An Introduction to Postmortem Interval
In this module the student will learn the importance of understanding Postmortem Interval to assist in making the decision to commence resuscitation efforts at the crime scene. This module, however, will not cover being able to determine the time of death.
The Science of Postmortem Interval
A basic understanding of the changes in the human body postmortem are introduced in this module.
Obvious Signs of Death (The Mortises)
The four mortises are discussed in this module, which represent some of the obvious signs of death.
Other Recognizable Signs of Death
Several of the less commonly known yet also recognizable signs of death are introduced in this module.
Pronouncement of Death
While a later module will detail the subject of the methodical process of declaring death, this module examines the importance of maintaining evidence once death is declared.
This module is an introduction to the Guidelines promulgated by the American Institute of Crime Scene Integrity, as well as how they can be incorporated into the protocols and procedures of an organization.
A comprehensive reference to the definitions that are contained in the Guidelines and the education program.
Conduct of the First Responder
The conduct of the first responder is important on all scenes. This module details the heightened awareness of the importance of the first responders’ conduct on a crime scene or the scene of an unattended death.
Scene Safety on a Crime Scene
First responders are taught from the beginning of their education the importance of scene safety. This module covers the heightened awareness that is necessary on crime scenes and death scenes because of the increase potential for danger to the first responders and to the rest of the public.
First responders understand the importance of victim resuscitation, which is only secondary to scene safety. This module emphasis the importance of maintaining the integrity of evidence on the scene when resuscitative efforts are attempted.
Declaration of Death
Many jurisdictions allow first responders to declare death when certain conditions are met. This module details the methodical process that should be followed when death is to be declared.
Do Not Resuscitate Orders
Do not resuscitate orders are regulated by each state. This module teaches some of the common aspects of these orders, while stressing the importance of the first responder understanding the provisions of these orders in their state.
The jurisdiction of a scene where a death has occurred can be different from state to stare. This module teaches the various types of death investigation systems and stresses the importance of understanding the system that is used in the first responder’s jurisdiction.
This module teaches some of the most important aspects of evidence preservation on a crime scene or a death scene and discusses how the evidence should be safeguarded.
Motor Vehicle Collision Scenes
A motor vehicle collision scene is one of the most common scenes responded to by the first responder. This module teaches the importance of treating these scenes like a crime scene when serious injury or death occurs, as well as preserving the evidence on these scenes.
This module teaches the importance of maintaining the integrity of the evidence contained on the scene of a suspected suicide and the importance of treating all suspected suicide scenes as crime scenes.
Sudden Unexplained Infant Death
An infant death scene is a difficult scene when encountered by a first responder. These scenes are still incorrectly referred to as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) scenes by many first responders. This module teaches the importance of using the term sudden unexplained infant death (SUID) and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the evidence contained on these scenes.
Drug Overdose Scenes
Drug overdose scenes are increasing in occurrence with the current opioid crisis in this country. Many of these scenes can be dangerous to the first responder. This module teaches some of the important considerations when on the scene of a drug overdose.
Sexual Assault Scenes
Sexual assault scenes and a sexual assault victim require special consideration and handling. This module teaches the important considerations when attending to a sexual assault victim.
Each state has mandatory reporting requirements for individuals subjected to abuse. Many jurisdictions also have local reporting requirements. This module explores some of the important aspects of mandatory reporting.
Mass Casualty Scenes
Mass casualties can result from natural disasters or they can be man-made. Once a mass casualty has been discovered and declared, operational considerations change. The implementation of triage protocols and the declaration of death within those protocols are important for the first responder. This module explores many of the important aspects of mass casualty scenes.
Active Shooter Scenes
Active shooter incidents have received increased attention in recent years, particularly with the increased incidents of shootings at schools where children are the victims. This module teaches some of the important aspects of the first responders’ response to these scenes.
The integrity of evidence at a fire scene is important. This is particularly true if there is a death or serious injury caused by the fire. When this occurs, or when there is the possibility arson was involved, the scene should be treated as a crime scene. This module explores some of the aspects of maintaining the integrity of the evidence on a fire scene.
Public Transportation Accident Scenes
The jurisdiction and investigation of a public transportation accident scene is typically that of a federal agency. The importance of maintaining the integrity of the evidence on these scenes by first responders until an investigating agency has control of the scene is addressed in this module.
Military Accident Scenes
Some areas of the country have higher concentrations of military activity than other parts of the country. However, a military accident can occur anywhere in the country and the first responder should be aware of the special considerations when responding at one of these scenes. This module teaches those considerations.
Secondary Crime Scene – Hospital
When the victim of a crime is transported to a hospital, some of the evidence of the crime can be transported with the victim resulting in a secondary crime scene. This module teaches some of the important considerations of evidence preservation when transporting the victim of a crime to a hospital.
Secondary Crime Scene – Ambulance
When the victim of a crime is transported in an ambulance, some of the evidence of the crime can be transported with the victim. This module teaches some of the important considerations of evidence preservation when transporting the victim of a crime in an ambulance.
Evidence Chain of Custody
Evidence chain of custody is critical to most crime investigations. This module teaches the first responder some of the important aspects of chain of custody.
Consent for Evaluation and Treatment
The possibility that a crime has been committed does not change the consent requirements for evaluation and treatment either for the victim of a crime or for the perpetrator of a crime. This module reviews some of the important considerations of consent for evaluation and treatment.
Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
A heightened awareness of patient privacy and confidentiality should be maintained by first responders when on a crime scene or any death scene. This module explores many of the important aspects of privacy and confidentiality.
Photography on the Scene of a Crime
Photography on the scene of a crime is a specialty that is beyond the scope of practice of most first responders. Many first responders use their personal cell phones to photograph scenes that may put them in personal jeopardy. This module teaches the important considerations of any photography on the scene of a crime.
Legal Blood Draw
In many jurisdictions first responders are asked to perform a legal blood draw by law enforcement. This module teaches the important considerations when a first responder performs a legal blood draw.
Interacting with Next of Kin
Interacting with the next of kin on the scene of a crime, or any death scene, can be difficult for the first responder. This module explores some of the important considerations when interacting with the next of kin.
The Wellbeing of the First Responder
Death scenes and crime scenes can be particularly difficult for the first responder. This module explores the aspects of the wellbeing of the first responder, as well the important considerations for the agencies that employ first responders.
Thorough and accurate documentation is important on any emergency response. This becomes even more important on a death scene or a crime scene. This module explores the important aspects of accurate documentation.
Public Records Request
Information can be requested from first responder agencies in the form of a public records request. This module explores the important aspects of handling public records requests.
Information Request by Subpoena
Death scenes and crime scenes often result in information request by subpoena. These requests can come from a government agency, a court or an attorney involved in a civil or criminal matter. This module teaches the important considerations when information is requested by subpoena.
Deposition and Court Appearances
It is not uncommon for a first responder to be subpoenaed to testify in a deposition or court hearing. This is particularly true when a death or serious injury occurs in a call responded to by the first responder. This module teaches important considerations for the first responder when required to testify at a court hearing.