Crime Scene Forensics

Portable body screen prevents rubberneckin’ looky-loos and reporters from seeing the body or other evidence at a crime scene.

Evidence collection kit contains:

1 ea. Master Carrying Case, with foam inserts and divider (21″ L x 14″ W x 10″ H)
1 ea. Shirt Pocket Long Wave 4 Watt UV Lamp, with batteries
1 ea. 5½” Straight Hemostats
1 ea. 6″ Scissors
1 ea. Retractable Tip Carbide Scriber
1 ea. Disposable Scalpel with Retractable Blade
1 ea. Black Evidence Marking Crayon
1 ea. White Evidence Marking Crayon
3 ea. Marking Chalk
20 ea. Nitrile Barrier Gloves
4 ea. 1 oz. Plastic Evidence Collection Jars
4 ea. 2 oz. Plastic Evidence Collection Jars
5 ea. ½ oz. Metal Evidence Collection Containers
5 ea. 1 oz. Metal Evidence Collection Containers
5 ea. 2 oz. Metal Evidence Collection Containers
10 ea. Evidence Security Bags, 5″ x 8″
10 ea. Evidence Security Bags, 9″ x 12″
10 ea. Evidence Security Bags, 12″ x 15″
10 ea. Paper Evidence Security Bags, 5¼” W x 3½” D x 10¾” L
10 ea. Paper Evidence Security Bags, 7″ W x 4½” D x 13¾” L
10 ea. Paper Evidence Security Bags, 12″ W x 7″ D x 17″ L
10 ea. Kraft Evidence Security Envelopes, 6½” x 9½”
10 ea. Kraft Evidence Security Envelopes, 9″ x 12″
5 ea. Small Evidence Boxes, 2¼” L x 1¼” W x ¾” H
5 ea. Small Evidence Boxes, 2¾” L x 1¾” W x 1 1/8″ H
5 ea. Small Evidence Boxes, 3½” L x 2½” W x 1½” H
1 ea. 3½” Diameter Magnifying Glass
1 ea. Flashlight, with batteries
1 ea. Sawtooth® Evidence Tape, red
1 ea. Permanent Ink Evidence Marker
10 ea. Paper Evidence Tags
10 ea. Plastic Evidence Tags

Animal cruelty forensic kit containing items such as:

Bags, tags, tongue depressors, swabs, presumptive blood tests, thermometers, protective gear, and insect collection material and containers.

Trace evidence metal detection spray (or powder). Solution is sprayed on a suspect’s hands for the purpose of detecting traces of metal from tools and/or weapons. Investigators illuminate the test area (hand) with a UV light to make the minute particles of metal visible.

Sometimes, the actual shape of the object can be seen on the crook’s hand.


– Only 24 days left until the Writers’ Police Academy! We still have room for you!

– Entries are pouring in for the 200 word short story contest. Have you sent yours? The deadline to enter is September 10. The Golden Donut Award sure would look nice sitting on your desk!

– TNT television is sponsoring an exciting contest to be held exclusively on The Graveyard Shift. Details coming soon! Prizes are really cool. Think Memphis Beat and Rizzolli and Isles. TNT is a sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. And, TNT Knows Drama!

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Prison Visits From The Comfort of Your Own Home

Are you tired of dressing up, getting the kids ready, and driving several hours just to spend an hour or so chatting with your spouse using a grubby telephone from behind thick body-fluid-stained glass? Sure, the surroundings are pleasant—metal chairs bolted to the wall, all the roaches you’ve ever wanted to see, and orange jumpsuits for everyone. Oh, and the company is simply to die for, literally.

Now there’s a product that allows you to visit your incarcerated loved ones from the privacy of your own home. iWebvisit has created an online video conferencing system that, if approved by the corrections facility, works with all PC and Mac computers. No, it’s not the same thing as a contact visit, but it sure helps relieve the stress that’s associated with visiting a prison inmate.

