10.20.2011

Futuristic Criminal Investigations Part III

This is a picture of the filming of Law & Orde...Image via Wikipedia

Specializing In Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations

 By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The movies and television have always led the way to new and creative ideas.  Some of the innovation and creativity is overwhelming and at this time, it is not known where these new ideas will fit into law enforcement officials investigating allegations of child sexual abuse.  The show Law and Order: SVU does not demonstrate anything which law enforcement can use to enhance their investigations.  The show is interesting and exciting at times and has some good stories, but for the most part the actors make the show not the investigative methods and techniques.

The significance of identifying what is good and bad about a television series is understanding the influence, which a television show, has on the law enforcement community.  When I was a police officer, we would head to the nearest location that recorded Hillstreet Blues for us to view and socialize.  The characters on the show were unique, had their own subtleties, and nuances which our group of police officers enjoyed learning from and watching.  We could relate to their personal and professional stories, which were a part of the show.  The problem with the show is besides giving us excitement and enjoyment, as a professional we took nothing away from the show that we could use on the street.

Now the shows law enforcement actors bring themselves to the show along with gadgets, which are interesting, plausible and enhance the story line.  In the new television show Persons of Interests, the two main actors, Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson have the ability to see what is ahead of individuals whose social security pops up on a futuristic computer.  The reason for the identification of the individual appearing on this futuristic at this time is unknown.  The television program uses a sophisticated computer system where it monitors individuals by using all of the cameras in the city of New York.  The systematic aspect of the computer that generates information from the future is fascinating.

Over a period of time, the number of cameras, which are being placed at every street corner, is helping in identifying crimes and criminals.  Of course, in real life the cameras at this time are only recording events not predicating them.  If the future can replicate what Persons of Interests is capable of accomplishing law enforcement will have a tool, which may prevent crimes from happening.

The future holds so much when it comes to identifying, apprehending, and/or convicting criminals for the crimes they commit.  On the other side of the coin, individuals who are deemed innocent and utilize the superior equipment and tools which are available to them will identify weaknesses of the case against them and hold those accountable and responsible from putting an innocent man into the criminal justice system.

In reviewing what investigative steps are being taken into the future, Investigative Psychology, which I have extensively written on, is the new and future approach for the law enforcement community.  Profiling is the key to a successful investigation.  Serial sexual offenders are the future type of criminals and to identify, locate and prosecute them will require levels of critical thinking which are creative and innovative.

In the past, fingerprint evidence used to require 11-13 identification characteristics to identify a suspect.  With the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the identification of 2 to 3 characteristics can now identify a suspect.  This futuristic tool is becoming a tool, which is utilized by law enforcement as a part of the identifying potential serial sexual offenders.

With every crime comes a new method and technique in how to apply science and investigative methods and techniques, which provide a successful investigation.  Every investigative tool old and new should be required to find the responsible party when it comes to those committing crimes.  It is not enough for the community to be assured that all is well when the investigation to date has proven to be ineffective.  The safety of the citizens in the community must be law enforcements first priority.  If methods and techniques of old is all the local police agency has to offer, than the concern of who is in charge needs to be questioned.  Law enforcement must strive to be the best they can be and assist their police officer’s in having the same mentality.

If law enforcement officials are not putting in the time to become educated and trained in sexual child abuse crimes, then those who commit these crimes will be pursued and prosecuted.  It is important to have a system, which is thorough, competent, complete, and intelligent in how they pursue an allegation of child sexual abuse.

Plea bargaining is something that has been around forever.  However, prosecutor’s and the defense need to develop a futuristic formula, which will allow an innocent criminally charged individual to have the opportunity to prove his/her innocence without giving up their Constitutional Rights.  Too often, the criminally charged individual because of the lack of competent counsel are forced to take a reduced crime in order not to face the maximum sentence of the crime they were originally charged with.

The future holds many investigative ideas and tools, which will make a difference about who are identified, arrested, and convicted of the crimes they commit.  The bottom line is the future is creating new avenues for those who investigate crimes, which enables them to hold those accountable and responsible for what they have done.

Tomorrow, I will continue to identify the futuristic ideas and tools, which may make a difference in the criminal investigative arena.  There are so many exciting concepts and if these concepts can be applied and they are reliable and credible, then change will be the difference somewhere in the immediate future.

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