1. Research your local, county, and state police agencies (South Carolina). Do these agencies have a criminal investigation unit? Do “general investigators” investigate all types of crimes? Or, in contrast, is there investigative specialization—for example, a homicide unit? How many investigators are assigned to such units? Do officers have to meet a certain criteria to be assigned to these units? How are officers selected? Is there any history on the creation of these units?
2. Log onto your local, county, or state law-enforcement agency website (South Carolina) and find out if the agency uses mobile computer terminals. If it does, in what capacity are they used? Are all patrol vehicles equipped with MCTs? Does the site provide any information on other data technology used by officers (PDAs, and so on)? If so, what?
3. Visit the FBI website at www.fbi.gov and search for the crime laboratory. What services are provided to law enforcement by the lab? What are the primary missions of the FBI, and how does the crime lab support those missions? What are CART and CIRG? What are the primary forensic examinations performed by the lab? Finally, what is LEO, and how is it employed in reference to sharing forensic information among law-enforcement agencies?
4. According to victimization studies, more than 430,000 sexual assaults occur annually in the United States. This site, www.ncrjs.org/pdffiles1/jr000243c.pdf, answers questions about what we have learned from the victims of sexual assault. Questions include: What have victims taught us? How are victims prevented from detecting threats to their safety? How are victims inhibited from exercising self-defense? In what ways do rapists appear to present themselves as rescuers? In what ways does the victim’s inability to recall what happened affect the system’s response? In what ways is drugging a unique form of trauma? How does being able to forget compare with being unable to remember?
5. . Most large police agencies in the United States have robbery investigation units. Find several such agencies in your region (South Carolina). What is the total number of officers assigned to these units? What are the units’ functions and responsibilities? Is there information concerning the numbers of robberies that are investigated and/or cleared? Is any robbery prevention information provided? Websites such as www.officer .com provide information to both local and international police agencies
6. Check the web to see if your state (SC) has law enforcement and/or insurance organizations that specialize in the investigation of motor vehicle and other related thefts. What types of investigative services do they provide? Are auto theft statistics available for your state? Does the site have auto theft prevention information? If you were a criminal investigator, what other information do you think should be available on the site?
7. Many large police agencies and/or states have investigative units specializing in arson and bomb detection. Check several municipal and state police agencies in your region (South Carolina) by using websites such as www.officer.com and www.leolinks.com. What are the functions and the responsibilities of these units? Under what conditions do they respond (arson investigation, bomb threats, and so on)? Are any statistics provided concerning the number of cases they have responded to and/or investigated?
8. Since September 11, 2001, several police departments and law-enforcement institutes throughout the country have begun to offer training for police personnel on preparing for, investigating, and responding to terrorist crime incidents. Search the web for information on this training. What types of training are available? What topic areas do they cover? Do you think the training would be helpful to a criminal investigator? Why or why not? Is there any specific type of training that you think should be provided but is not available?