Just think, no more standing in line with Charles Manson’s relatives. No more guards pawing through your purse touching things that should only be fondled by your own tender fingers. No more metal detectors, handing over your car keys, strip searches, dogs sniffing your body, officers watching your every move, or carrying change for the vending machines in little clear, plastic pouches. And, finally, there’s an end to meeting your spouses “friends” from cell block C.

So sign up today and visit the loved one of your choice.


– Only 25 days left until the Writers’ Police Academy! We still have room for you!

– Entries are pouring in for the 200 word short story contest. Have you sent yours? The deadline to enter is September 10. The Golden Donut Award sure would look nice sitting on your desk!

– TNT television is sponsoring an exciting contest to be held exclusively on The Graveyard Shift. Details coming soon! Prizes are really cool. Think Memphis Beat and Rizzolli and Isles. TNT is a sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy. And, TNT Knows Drama!

*Sorry for the brief post today, but we’re experiencing internet troubles here in the Georgia swampland we’re calling home, for now. I think something may have damaged the connection outside. Wonder what it could be?

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Weekend Road Trip: Photos of You

Writers conferences are great for learning our craft. They’re also the perfect place to keep up with the latest news, trends, and industry gossip. But the best part of attending writers conferences is meeting new friends and connecting with friends we’ve known for years. Here are a few of the good folks I’ve met along the way.

* Entries are pouring in for the Writers’ Police Academy short story contest. Have you sent yours?

* Please remember to show your support for our good friends at Amber Alert Systems. Help them find lost children faster! This is the last weekend of voting.

Vote here:
Wayne M. Merry, Founder
Because We Care!
Amber Alert Systems
follow us on FACEBOOK –!/pages/Amber-Alert-Kiosk-Systems/216932051753?ref=ts

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Friday’s Heroes: Remebering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the family of this brave officer.

Officer Charles Collins, 56

United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection

July 11, 2010 – Officer Charles Collins was killed in an automobile accident while on duty in Alaska. His vehicle left the roadway and went down a 200-foot embankment after he’d left his duty station in Port of Eagle. His body was recovered August 15, 2010.

Officer Collins is survived by his wife and two sons.

Officer Collins’ vehicle

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Police News, Forensic Facts, and a Horrible Crash

The times are changing. I remember when it took months hear from the lab regarding fingerprint submissions and blood typing (we didn’t have fancy DNA testing back in the day). Sure, I complained about the backlogs at the testing facilities. After all, we were arresting criminals left and right, and some had even served their time in jail and were back on the street before we received a positive fingerprint match from the experts. Now that’s slow! Unfortunately, it really happened.

But, there are new concerns these days, and not just with forensic labs. But let’s start there.

– According to CBS News, the FBI has a current backlog of 3,211 DNA cases waiting to be tested. That number doesn’t sound so awfully bad given the size and population of the country, however, it would take over two years to clear them. And that’s without adding any to the list during that period of time.

– 1,400, or more, of the 3,211 DNA cases waiting to be tested are missing persons cases, cases which are deemed low-priority when compared to murder and rape. Therefore, those cases have the longest wait time, meaning the chance of finding one of the 1,400 grows slimmer each day.

– State and department policies can, and do, interfere with DNA testing. In fact, in one case a state attorney general refused to test the DNA from one of her state’s prison inmates, a test that could have implicated the prisoner in a Florida homicide. Her reason for refusing to assist another state in their murder case? The governor of the state (now involved) says federal guidelines do not allow them to release that sort of information—a partial DNA match—to other states. Wait a minute! Isn’t CODIS a system run and maintained by the Feds?

Actually, there is an FBI bulletin relating to CODIS that specifically says it’s okay to share information. In fact, the bulletin encourages it. But, for now, the state of Michigan (the state in question) has refused to assist in catching a man who savagely beat, tortured, and stabbed a 76-year-old man to death. By the way, the killer used a fork to repeatedly stab the victim. And he used a bronze statue to obliterate the elderly man’s skull.

– On the other hand, the state of Maryland has great news to report. Since 2007 they’ve cleared a backlog of 24,000 samples, which resulted in 267 arrests—122 burglary and robbery cases, 16 murders, and over 100 sex-related offenses.

