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Course Catalog

Patrol Response to Violent Crime Scenes


  • Everett C. Babcock
    Special Agent, Oklahoma District Attorney's Office District 22

Course Summary

The success or failure of any criminal investigation is often determined by the actions of the responding officer at a crime scene. This course is specifically directed towards the responsibilities of personnel and supervisors who are the first to arrive at a violent crime scene.  

The training is built around the four responsibilities of a patrol officer arriving at a violent crime scene: 

  • Preserve Life.
  • Identify and / or detain suspects and witnesses.
  • Secure and protect the crime scene.
  • Gather and record information.

The training will provide a basic working knowledge of legal issues such as exigency and other Fourth Amendment issues. Participants will be provided with a better understanding of what “evidence” is and different types. The training will provide a basic review of issues related to first responders at violent crime scenes such as detailed report writing and competent courtroom performance. 

Throughout the class, participants will be shown actual cases in which the objectives to be taught become relevant in the investigation. Participants will be encouraged to interact with the instructor about their theories as to what steps should be taken in the investigation, followed by being shown how the actual investigation developed.

Course Objectives:

  • Understanding the four basic responsibilities of the initial responding officer
  • Recognizing “obvious mortal injury”
  • Understanding “conditions inconsistent with life”
  • Introducing “the mortis family”
    • Algor mortis
    • Livor mortis
    • Rigor mortis
    • Putrefaction
  • Introducing the five stages of decomposition
  • Understanding the most perishable items at a crime scene are witnesses
  • Understanding the reasons for conducting an area canvas
  • Understanding “Locard’s Exchange Principle”
  • Identifying the three significant elements in a “Plain View Doctrine” seizure
  • Understanding the exceptions in which searches without a warrant would be reasonable and constitutional
  • Recognizing the elements for establishing exigent circumstances for home entry.

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