Incident Command System:
In this age of terrorism and mass casualties there is more and more usage of a system to organize large crime scenes and mass disasters. It is called the “Incident Command System.” Large scenes require communication and cooperation between multiple organizations and government authorities. There has to be a central command that can serve as the hub for the purpose of safety, information and liaison. The command center also coordinates operations, planning and finances. If you think this sounds like setting up a corporation for one incident you are correct. Attached is a website with a good overview of the Incident Command System: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/ics/what_is_ics.html
Physical Anthropology: There are 206 bones in the human body. The study of these bones and what they can tell us about an individual is the study of forensic physical anthropology. It is a field that fascinates me and is one I have to be familiar with because of the many times I have to do shallow grave recovery. I am not an expert in every field but I must have a working understanding of each to know when and how they should be utilized in medical legal death investigation. Bones can give us an abundance of information such as:
The field of physical anthropology goes well beyond these forensic applications into the study of man’s ancestral history and the progression of other hominin ancestors. In most cases, forensics draws an anthropologist from academia or museum staff. This is because most coroner/medical examiner systems do not have enough cases to justify a full time anthropologist. This is an important fact if you are thinking of this field of forensics.
This is the study of the unique characteristics in the structure and development of an individual’s teeth. The vast majority of forensic identification is done by the study of peri-mortem dental records with post-mortem studies. Obviously the most useful part of dental records is dental x-rays but written dental records also contain valuable information that can lead to identification of a person. The formation and wear of our teeth is totally unique. We generally have 32 teeth and four sides to each tooth, so that is 128 aspects of individuality that can be compared. There are also multiple interventions of dental care such as amalgams, tooth extractions and appliances that can also be compared. There are multiple reasons for dental identification beyond criminal identification. Here is a good website to get more information: http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/continuing-education/ce401/ce401.aspx?ModuleName=coursecontent&PartID=2&SectionID=-1
During the investigation, I discovered a plant growing through the eye socket of of a skull. It was a macabre picture, but to me it was evidence that could give me a timeline as to when the person had been killed and buried. Many items can give you timelines: hair growth, half-life of medicines, mail on a doorstep, degradation of clothing. The plant I examined at the scene had to be collected, classified, studied and the growth rate duplicated. I needed a growth rate with a timeline estimation done by experimentation with the same species of plant. There are forensic botanists who can provide estimations of how long ago the body was buried. Botanists can also look at what is called vegetation of opportunity, which can help locate clandestine graves. This is a differentiation in vegetation from the surrounding area caused by the disturbance of the earth in the process of digging the grave.