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Police Bureau

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Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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0640.10 Crime Scene Procedures



  • ORS 146.095  Responsibility for Investigation
  • DIR 612.10  Death Messages
  • DIR 631.10  Dead Body Procedure
  • DIR 640.02  Photography and Digital Imaging
  • DIR 640.80  Mandatory Bias/Prejudice Crime Reporting
  • Crime Scene Sign-in Sheet (Detectives)


PROCEDURE (640.10)

Directive Specific Definitions

Major crime: A crime that will require continued investigation.

Member Responsibilities (640.10)

The first member arriving at the scene of a crime will be in charge until the member receiving the call arrives, until relieved by his/her supervisor, or until the Detective Division sergeant arrives and officially announces he/she is taking charge. At all times, a specific member will be in charge. It will be his/her duty to:

a.  Notify the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) of the type of incident and request additional members, if needed.

b.  Arrest the suspect, if present.

c.  Protect human life and property, and render aid.

d.  Protect the crime scene by ensuring items within the scene are not disturbed. A supervisor may assign a specific scene security officer.

e.  Identify and isolate witness(es) with particular attention to information that witnesses may overhear from police members or the police radio. Obtain names and addresses of witnesses and an initial statement.

f.   Exclude all unauthorized persons (all persons who do not have an official duty to perform pertinent to the incident should be kept out of the protected crime scene).

g.  A specific member shall be assigned to list all personnel who enter the crime scene on a Crime Scene Sign-in Sheet.

h.  Relay information to Records Division (Records) Teletype and BOEC regarding the crime and suspects.

i.   If the crime scene needs immediate continuing investigation by Detectives, BOEC will be notified.

1.  BOEC will notify Detectives of the request and situation.

2.  If Detectives are not available or the member’s supervisor does not feel they are needed, the member assigned the call will complete the investigation.

All members entering a major crime scene will submit a report documenting the reason for being in the crime scene and all actions taken while there. Uniform members not assigned at the crime scene should patrol possible escape routes and not proceed to the actual crime scene.

Notification of Detectives (640.10)

A Detectives supervisor and/or detective from the appropriate detail will be notified in the following cases:

a.  Homicide Detail:

1.  Homicides.

2.  Questionable deaths.

3.  Suicides.

4.  Serious assaults, with a possibility of death.

5.  Abduction/kidnap.

6.   Shootings or serious assaults involving police members, whether the member is the victim or not.

7.  Custody cases involving Aggravated Murder, Murder, Manslaughter, Assault I or II, or Kidnap I or II.

8.  Hate crimes.

b.  Robbery Detail (All robbery reports should be faxed to the Robbery Detail prior to going off duty).

1.  Commercial robbery involving injuries or firearms discharge.

2.  All Robbery I and II custodies.

3.  Any Robbery I or II with suspect information and the need for immediate follow-up.

c.  Sex Crimes Unit.

1.  Rapes.

2.  Sodomies.

d.  Child Abuse Team (CAT).

1.  Sex offenses involving children under the age of 12, excluding expose cases.

e.  Other Crimes.

1.  Crimes eliciting unusual public interest or having unusual political implications.

2.  Unusual circumstances which might indicate that immediate detective follow-up is needed.

3.  If a patrol supervisor feels an investigation needs detective assistance, a Detective supervisor should be contacted to determine if a detective is available.

Detectives Responsibilities (640.10)

Detectives assigned to the crime scene will:

a.  Assume command of the investigation upon their arrival. They will be responsible only to their own supervisors and will contact an on-duty sergeant or relief commander, if it is necessary for uniform members to stay at the scene and assist.

b.  Ascertain from uniformed members how far the investigation has progressed in order to avoid duplication of effort.

c.  Obtain a detailed description of suspects and property for broadcast by BOEC.

d.  Interview witness(es) or ensure uniform officers have obtained a thorough statement. All witnesses will be kept separated until after the interview.

e.  Interview suspects.

f.   Request additional aid through their supervisor, if needed.

g.  When uniform members and detectives conduct a joint investigation of a major crime, it is the duty of the detective to make the formal report on the investigation. A copy of the original report and all additional reports (excluding homicide and member involved shootings) will be forwarded to the uniform division/precinct involved. In exceptional cases, copies of homicide and member involved shootings may be sent to the commander of the precinct.

Crime Scene Photography and Authorized Equipment (640.10)

a.  Only 35mm or digital cameras are authorized for use by uniform members.

b.  A Criminalist will be called to photograph major crimes and fatal accident scenes.

c.  Upon prior written approval of the precinct commander, members may use their personal cameras (35 mm only), if a Criminalist is unavailable. Film will be obtained from the Forensic Evidence Division (Forensics) and returned there for processing along with a copy of the police report. Negatives will be retained by Forensics.

d.  Members are prohibited from using personal cameras to take pictures for their personal use at crime or accident scenes.