MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Monday's fifth Myrtle Beach Police Department's Citizens Police Academy session focused on crime scene investigation. Officers dispelled myths that many people believe to be true because of what they see on television shows.
Private First Class Bill Stair and Dave Bailey are two of the six crime scene investigators for the Myrtle Beach Police Department. The two officers walked the class through an example of a crime scene to explain how they process everything.
First, the officers will take pictures of everything before anyone can touch or move any evidence. And they have special tools to help with this. The Myrtle Beach Police Department was recently awarded a grant for a FARO Focus 3D. This device scans the entire scene and creates a 3D image that can be used during the investigation. MBPD is only the second department in the state to have one.
After taking pictures and scanning, officers will collect evidence. This includes finger prints, gunshot residue, tire tracks, shoe prints, DNA, phones, laptops, and much more. Officer Stair explained that processing all this evidence translates to lots of paperwork, digital storage, and time. A homicide case can easily have over 100 gigabytes of date to store and process, according to Officer Bailey. Just downloading information from a smartphone can take hours or even days.
Each department follows different guidelines for fingerprints. MBPD investigators follow an eight point minimum. So once an officer scans a fingerprint, the database will provide multiple possible matches. Then the officer must manually match at least eight points on the finger print to determine an identity.
All of this information is for the purpose of proving or disproving a person did what he or she is accused of. And these CSI officers are often called to present the evidence in court.
The Myrtle Beach CSI team also helps process evidence for Surfside Beach and the city of Georgetown.