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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 218690 Find in a Library
Title: Specialized Use of Human Scent in Criminal Investigations
Author(s): Rex A. Stockham; Dennis L. Slavin; William Kift
Date Published: July 2004
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
Quantico, VA 22135
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
Laboratory Branch
2501 Investigation Parkway
Quantico, VA 22135
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the use of human-scent as an effective tool in establishing a connection to a crime.
Abstract: Used with discretion, the information gained from human-scent discriminating dogs can be a valuable tool for law enforcement. The ability of these dogs to establish a connection between people and crime scene evidence has been demonstrated through scientific study, practical experience, and confirmed criminal case results. Human-scent evidence, defined as a biological component of decomposing dead skin cells, is not new. It has been used by Europeans using scent-discriminating canines in criminal investigations, for more than 100 years. However, using scent-discriminating canines in criminal investigations should be limited to establishing a scent relationship between people and crime scene evidence. Since human scent is easily transferred from one person or object to another, it should not be used as primary evidence. Yet, when used in corroboration with other evidence, it has become a proven tool that can establish a connection to the crime. This paper begins with a discussion on the complexity of human odor. It than presents the four commonly used methods in collecting human-scent for canine use and include: (1) letting the canine smell the article of evidence or scent source directly; (2) swiping the surface of the object with a sterile gauze pad and transferring human scent from the source to the pad; (3) placing the source object and a sterile gauze pad in a plastic resealable bag and then offering the pad at a later time to the canine as a scent source; and (4) a portable forensic vacuum configured for 5 X 9-inch sterile gauze pads. The paper continues with scent durability, scent relationships, dog team proficiency, qualification and certification, proficiency testing, breeds, criminal investigations, and documentation. Figures, references
Main Term(s): Police dogs
Index Term(s): Crime Scene Investigation; Criminalistics; Evidence collection; Evidence identification; Forensic sciences; Police dog training; Scientific techniques; Victim identification
Note: Forensic Science Communications, V 6, N 3, July 2004; downloaded on June 5, 2007.
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