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Footprint and Firearm Evidence Processing

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Footprint and Firearm Evidence Processing

Mr. John Single

CJ370:  Crime Scene Investigation II

Instructor:  Mr. Ray Owens, MACJ

December 14, 2004

Footprint Evidence:

Footprints can be found in countless different places and their collection depends on where they are located.  These prints or impressions can be found in dust, mud, sand, and so forth (Fisher & Fisher, 2012).  When investigating incidents wherein foot impressions are found, investigators or examiners should make sure the area is secured to prevent any cross contamination or destruction of the impressions. 

Expectantly, the first law enforcement officer who responded to the scene secured the scene appropriately and did not allow others to enter the scene to prevent the loss of potential evidence that could be the only way to connect the person as the perpetrator.  Before doing anything to the foot impression(s), this or these should be photographed all the way.  An establishing photograph of the scene wherein the impression was found should be taken.  Then photographs where the impression was located need to be taken so they can explain it to those who were not present in the crime scene during court procedures, jury personnel, lawyers, judges, etc…  Close up photographs should be taken without scale as it was found so the details of the impression can be established.  Then photographs with a scale should be taken in order to allow the investigators to ascertain what the size if the impressions are.  During the processing of the impressions measurements should also be taken if there are more than two impressions.  The measurements may yield information about the gait of the person or persons who made the impressions within the scene.  

In order to collect the impression(s), the investigator has to take under consideration if the impressions were found in dust, mud, sand, snow, etc...  There could the possibility that investigator would have to put especial materials in order to conserve the impressions in a specific material.  As an example, if the impression was found in the sand, then the investigator could possibly need to add hair spray in the impression in order to preserve it.  Hair spray would allow the sand or sandy soil to harden in order for the investigator to proceed with the casting material.  Once the investigator is sure that the impression could be collected with dental stone, then he or she needs to mix water with dental stone to a pancake batter consistency.  This can be attained by adding about three parts dental stone to one part of water.  Before pouring the dental mix onto the impression, the investigator should make sure that he or she removes any items which may fall onto the impression such as leaves, tree branches, etc…  Once the investigator pours the casting mix onto the impression and this is getting dry, then the investigator should mark the casting with his or her initials, date, and arrow pointing north before the casting hardens.


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