Criminal Investigation What It Takes To Become A Successful Investigator Mid-Term Essay Exam Criminal investigation is a very tedious job, becoming an investigator shouldn’t be just based on experience, there is so much more to the practice. Investigators should have a certain type of personality, also their mental state will come into play, so will the ability to inquire about information and then knowing how to use the information that has been provided.
Investigators greatest weapon is optimal mindset due to the fact that it is the fixed mental attitude and disposition which in turn helps predetermine the responses and interpretations of a situation. Attitude and interpretation are key qualities and investigator must possess, but there is much more that is needed to be a successful investigator. Qualities that they should have in addition to the two referenced above would be intelligence, reasoning abilities, curiosity, imagination, observation and memory.
Another great quality that investigators should have would be to possess the ability to recognize and control any thoughts or actions that may be prejudice or biases, while at a crime scene or in court (Osterburg, 2007). When investigators enter into a crime scene it is important that they do so with an open mind-set, this will help them to collect information from any witnesses and/or victims, physical evidence and to seek more information or evidence to solve the crime.
Investigators should question the details of the case and/or evidence, because it will help them to reflect back on all information that has been collected throughout the investigation. Many people assume that an investigators job is primarily searching for evidence, but what they fail to realize is there’s a lot more to it than that. For starters the most important and critical tasks is being able to inquire about information from all different types of sources, that were either at the scene or knew about the crime.
Inquiry is looking for information on something either through what they already know, questioning from interrogations or interviews, or by researching. Investigators should look to get answers to six firsthand questions, who committed the crime? , What happened leading up to, during and after the crime? , Where did the crime take place? (Is there another possible crime scene or additional scenes), When was the crime committed? , Why was the crime committed? , and How was the crime committed?.
These answers are usually obtains through either an interview or interrogation, there is quiet a difference between the two; an interview is when questions are being asked to a victim or witness in a relaxed environment in hopes of gathering information; interrogation is when they are trying to get a confession from a suspect and it is usually informal and rough. Researching is used to inquire about past crimes that are similar to the crime being investigated. Scientific method within a criminal investigation is “a way of observing, thinking about, and solving problems objectively and systematically”. Osterburg, 2007) During an investigation process investigators use the following scientific methods; Induction reasoning which is used to specify information to help produce a general conclusion, deduction is a generalization that moves to a specific conclusion or fact, classification is the arrangement of objects into categories that have similar traits, synthesis combining separate parts that lead towards a conclusion, analysis it examines information to sort the relevant data into parts that will be studied further, hypothesis the examination of collected data to form a tentative guess, theory the thoughts of assumptions chosen to fit knowledge of observation, A Priori is based on cause and effect, and a posteriori is based on facts that are acquired from experience or experimentation to form general principles. These are steps that play roles in reconstructing a crime scene as well as assisting investigators with getting to the conclusion of a crime.
In order for investigators to solve crimes there are sources that need to be used; forensics, people: suspects, witnesses and informants, records and files and surveillance. (Osterburg, 2007) These sources play very important roles in any criminal investigation, if they are not used or if they are used incorrectly it can make or break the investigation. Investigators have to be able to sort through everything in order to get all the information that is needed for the case. Forensic science is separated into two different categories; criminalistics and forensic medicine. Criminalistic covers many different areas such as: wet chemistry, instrumental chemistry, fire arms and tool marks, questioned documents, fingerprints, photography, lie detection and voice spectroscopy. Osterburg, 2007) the information gathered from these different areas can tell an investigator a lot about the crime scene, victim, and/or offender(s). Forensic medicine consists of: Pathology, serology, toxicology, odontology, and psychiatry. (Osterburg, 2007) Investigators rely on forensic scientist to assist with the forensic medicine and criminalistic areas. People can hold a great deal of information regarding a crime, as long as the investigator asks the right questions and the person is willing to give the information. Investigators turn to witnesses, victims, suspects or their family and friends, or an informant for any type of information regarding the crime that is being investigated at that time. The most reliable people would be the victim(s) and/or witness(s).
Records and files come in many different forms such as birth certificates, educational records, DMV records, medical records, and financial records. Information gathered from these types of records help with learning more about a person, their life and their habits. Surveillance is a source that is used in small portions because it is expensive to conduct. There are many types of surveillance that are each used for several different reasons. The most popular types are fixed, moving and technical surveillance. Fixed surveillance also known as a stake out, this is used when a surveillant is in one location keeping watch or in an area where crime occurs often. Moving surveillance is when a suspect is kept within sight.
Technical surveillance is when a surveillant is using a scientific or technical device to help them see and/ or hear more clearly. Criminal investigators have a very full and detailed job that is why agencies look into many different aspects of a potential investigator. Investigators must have proper mind-set, personality, attitude and knowledge to be successful criminal investigator. Investigators should know the methods of inquiry and the importance of each method, they must utilize all sources that are available. Their job is intense, but fulfilling at the same time, when court proceedings are over and a conviction is made the investigator should have a sense of accomplishment.