Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide  book cover
2nd Edition

Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide

ISBN 9780429254871
Published October 8, 2013 by CRC Press
168 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides protocols for suicide and equivocal death investigation, police action shooting investigations and a homicide supervisor's checklist. It contains state-of-the-art anatomical graphics in full color to assist the investigator in describing any injuries or wounds to the body.

Table of Contents

The Checklist Approach to Homicide Investigation
The Homicide Crime Scene
The Patrol Officer’s Duties
First Officer’s Duties upon Arrival
Patrol Officer Establishing the Crime Scene
The First Officer Initiates the Homicide Investigation
The Patrol Officer’s Checklist
The Preliminary Investigation at the Scene
The Detectives
Prior to Leaving for the Crime Scene, Instruct Patrol to
Arrival at the Scene
The Investigative Checklist
Documentation of the Initial Report
Duties of the Detective Supervisor upon Arrival at the Scene
Specific Investigative Duties at the Scene
The Suspect in Custody
Evaluation of the Suspect’s Demeanor and Mental Capacity
Obtaining a Dying Declaration
Suicide Investigation
Three Investigative Considerations in Determining the
Manner of Death (Homicide or Suicide)
Suicide Notes
Suicide Checklist
Psychological Aspects
Final Exit Suicides
Investigative Checklist for Final Exit Cases
The Plastic Bag
Suicide-By-Cop Scenarios
Some Suicide Indicators
Autoerotic Fatalities
Investigative Considerations
Autoerotic Checklist: Determining the Involvement of
Sexual Asphyxia
Investigative Fatal Fires Checklist
Investigative Considerations
The Fire Incident
Suspicious Designation: General Determination Factors
Maintenance of the Fire Crime Scene
Investigation at the Scene
Determination of Arson
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS )
Investigative Checklist
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Warning Signs
Crime Scene Documentation
Documentation of Crimes Scene Photographs
Recommended Crime Scene Photographs
Photographs of Deceased Subjects
Videotape Protocol
Taping Protocol Checklist
Documentation of the Crime Scene Sketch
The Title Block
Formulating the Search
Examination of the Outdoor Crime Scene
Investigative Questions
Examination of the Body at the Scene
The Wound Chart
Gunshot Wounds
Cutting Wounds
Blunt Force Injuries
Asphyxial Deaths
Recommendations and Guidelines for Proper
Death Notifications to Surviving Family
Sex-Related Homicide Investigation
Investigative Considerations
The Crime Scene Investigation
Sex-Related Crime Scene Checklist
Medicolegal Considerations
Examination of the Crime Scene
Descriptive Information
Anatomical Figures
Supervisor’s Homicide Checklist
Supervising the Preliminary Investigation at the Scene:
The Checklist
Directing Specific Investigative Duties
Supervising a Homicide Crime Scene Search
Crime Scene Considerations
Release of the Body
Release of the Crime Scene
Investigation of Police-Related Shootings
Officer-Involved Shootings (OIS s) and Use of Deadly Force
The Protocol
Investigation of OISs and Use of Deadly Force
Supervisory Responsibilities—Checklist
Incident Scene Investigator(s)—Checklist
Interview of Employee(s) Involved
Follow-Up Investigation
Background Investigation
Preparation of Investigative Report
Appendix: Procedures for the Collection of Evidence
Collection of Specific Types of Evidence
Body Materials
Blood Stains (Dry)
Spittle or Saliva
Cigarette or Cigar Butts
Displaced Furniture
Documents (Letters, Notes, and Papers)
Tool Marks
Newly Damaged Areas
Collection of Bite-M ark Evidence at the Scene
Blood Stain Pattern Analysis (Examination of Blood Spatter)
Crime Scene Collection of Electronic and
Digital Evidence
Investigative Considerations
Additional Investigative Considerations
Cellular Phones

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Commander Vernon Geberth is a retired lieutenant commander of the New York City Police Department with over 40 years of law enforcement experience. He is a nationally renowned lecturer, author, educator, consultant, and expert witness on the subject of death investigation. He has appeared on numerous local, national, and international television programs to answer questions on the subject of murder and provide insight, analysis, and commentary with respect to all aspects of homicide and death investigations. Geberth has been referenced as a media consultant on myriad national major cases across the United States and Canada. Over 69,500 members from over 8,000 law enforcement agencies have attended Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation seminars. In his seminars, Geberth focuses on his textbooks stressing advanced tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques and presents equivocal death, suicide, and missed investigations as well as serial murder investigation and the application of abnormal psychology to the investigative process.


