A crime scene investigation can be described as the application of what has become known as “Locard's Exchange Principle." Locard was an advocate of scientific methods and logic in criminal investigation and identification. Locard's Exchange Principle, states “with contact between two items, there will be an exchange” or when a person comes into contact with an object or another person, a transfer of physical evidence occurs; all we have to do is recognize and find it. The criminal can then be associated with the crime scene, evidence or victim creating a crime scene triangle.
The Crime Scene Investigation Division is responsible for responding to the scenes of crimes that are committed in Cabarrus County outside the municipalities of Concord and Kannapolis. The scene is processed for evidence that may lead to an understanding of what took place during the crime as well as the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of those responsible for committing the crime or in some rare cases, that the reported crime never took place. A primary objective of the Crime Scene Investigation Division is to evaluate, document, process, collect, and preserve evidence in an unbiased manner that is consistent with established laws, standards and procedures, with the ultimate goal being; to find the truth. A crime scene investigation is a combination of law, science, logical reasoning and calls into play may different elements of education: English, math, science, art, history, health…etc.
A crime scene investigation is accomplished by first documenting the conditions of the crime scene both visually and physically, through the use of photography, measurements, sketches and notes. A well documented scene will not only enable the crime scene investigator to further investigate the crime after they have left but it will also be used to describe the scene to someone who has never been there; such as a jury. Crime Scene investigators then search the crime scene for physical evidence such as: fingerprints, footwear impressions, body fluids, hair, fibers, and other evidence that may be valuable to the investigation. Evidence collected is then packaged, marked for identification, and stored in the Evidence Room for trial or submitted to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab (NCSBI Lab) for further analysis. The crime scene investigator works in concert with the Detective Division as well as the NCSBI Lab, which conducts the majority of the forensic examination of evidence collected by the Sheriff’s Office.
The Crime Scene Investigation Division is responsible for providing 24-hour coverage for crime scene response and responds to major crime scenes to assist with the investigation. Although any crime may have a crime scene, not all crime scenes are investigated by the crime scene investigation division nor merit a complex crime scene investigation. Other deputies of the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office are trained and equipped to perform simple crime scene task such as photographs, latent print processing and collection of evidence such as in the case of a simple breaking and entering. These deputies along with the Detective Division ultimately decide if a crime scene investigator is needed to process a crime scene.