of different types of evidence
  • Testimony and presenting evidence in court

Enhanced with real-life examples, the book presents case studies implementing the described techniques. The case studies include examples of successful scene security and documentation as well as cautionary tales of erroneous practices with lessons learned. Also included with this book is a Quick Reference Guide on CD-ROM, which can be downloaded to patrol car laptops or printed and kept in a pocket for easy access. Spanning the entire scope of a case from initial discovery of evidence to courtroom presentation, this one-stop resource enables law enforcement to nail down the evidence they need to prove the crime and get the conviction.

Table of Contents

Crime Scene Approach

What Is a Crime Scene?

Securing the Scene

Rendering Aid

Establishing a Perimeter

Legal Considerations to Search and Seizure

Scene Assessment

Scene Search

Crime Scene Documentation




Title box


Floor plan

Elevation diagram

Exploded diagram

Perspective diagram

Methods of Measurement

Rectangular coordinates


Transecting baseline

Azimuth or polar coordinates

Notes and Reports

Collecting Evidence

Process for Latent Prints

Chain of Custody


What Is Evidence?

Direct Evidence

Indirect Evidence

Class Characteristics

Individual Characteristics

Biological Evidence

Scene Safety





Searching for Biological Evidence



Trace DNA

General Collection Tips

Presumptive Tests

Sexual Assault Kits

Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS)

Elimination Samples

Trace Evidence







Plant Material and Seeds



Impression Evidence

Two-Dimensional Impressions

Documenting Two-Dimensional Impressions

Collecting Two-Dimensional Impressions

Three-Dimensional Impressions

Documenting Three-Dimensional Impressions

Choosing the Right Scale

Casting Three-Dimensional Impressions

Tire Impressions, Special Considerations

Tool Marks

Databases and Other Investigative Aids

Firearms Evidence


Understanding Firearms



Individual Characteristics on Bullets

Shell Casings

Shotguns, Shells, and Wadding

National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN)

Gunshot Residue

Handling, Unloading, and Packaging Firearm Evidence




Computer Printers

Paper and Ink Analysis

Indented Writing

Collection and Preservation


Patent Impressions

Latent Impressions

Plastic Impressions

Searching for Fingerprints

Developing and Lifting Fingerprints

Photographing Fingerprints

Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)

Porous Items

Controlled Substances


Drug Identification

Field Tests

Prescription Drug Identification

Death Scene Investigation

Cause and Manner of Death

Jurisdiction over the Body

Postmortem Lividity

Rigor Mortis

Scene Documentation

Law Enforcement’s Role at Autopsy

Courtroom Presentation and Testimony

Preparation and Pretrial Conference

Courtroom Dress and Demeanor

Courtroom Exhibits and Displays

Adversarial System

Case Studies

Case Number 1

Case Number 2

Case Number 3

Case Number 4


About the Author

Jan LeMay has worked in law enforcement for seventeen years. He has served as a corrections officer and patrol officer, but the majority of his service has been spent working in a crime lab as a crime scene specialist and criminalist. He has experience at hundreds of crime scenes and dozens of homicide investigations. He is a member of a number of professional organizations and is board certified through the International Association for Identification as a crime scene analyst, forensic photographer, latent print examiner, and footwear examiner. He is an instructor at the Southern Institute of Forensic Science and the Weld County Law Enforcement Training Academy. He has instructed hundreds of students and law enforcement professionals in crime scene examination and documentation techniques. He has also published numerous articles in law enforcement as well as research projects and case studies in peer-reviewed forensic science journals.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science