"There are many practical recommendations made in this field guide that will contribute to thorough, quality investigations. I personally highly recommend that dedicated homicide cops avail themselves of this invaluable resource."
— Det. Mark Czworniak, Violent Crimes Unit, Area North Detective Bureau, Chicago Police Department

"Using these checklists will ensure that a proper and complete investigation is undertaken at the death scene. … As a former Deputy Chief of the NYPD working in the Office of the Chief of Detectives, I would encourage and recommend that detectives who are charged with the responsibility of conducting death investigations have this Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist & Field Guide, Second Edition in their hands at the scene of the crime.
—Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Ret.), Office of the Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department 

" … should be required equipment for every cop."
— Lt. Larry Hallmark, Criminal Investigation Division, Grapevine Police Department, Grapevine, Texas

"I have owned and utilized the first edition of the Checklist and Field Guide for many years in my career of homicide investigations and rely on it for almost every investigation. The second edition has brilliantly expanded on the "best practice" philosophy and incorporated explanations, references, and full color medicolegal illustrations to make the information and principles easily understood. … The addition of the medicolegal illustrations and inclusions for electronic and digital evidence is an example of Vernon Geberth’s dedication to providing the most current information available to advancing technologies. indexed and laid-out in a logical and chronological order to quickly reference the material and guide the reader through a checklist of considerations and techniques that are instrumental to insure a proper and complete investigation."
—Sgt. Mark Reynolds, General Investigations Division, Homicide Unit, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston, Texas, USA

" … sets the standard for homicide investigations with examples, algorithms, options to consider, and tasks to perform. … built for the rigors of the field with laminated pages, wire spiral binding, and large print. … I would recommend the Practical Homicide Investigation: Checklist and Field Guide, Second Edition for anyone who is responsible for processing, investigating, supervising, or prosecuting homicides."
—Sheriff Heath Taylor, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Phenix City, Alabama

"This newly revised Practical Homicide Investigation Checklist and Field Guide is one of the most useful tools that an investigator can utilize at the scene of an unattended death. … a no-nonsense practical approach from Mr. Geberth, who is considered The Master of practical death investigations."
—Anny Sauvageau, Chief Medical Examiner, Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

" … a comprehensive and easy to use companion to Lieutenant Commander Geberth’s definitive texts on medicolegal death investigation, Practical Homicide Investigation, Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques and Sex-Related Homicide Death Investigation. This step-by-step guide provides checklists highlighting the key points necessary for the thorough investigation of many different death scenarios. The elegant color illustrations and diagrams are also very useful references. … an invaluable resource for law enforcement officers and all crime scene and medicolegal death investigators."
—Barbara C. Wolf, M.D., District Medical Examiner District 5, Florida

"Whether you are a long time veteran or rookie cop this field guide is a must have tool for your day to day operations. … Vernon is a true professional and will not steer you wrong, add this to your investigative library today."
—Sgt. Sam Todd (Ret.) Kent, Ohio Police Dept.

"Simply put, if you aren't using the principles and methods taught in these text books you're probably doing it wrong. Vernon's ability to get your attention, keep it and then have you retain the information is top shelf to say the least. The information is written in such a manner that a rookie patrol officer could very easily take the checklist to an active crime scene, employ the techniques and principles provided within and then later testify in court as to what he did and why."
— Det. Jeff Locklear, Police Specialist, Fayetteville Police Homicide

" … very practical with its color illustrations and pages which are weather proof and also writeable. No agency should be without them."
—Marvin Skeen, Chief Criminal Investigator, Office of Attorney General State of Washington, Homicide Investigation Tracking System