Standards and Guidelines and the importance of Process Control
If there’s a standard guide or a standard practice, it’s important that you follow it in your work. The standard guides and practices for digital and multimedia evidence are currently hosted by the ASTM (E30). The ASTM doesn’t necessarily create the standards that they host or publish. That is left to groups like the Organization of Scientific Area Committees on Forensic Science (OSAC).
One such best practice guide is the Red Flip Book, otherwise known by it’s official title, Best Practices for the Retrieval of Video Evidence from Digital CCTV Systems. This book was published by TSWG in 2006. A copy of this book can be downloaded for free in pdf format.
What’s the purpose of this book?
If you walk into a crime scene to retrieve video evidence, insert your thumb drive into the DVR, download relevant footage, then walk way with the thumb drive full of evidence … but leave the DVR at the crime scene … you’ve retrieved evidence. This book is an outstanding guide, a step-by-step walkthrough of the process of retrieving this unique type of evidence. It’s also important to note that this guide is vendor neutral. In terms of disclosure, Apex Partners, Ltd.’s, Jim Hoerricks, PhD, was one of the co-authors of this document. He also serves on the OSAC’s VITAL subcommittee, where this document was moved to an ASTM standard.
But … what if you walk away with the DVR? In this case, you’ve seized evidence. There’s a different guidebook for that.
When you seize evidence, there’s a whole host of different procedures and permissions necessary. The US Secret Service has produced a very informative best practice document, that is also available in pdf format.
Why would you do one vs. the other? What is appropriate when?
These are some of the questions that we address in our class, AL-121 – Retrieval / Seizure of Electronic Evidence from Crime Scenes (syllabus file). You can find out more about this course, or our many training sessions, request a quote to have a training session facilitated at your location, or sign up for a training session in our offices in Henderson, NV by clicking here.