Investigative Response to a Homicide โ€“ Part 1

By: Bill Cannon

I’ve had a blast getting to know Bill.  His first interview with Criminal Lines Radio was on August 13, 2013  and we discussed Dealing With PTSD in Law Enforcement. On September 12th he made his first appearance via video and was a guest on Crime Writers’ Panel  which included Jim Ault.

The good news for Criminal Lines Radio is he’ll be a regular on the show to give his take on the current issue at hand.

Listed below is a step by step procedure on how a homicide department supervisor coordinates an investigation following the initial call regarding a crime.

Investigative Response to a Homicide

As an investigative supervisor assigned to a homicide squad there is a methodical and controlled response to the scene of a murder. It is important to deploy detectives to specific locations, and to be continuously apprised of the direction and specific results of inquiries. These investigative steps are all duties of the investigative supervisor.

The investigative response begins with a telephone call to the homicide squad and all pertinent information must be first recorded on a memo pad and later typed on a complaint follow up report:

1.      Time of call, method, telephone, radio, in person

2.      Identity of person calling, call back number, name, rank, shield number

3.      Location of incident, address, apartment number, if on street, cross streets.

4.      Cause of death, gunshot, stabbing, blunt trauma, etc.

5.      Identity of deceased, male, female, age, race, clothing description

6.      Evidence on scene, gun, spent shells, knife, etc.

7.      Location of body, on scene, taken to hospital, which hospital?

8.      Time of incident

9.      Witnesses, on scene, at precinct station house, location?

10.    Complete description of incident

Once all of the particulars of the incident are documented the investigative supervisor must respond to the crime scene and deploy personnel. Prior to leaving the office it is good investigative procedure to secure a copy of the 911 printout. The printout is a hard copy of the incident as documented by the police department’s 911 operators.

Investigative resources on the 911 printout include time of occurrence, location of occurrence, nature of occurrence, and names and addresses of all 911 callers.

It is necessary to send detectives to different locations depending on the particulars of the case. And it is always important to deploy detectives to the crime scene, even if the body is not at that particular location.

The time of the arrival to the crime scene should be noted.

It is important for the investigative supervisor to respond to the crime scene so that evidence can be protected, first officers interviewed, and a rough sketch prepared. A crime scene walk through should be conducted with the first officers, noting the time, and paths of entry and exit. The paths of exit and entry are established so as not to over contaminate the crime scene.

Retired Detective Sergeant Bill Cannon

Retired Detective Sergeant Bill Cannon

William Cannon is a former Detective Sergeant who served with the NYPD for nearly twenty-seven years. He’s a professor at Monroe College where he teaches Criminal Justice and was recently interviewed by the Discovery Channel for a documentary called, Women Who Kill. It’s set to air in November 2013.

Related Links:

Criminal Lines Radio With Bill Cannon

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