Criminal Investigation: 4th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Criminal Investigation

4th Edition

By Michael J. Palmiotto

CRC Press

313 pages

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Hardback: 9781439882184
pub: 2012-06-25
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Criminal investigators need broad knowledge of such topics as criminal law, criminal procedure, and investigative techniques. The best resource for these professionals will distill the needed information into one practical volume. Written in an accessible style, the fourth edition of Criminal Investigation maintains the same reader friendly approach that made its predecessors so popular with students, professionals, and practitioners.

Beginning with an overview of the history of criminal investigation, the book explores current investigative practices and the legal issues that constrain or guide them. It discusses the wide range of sources of information available, including the internet, individuals, state and local sources, and federal agencies and commissions.

Next, the book discusses other investigative techniques, including interviewing and interrogation, informants, surveillance, and undercover operations. A chapter on report writing provides explicit instructions on how to capture the most critical information needed in an investigation. Additional chapters cover the crime scene investigation and the crime laboratory.

The remainder of the book delves into the specific investigative protocols for individual crimes, including sex offenses, homicide, mass and serial murder, assault and robbery, property crimes, cybercrime, and narcotics. Concluding chapters focus on the police/prosecutor relationship and investigative trends.

Each chapter includes a summary, a list of key terms, and review questions so that readers can test their assimilation of the material. Clear and concise, this book is an essential resource for every criminal investigator’s toolbox.

Table of Contents

Historical Review of Criminal Investigation

Roots of Investigation

Investigations in America

The Role of Patrol Officers

The Modern Investigator

Current Investigative Practices

The Management of Criminal Investigations

The Rand Study

Case Screening


Investigative Function

Crime Analysis

Specialized Units

Relationship with the News Media

Legal Issues


Search and Seizure

Rules of Evidence

Lineups and Identification

Sources of Information


People as Sources

State and Local Sources

Federal Agencies and Commissions

Interviewing and Interrogation




Recording Information

Lie-Detection Methods


Classifying Informants

Evaluating Informants

Working an Informant

Writing Reports and Field Notes

Field Notes


Principles of Report Writing

Surveillance and Undercover Operations


Undercover Operations

Crime Scene Investigation

Protecting the Crime Scene

Searching the Crime Scene

Specialized Scientific Methods

The Crime Laboratory


Purpose of a Crime Lab

Fundamentals of a Crime Lab


Crime Lab Services


New Technologies

Forensic Science Libraries

Central and Regional Labs


Sex Offenses

Aspects of Illicit Sexual Behavior

Classifying Sexual Behavior

Sexual Misadventure Deaths

Sexual Exploitation of Children

Death through Violence



Identifying Bodies

Estimating the Time of Death

Evidence from Cause of Death

Medicolegal Investigation


Mass Murder

Spree Murder

Serial Murder

Lust Murder

Assault and Robbery



Property Crimes

The Nature of Burglary

The Preliminary Investigation

The Follow-Up Investigation


Investigating a Larceny-Theft

Auto Theft

Motor Vehicle Theft Enforcement Act

Crime of Opportunity





Computer Theft


Narcotics and Other Drugs

The Controlled Substances Act

Types of Drugs

Drug-Trafficking Organizations

Money Laundering

Drug Intelligence

Offenders Who Use Drugs

Drug Dependence

Conducting a Drug Investigation

Asset Forfeiture

Preventing Drug Abuse

The Police/Prosecutor Relationship

Case Preparation

Case Screening

Police Liaison with Prosecution

Benefits of an Improved Relationship

Investigative Trends


Private Security Connections

Forensic Science

Forensic Psychology

Augmented Reality


Bias Crimes


About the Author

Michael J. Palmiotto, Ph.D., is a professor of Criminal Justice and undergraduate coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas. He is a former police officer in New York State, serving with the White Plains and Scarsdale Police Departments. He has experience in establishing and operating a police training facility in western Pennsylvania. He has a master’s degree from John Jay College (CUNY) and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Palmiotto has been a faculty member of several universities including Western Illinois University and Armstrong Atlantic State University. Dr. Palmiotto has published ten books, twelve book chapters, and numerous articles on criminal justice and law enforcement. He has published in the areas of criminal investigations, community policing, police misconduct, police globalization, and police training, to name a few topics.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science