Crime Scene Response
The WSCLB currently staffs on-call Crime Scene Response Units (CSRU) at the Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau Laboratories 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. The role of the CSRU was clearly defined when the Crime Laboratory System was established in 1947 under State Statute §165.75. The CSRU responds to calls from law enforcement agencies for assistance at major crime scenes, typically homicides, and autopsies. When requested by an authorized law enforcement or government official, the WSCLB provides a team of trained scientific staff to assist in processing the crime scene. Mobile units are equipped to aid in the recognition, documentation, recovery, and preservation of physical materials which may have evidentiary value.
Volunteers are drawn from the staff of various units within the WSCLB. Currently there are twenty-two individuals employed by the WSCLB, from multiple disciplines and all three Bureau locations, that volunteer as members of the CSRU. They receive specialized forensic training in crime scene photography, blood stain pattern, casting, body fluid collection, blood borne pathogens, fingerprint and footwear development and recovery, bullet trajectory, buried body recovery and processing vehicles.
The CSRU responded to 80 requests in 2015 and 88 requests in 2016 for assistance by law enforcement agencies. The average amount of time spent on a crime scene response is 18 hours. This includes travel, processing and report generation time per CSRU member responding. Based upon a two member team responding this would be approximately 36 analytical hours per investigation.
Crime Scene Response : Caseload and Case Type
In 2016, the WSCLB responded to eighty-eight requests from law enforcement. As demonstrated in the graph to the below, the Crime Scene Response Unit primarily responds to three types of scenes: homicides, officer involved shootings, and autopsies.