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Making a Case for Better Scene Management

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 35 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 84,86,88
Shannon Turner
Date Published
March 2008
4 pages
This article describes the features of crime-scene management software purchased by the Hanover County (Virginia) Sheriff's Office (HCSO) in the wake of the inadequacies exposed from HCSO's investigation of a crime scene connected to the multiagency Washington, DC sniper investigation in 2002.
In 2004, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) issued a report on the DC sniper investigation that identified the many challenges agencies involved had faced. The report identified the three greatest challenges as determining the size of the crime scene, managing and controlling law enforcement personnel and the media, and coordinating the resources of different agencies. When the report was released, the HCSO reviewed it and used its recommendations in developing a plan for the management of future critical incident crime scenes. In 2005, HCSO issued a call to software vendors across the country for a system that would give structure and organization to its emergency management procedures. The HCSO chose FileOnQ's (located in Seattle, WA) EvidenceOnQ software, because it is pliable and can meet the unique needs of each user. The home screen is designed to the specifications of the individual agency and is customized to its functions within that agency. Every field on the database screen is user-configured, searchable, and can be modified by the user administrator. The EvidenceOnQ system is housed on a laptop computer, which can be used at any designated command post. The EvidenceOnQ system meets the goal criteria for a critical incident management system recommended in the PERF report on the DC sniper investigation. It addresses planning and preparation, defining roles and responsibilities, managing information efficiently, and maintaining effective communication. Because the EvidenceOnQ system is used by personnel daily, they will not have to learn a new system in the midst of a crisis.