Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S04-02
Crime Scene Protection and Processing
Issue Date:06 November 2014Effective Date:06 November 2014
Rescinds:15 June 2002 version
Index Category:Preliminary Investigations
I.Purpose
This directive informs members of the procedures and responsibilities related to crime scene protection and processing. Department members will refer to the General Order titled "Crime Scene Protection and Processing" for the policy governing crime scene protection and processing.
II.Procedures and Responsibilities
  • A.At the beginning of the tour of duty, field supervisors will ensure that an adequate supply of the following is carried in their vehicles:
    • 1.red crime scene barrier tape,
    • 2.yellow crime scene barrier tape,
    • 3.Crime Scene Weapon Recovery Kits,
    • 4.crime scene evidence markers.
  • B.The first police officer to arrive at a crime scene will:
    • 1.follow all applicable procedures established in the Department directive entitled "Preliminary Investigations."
    • 2.if the investigation indicates that a homicide, suicide, aggravated battery likely to cause death, or a police-related shooting has occurred, request the assignment of:
      • a.a Bureau of Patrol supervisor.
      • b.a detective from the appropriate Bureau of Detectives.
      • c.Forensic Services Division personnel, if a Bureau of Patrol supervisor is unavailable.
        NOTE:
        Notifications or requests for the assignment of a detective or a member of the Forensic Services Division will not be made from a telephone located within a crime scene. If a telephone is not available, requests may be made by an Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) dispatcher. Members will use caution when referring to the names and addresses of victims when making requests or notifications from personal cellular telephones.
  • C.A Bureau of Patrol supervisor assigned to oversee the preliminary investigation will normally remain on the scene and ensure that:
    • 1.the crime scene area or location is secured, and:
      • a.yellow barrier tape is used to create an outer perimeter and staging area when determined appropriate.
      • b.red barrier tape is used to create an inner perimeter when determined appropriate.
      • c.crime scene evidence markers are used only when:
        • 1.evidence may be lost, stolen, or damaged prior to the arrival of Forensic Services Division personnel, and
        • 2.use of the crime scene evidence markers reduces the likelihood that the evidence will be lost, stolen, or damaged, and
        • 3.an inner and outer perimeter is created by the use of red and yellow crime scene barrier tape, or
        • 4.when directed by a supervisor.
          NOTE:
          The inner perimeter will be established to include all the known, observed evidence at that time. Once the inner perimeter is established, Department members will not re-enter to place crime scene evidence markers. If evidence is discovered outside the inner perimeter, a crime scene evidence marker will be placed, when necessary.
    • 2.the scene is protected, and:
      • a.admittance to the outer perimeter and/or staging area formed by yellow barrier tape is allowed only when:
        • 1.it is necessary to render aid to the injured.
        • 2.the member is authorized to access the inner perimeter.
        • 3.the member is directly responsible for collecting and/or processing evidence or investigating the crime.
      • b.admittance to the inner perimeter formed by red barrier tape is permitted only when:
        • 1.it is necessary to render aid to the injured.
        • 2.the member is directly responsible for the investigation of the crime.
        • 3.the member is directly responsible for the processing or the collection of evidence.
        • 4.the crime scene has been evaluated and access has been approved by the Bureau of Detectives and/or Forensic Services Division personnel or a supervisor.
    • 3.the appropriate Bureau of Detectives or Forensic Services Division personnel have been requested.
    • 4.notifications are made in accordance with the provisions of the Department directive entitled "Preliminary Investigations."
    • 5.personnel specifically assigned to protect a crime scene are given thorough instructions regarding their duties and are fully informed of the circumstances of the incident.
    • 6.Summary Punishment or a Complaint Register (CR) investigation is initiated, consistent with the procedures established in the Department directives entitled "Summary Punishment" and "Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures," against any member who enters a crime scene or disturbs any evidence without authorization, as detailed in this directive.
    • 7.crime scene protection is terminated after the detective, Forensic Services Division personnel, and other authorized personnel have completed their crime scene investigation and processing.
      NOTE:
      All crime scene barrier tape will be removed when crime scene protection is terminated. If the crime scene requires a washdown or cleaning and is located on public property, the appropriate City agency will be notified.
    • 8.any contaminated set of crime scene evidence markers is replaced with a decontaminated set in a sealed plastic bag by either the Forensic Services Division supervisor or Forensic Services Division personnel. A complete set of ten contaminated markers must be submitted to receive a new decontaminated set of ten markers.