– The two Tybee Island, Ga. police officers who were accused of wrongfully using a Taser on an autistic teenager have been indicted. However, they were not indicted for the use of the Taser. Instead, they were indicted for lying and making false statements to investigators. The lies and charges all center around concealing the actions of a non-certified jailer who was present on the scene. The officers told a Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent that only they were present during the incident. It’s not clear as to what role the jailer played during the Tasering.

– A Wisconsin thief was nabbed recently thanks to a vacationing family’s digital camera. As the family posed in front of the state capital for a self-timed picture, a thief grabbed their bag and took off. The quick thinking photographer checked the image, and sure enough, the thief was clearly seen making off with the goods. Local police recognized the bandit and picked him up. He still had the bag with him at the time of his arrest.

Finally, thanks to Lt. Dave Swords for reporting this horrific crash on Hwy 675 near Beavercreek, Ohio. A state trooper’s dash cam captured the event as it unfolded. Oddly, the driver of the car had just been stopped by police and released.

The driver survived the crash!

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Mark Young: Predicting Future Crimes

Mark Young retired from law enforcement after 26 years and turned his attention to writing. You can catch up with him at Hook’em & Book’em “where mystery readers, writers and law enforcement connect,” at his web site, or on the Clearwater River in the central Idaho Mountains during salmon and steelhead seasons.

Predicting Future Crimes

By Mark Young

Before jumping ahead about predicting future crime, I’d like to express appreciation to Lee Lofland for allowing me to trespass here on the fabulous The Graveyard Shift blog. Lee’s informative blog, his Writers’ Police Academy, and his book Police Procedures and Investigations are must-have tools for the crime mystery writer. Now, back to the future.

An unnerving movie, Minority Report, came out a few years ago where crime is virtually eliminated in the year 2054. Cops acted on data from precogs, three mutated humans who can peer into the future. Using this futuristic prediction, an elite law enforcement unit tracked down these criminals. The crooks were identified, apprehended, tried and convicted before the crime was ever committed. Everything changes when these precogs turned their attention toward Tom Cruise’s character, John Anderton, leader of the Precrimes police unit. The police unit commander must flee for his life.


Take another look. Public attention went spiral a few weeks ago when they learned Google Ventures-the internet giant’s investment arm-teamed up with a CIA-backed investment company to pump money into a little-heard-of company called Recorded Future (RF). What caught everyone’s attention is this new company’s stated goal: monitor the web in real time and use this information to predict the future.

The company’s web site unabashedly explains how they intend to do this. First, they glean information by pouring over the internet highway-new publications, blogs, niche sources, trade publications, government web sites, financial databases and more.

Secondly, they extract information from these sources-identifiable subjects and events, including the times of occurrences-and they measure “momentum for each item” in their index as well as something they call “sentiment.” In short, they provide a peek into the future based on real-time data just collected.

Armed with this information, RF allows their clients access to the predicted future for a price. The company site explains: “You can explore the past, present and predicted future of almost anything. Powerful visualization tools allow you to quickly see temporal patterns, or link networks of related information.”

Based upon investments into this RF project, these “customers” include the CIA, Google, and you-for the right price. However, the CIA most likely will enjoy special privileges to this information since RF research is financed-in part-by intelligence agency monies. The CIA owns a chunk of this future-predicting company.

RF’s current customers include investment, finance and trading strategy firms; marketing, brand awareness and monitoring groups; public relations, crisis management, and advertising entities; and, of course, intelligence analysis, national security and defense agencies.

The CIA funneled their investment through a strategic investment firm, In-Q-Tel (IQT), created in 1999 with a tag line that claims: “Accelerating Innovation for the intelligence community.” Since its inception, IQT has broadened its scope of operations to support many intelligence community agencies, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the Department of Defense.

Like the rest of us in the late 1990s, the CIA came to realize that commercial information technology was advancing so rapidly that they found it hard to keep up. This was a difficult pill to swallow for an agency that prided itself on being on the cutting edge. IQT statement of CIA history acknowledged this point: “Throughout its lifetime, the CIA has operated at the cutting edge of science and technology. From the U-2 spy plane to the CONOMA satellite, CIA’s wizards of Langley earned a reputation for bold innovation and risk taking, working in advance of the private sector and other branches of government.”

