Discussion board replies | CJUS 420 – Criminal Investigations I | Liberty University
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Basic Investigative Responsibilities
There is no duty that is more important than information gathering by police officers and detectives (Hess et al., 2017). “Detailed notes can make or break a case” (Hess et al., 2017, 2-1). The quality of an officer’s report is often what makes the difference in the prosecution of a case (Hess et al., 2017).
Modern technology is part of everyone’s life in our society. Most people carry a smartphone or personal electronic device capable of always capturing high-quality audio and video on their person. Law enforcement has also taken advantage of advances in technology by carrying digital recording devices, and now body-worn cameras that capture great detail of police activity and citizen encounters. Scholars have documented the evidentiary value of officers wearing body-worn cameras, especially in domestic violence-related cases (Bowling & Iyer, 2019). This type of law enforcement technology has high levels of support from both law enforcement and the public (Bowling & Iyer, 2019).
The advantage of digital recording or body-worn cameras is the incident is recorded exactly as it happened with no danger of misinterpreting what was said or documenting facts of an incident incorrectly (Hess et al., 2017). Documenting the truth in an incident report is one of the most important aspects of a law enforcement officer’s job and also one of the most important aspects of humanity, as told in the Bible, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (New International Bible, 2011, John 17:17). An officer’s reputation and credibility will be based on how truthful they are perceived to be by the public, by attorneys, and by the administration of their employing agency.
Utilizing digital recording methods can have a negative effect on the notes taken by an officer at the scene due to them becoming reliant on capturing the information from the recording later, letting their notetaking skills become diminished. Digital recordings and body-worn camera footage should not take the place of notetaking due to possible malfunctions in the technology. If an officer or detective does not take notes and the recording or storage equipment malfunctions, the loss of the digital evidence could be extremely detrimental to the case in the absence of well-written notes (Hess et al., 2017).
Using an electronic tablet to take notes may be effective for a detective or an officer with a specialized assignment who routinely responds to document scenes that are already secured. A patrol officer deals with unknown dangers that could result in an electronic tablet either being broken or used against them as a weapon.
Bowling, B., & Iyer, S. (2019). Automated policing: the case of body-worn video. International Journal of Law in Context, 15(2), 140-161. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744552319000089
Hess, K. M., Orthmann, C. H., & Cho, H. L. (2017). Criminal Investigation (Eleventh). Cengage.
New International Bible. (2011). The NIV Bible. https://www.thenivbible.com/Links to an external site. (Original work published 1978)