Using Process Maps to Improve Police Performance at the Crime Scene
For years, businesses have used flowcharts, standard operating procedures, swim-lane diagrams, and various combinations to help personnel effectively and efficiently provide goods and services to customers. Today, process maps have developed into an even more effective tool to capture process information, including suppliers, customers, tasks, responsibilities, inputs, outputs, communication methods, linkage to other processes, statutory and regulatory compliance, metrics, and opportunities for improvement. While businesses use these tools regularly, law enforcement is beginning to adopt process mapping methods in general and crime scene investigation specifically.
The collection, packaging, and preservation of evidence at a crime scene is vitally important to ensure that law enforcement personnel and forensic scientists effectively identify and hold accountable those responsible for committing the crime. So often, the success of that endeavor is tied to evidence collection. Therefore, it is incumbent upon crime scene investigators to define, document, and train personnel on their core processes, and consistently utilize best practices at the collection site. With today’s fast-paced forensic science advancements, it is more important than ever to fully document the complexities associated with crime scene evidence collection. Using process mapping to capture the relevant information associated with crime scene investigation enables crime scene investigators to stay current and continue to improve their collection and preservation processes.
Business best practices suggest that three components have the most impact on the success of the organization—consistently providing quality products and services desired by the customer at a speed required by the customer and at a cost the customer is willing to pay. To ensure continued success, business leaders search endlessly for the best methods to meet those three standards, and one of the most effective methods to date has been process mapping.
Crime lab and law enforcement personnel should take advantage of the lessons learned by their business counterparts and develop industry-specific process maps to critically identify and continually improve the evidence collection processes to meet the quality, time, and cost requirements identified by their criminal justice and community customers. Once process maps are created, crime scene investigators can begin the next phase of their improvement by learning how to get those processes under control.