Much to the CIA’s chagrin, however, information technology screamed ahead and left the aging intelligence agency struggling to catch up. By 1998, the CIA determined that technology needed to be a top priority for their agency. To that end, they chartered IQT to help access private sector innovations, pouring about $28 million dollars into its first year’s budget. IQT money is derived from private and public sources.

One company eyeing IQT as an investment opportunity found the CIA-backed company’s budget does not have to be released to the public. However, these investors learned IQT’s annual budget in 2006 amounted to $50 million dollars. IQT’s investment in other companies-like Recorded Future-usually meant buying “series A or B rounds” with their range of investment between $1-3 millions per project. In exchange, IQT receives an equity position in each invested company.

For a spy-financed operation, IQT is pretty open as to which companies they’ve selected to invest with each year. Each investment appears to be accompanied with a press release. Here are a few of the companies IQT channeled money to this year:

– August 10-SpotterRF, the first Micro Surveillance Radar Company, secures investment deal with IQT to support U.S. intelligence community.

– July 28-Pelican Imaging secures strategic investment from IQT.

– June 21-Innocentive and IQT establish strategic partnership.

– April 22-Lensvector secures development contract with IQT.

– February 3-IQT investment accelerates Arcxis Biotechnologies nucleic acid sample preparation and molecular diagnostic produce platforms.

– March 22-IQT extends strategic relationship with Longotek.

So how is RF going to use these investments from the CIA and Google?

A Wired magazine exclusive by Noah Shachtman on July 28, 2010, reported RF takes this collected and analyzed data and “applies some artificial-intelligence algorithms to tease out connections between the players.” Over 100 millions events are indexed by RF and hosted on servers. So how is the information used?

Noah Shachtman

On RF’s website are links to several blogs maintained by that company, including one titled Analysis Intelligence. Several hypothetical cases are examined using RF technology systems. One case cited the July11, 2010 bombing in Kampala by Al-Shabaab terrorists resulting in the killing of over 70 people at the very end of the soccer World Cup. RF conducted the query into this terrorist organization searching for titles and descriptions of people connected to this group. They created a network chart which can be used to study that group over time.

In the next phase of this analysis, they sought out the head of Al-Shabaab and identified the leader as Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Subever. Analysts studied the RF matrix of links to see whether this man indicated Uganda would be the target. RF discovered this man-a week prior to the bombings-explicitly made threats toward that country.

Looking for potential targets in the future, RF began to compile a list of possible victims based upon information gleaned through the internet using “spatial and temporal analysis” (when and where these events happened) and “sentiment analysis” (the tone of the document). Between January 17-July 4 of this year, Al-Shabaab made direct threats against these targets: peace keepers in Somalia, democracies in general, Somaliland voters, foreign security companies, and U.S. troops if our military are ever sent to Somalia.

RF concluded: “Al-Shabaab has proven that they can execute sophisticated and coordinate attacks beyond their borders, attract foreigners like Omar Hammimi (an American-born terrorist recruited by Al-Shabaab) and are making threats … against a broad set of targets.”

Will this kind of analysis help to predict the future?

The CIA, Google and other organizations believe this is possible. Wired magazine reported that both In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures made their RF investments in 2009 shortly after the company was founded. The exact amounts were not disclosed, but are believed to be under $10 million each. IQT and Google have seats on RF’s board of directors.

All this should perk up the interest of crime fiction writers. Every one of these IQT investments listed above could be a tantalizing backdrop for the writer’s next novel. And Recorded Future? What a story that might make.

Can you image a novel where the grizzled homicide detective hunkers over a computer, coffee in hand, pecking with one finger on a stained keyboard. The monitor flashes Recorded Future. The detective types in a secret code and gains access to the future. He watches an image materialize, spilling his coffee across the desktop. His partner’s face flashes on the screen. A horrendous crime is about to be committed.

No. Wait. Minority Report already used that one. But you get the idea. See you in the future.

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