Crime Scene Investigations
The Crime Scene division of Duluth Police has grown and expanded in the past few years. We now have two full time investigators, and our unit has transitioned to a sworn component. This unit is responsible for the processing of crime scenes varying from entering autos to homicides. We are tasked with the collection, preservation, and storage of evidence, and processing any available evidence, with the assistance of the GBI Crime Lab, for leads towards the resolution to these crimes. We utilize a variety of forensic techniques to achieve this goal, including photography, chemical processing, and alternate light sources. We train in current forensic methods, recognizing that each scene is unique and these unique components will need to be processed in different ways. We have the ability to process fingerprints beyond basic powder techniques. Our fume hood allows for the use of chemical processing of a variety of surfaces. We have a cyanoacrylate chamber, which uses a form of superglue to strengthen prints on most surfaces. We also have portable versions of these two techniques. We perform in-house marijuana examinations and fingerprint analysis. Utilizing A.F.I.S. (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), we are able to search both statewide and national databases of known persons in order to assist with fingerprint identification. We maintain all of our crime scene photographs for each case, as well as print cards and all other property and evidence, in a secured Evidence room. As a State Certified Agency, we are held to a standard that requires regular audits and inspections of the Property and Evidence section.
Investigator Lea Elam has worked as a civilian police employee since 2003, first as a dispatcher and then in Records. She began her training in crime scene in 2011, taking over the crime scene unit in April of 2012. She holds four certifications – Basic Communications Officer, Crime Scene Technician, Basic Law Enforcement Officer and Senior Instructor. She is a National Forensic Academy graduate (Session 38), which is an international 400 hour course designed for crime scene investigations. Inv. Elam holds an IAI certification as a Crime Scene Analyst, and hopes to continue her education and training, including becoming an IAI certified Latent Print Examiner. She has been trained in Property and Evidence Room Management, Marijuana Examination, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, and State Certification Management., one day completing the National Forensic Academy.
Investigator Amber Snavely has been in law enforcement since 2009, beginning her career as a dispatcher. She was transferred to the Crime Scene Unit early 2013. She was subsequently sent to the Police Academy in summer of 2013 and became a Georgia P.O.S.T Certified Peace Officer. Inv. Snavely holds two certifications – Basic Communications Officer, Crime Scene Technician and Basic Law Enforcement Officer. She is also a National Forensic Academy Graduate (Session 40), and specializes in electronic evidence recovery. She has attended numerous classes on digital evidence recovery, and has brought the Duluth Police Department’s digital forensics program above the standard. Inv. Snavely is currently certified in Evidence Presentation, Crime Scene Processing and Latent Print Development. Amber hopes to complete her masters in forensics in the near future.