      NOTE:
      If the exchange cannot be completed at the scene, replacement sets for decontaminated crime scene evidence markers may be obtained at the Forensics Services Division.
  • D.A police officer assigned to protect a crime scene will:
    • 1.protect the scene as directed by the Bureau of Patrol supervisor until crime scene protection is terminated, and ensure that:
      • a.admittance to the outer perimeter and/or staging area formed by yellow barrier tape is allowed only when:
        • 1.it is necessary to render aid to the injured.
        • 2.the member is authorized to access the inner perimeter.
        • 3.the member is directly responsible for collecting or processing evidence or investigating the crime.
      • b.admittance to the inner perimeter formed by red barrier tape is permitted only when:
        • 1.it is necessary to render aid to the injured.
        • 2.the member is directly responsible for the investigation of the crime.
        • 3.the member is directly responsible for the processing or the collection of evidence.
        • 4.the crime scene has been evaluated and access has been approved by the Bureau of Detectives and/or Forensic Services Division personnel.
          NOTE:
          The Bureau of Patrol supervisor assigned to oversee the preliminary investigation will be immediately notified if the integrity of the crime scene is compromised.
    • 2.complete a Supplementary Report. The report will contain the names, star numbers, and unit of assignment of all Department members and the names and organizational affiliation of all non-Department personnel who enter the crime scene, including paramedics and members from the Medical Examiner's Office.
      NOTE:
      If the police officer assigned to protect the crime scene is also the preliminary investigator, a Supplementary Report will not be required. The information requested in Item II-D-2 will be recorded on the appropriate case report.
  • E.A detective assigned to investigate a crime scene will:
    • 1.report to the Bureau of Patrol supervisor assigned to oversee the preliminary investigation. The detective will investigate the scene for physical evidence and interview witnesses or persons having knowledge of the crime or incident.
    • 2.consult with Forensic Services Division personnel and the Bureau of Patrol supervisor to coordinate and develop a plan for protecting, investigating, and processing the crime scene.
    • 3.inform the Bureau of Patrol supervisor when the crime scene processing and investigation are completed and crime scene protection can be terminated.
    • 4.access the boundaries of the inner perimeter and consult with the ranking Bureau of Patrol supervisor on the scene to adjust it if necessary.
    • 5.report any compromises of the integrity of the crime scene to the ranking Bureau of Patrol supervisor on the scene, who will ensure the appropriate action is taken, as outlined in Items II-C-6 and II-D-2.
  • F.Forensic Services Division personnel assigned to process a crime scene will:
    • 1.report to the Bureau of Patrol supervisor assigned to oversee the preliminary investigation. Forensic Services Division personnel, in cooperation with the assigned detective, will process the scene and examine, preserve, collect, package, and inventory physical evidence.
    • 2.consult with the detective and the Bureau of Patrol supervisor to coordinate and develop a plan for protecting, investigating, and processing the crime scene.
    • 3.create and submit a Crime Scene Processing Report using the eTrack system.
    • 4.be responsible for:
      • a.the collection of any contaminated crime scene evidence markers at the crime scene.
      • b.ensuring that any contaminated crime scene evidence markers are submitted to the Forensics Services Division for decontamination and redistribution.
        NOTE:
        If a Forensic Services Division supervisor or Forensic Services Division personnel are unable to replace the contaminated markers on the scene, the contaminated markers will be returned to the unit that used them with instructions relative to making the exchange at the Forensic Services Division.
  • G.Bureau of Patrol supervisors will be responsible for overseeing the investigation, protection, and processing of the entire crime scene, including the inner and outer perimeters and the staging area, until such time as a member of the Bureau of Detectives arrives on the scene.
  • H.After the arrival of a detective assigned to the investigation, responsibility for overseeing the crime scene will be as follows:
    • 1.The highest ranking Bureau of Patrol supervisor on the scene will be responsible for overseeing the protection of the outer perimeter formed by yellow barrier tape.
    • 2.The highest ranking member of the Bureau of Detectives on the scene will be responsible for overseeing the protection and processing of the inner perimeter formed by red barrier tape. Once on the scene, the detective may create, alter, or discontinue the use of an inner perimeter to meet the needs of the investigation.
(Revised items are indicated by italics/double underline.)
Authenticated by: JKH
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
14-167 PJE