This article explains the origin, development, and goals of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) series of guides on investigative techniques in general and for specific types of offenses.
The first of the publications, "Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator" (1997) has been so well received that some States are requesting hundreds of copies. The next guides in the series are entitled "Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement" and "Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement." The guides are authored by experts who represent police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, forensic scientists, and researchers from the United States and Canada. Many of the participants were recruited through NIJ's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, which identified participants employed by agencies large and small, rural and urban. The goal of the project, which is administered by the Investigative and Forensic Sciences Program at NIJ's Office of Science and Technology, is to "raise the bar of the quality of evidence for law enforcement in the future." The guides are intended for training use in the following areas: death investigations, eyewitness evidence collection and preservation, crime scene investigation, and arson and bombing scene investigation.