Using a Holistic Approach to Completing an Investigation

Jonathyn W. Priest

Abstract:  A challenge for the law enforcement officer is ensuring a complete and thorough investigation. Complete investigations do not depend on a single characteristic or lone investigative technique. The complete investigation requires the multiple disciplines and abilities of the investigative team. Adequate crime scene analysis and reconstruction, forensic testing, effective interview and interrogation, and analytical skills each contribute to the whole investigation. When investigators ignore or neglect procedures, discontinue or slow an inquiry upon arresting an offender, or fail to examine all aspects of a case, they might not realize the victory of a successful prosecution. Investigators frequently experience feelings of accomplishment during the beginning of an investigation, the efforts to get resolution, and ultimate capture of a suspect. Occasionally, however, the investigator has a sensation similar to the one of elation, but it is actually desolation. This unfortunately occurs when a case fails at trial secondary to an inadequate or incomplete investigation.

This article is restricted to Members Only and is available in the Winter 2011 Issue of the Journal of the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction