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Furthering understanding of forensic units: a detailed examination of Knoxville police department's crime scene unit

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018

Since a lack of national standards for crime scene units and the nature of law enforcement organizations in the United States resulted in the independent development of crime units, each with independently developed standard operations, collection procedures, and preservation methods, with no uniform professional standards as to how this crucial evidence should be handled. The purpose of the current study was to fill this gap through the exploration, collection, and analysis of data related to the operations of the forensics unit of the Knoxville Police Department.


Findings from this research were compared to the standards recommended by the National Institute of Justice (2009), as well as to standards developed through prior research on characteristics that resulted in effective crime scene investigation (Kelty, Julian, & Robertson, 2011; Ludwig, Edgar, & Maguire, 2014). Lastly, findings of the current research were compared to those of Rausch’s (2015) study that assessed the standards, education levels, training, and national certification of forensics units across the United States. Comparing the current and previous data allowed recommendations to be developed that would contribute to improvement in crime scene unit operations. The program evaluation that sought to identify key components and policies of the unit that contribute to unit effectiveness and efficiency and included both qualitative and quantitative information collected in multiple stages. Perceptions of the “users” of the unit were assessed to determine user perception of the effectiveness of the unit. Additionally, information on the effectiveness and efficiency of unit processes, unit outcomes, and relevant factors that serve to influence unit performance were examined. (Publisher abstract provided)


Date Published: December 1, 2018