The source investigation should not interfere or compromise the primary investigation being conducted by the first responding agency that has immediate control of and responsibility for the scene.
The investigating agent should maintain equipment necessary to perform the duties required if a response to an incident is necessary, such as a radio to communicate with the dispatch center, a cell phone, a laptop or portable tablet, a camera, evidence tags or labels, seizure receipts, a digital recorder, external thumb drives, etc.
The investigating agent should be aware that source investigations are time sensitive and the utmost diligence should be adhered to in beginning and completing the investigation in a timely manner. Source investigations are time sensitive due to two primary reasons:
The preservation of evidence and
The memory of events by witnesses.
The investigating agent must have an understanding or basic knowledge of the laws in their State or municipality regarding premises inspections or vehicle inspections and whether or not a search warrant or a subpoena duces tecum is needed or required.
The investigating agent should follow established interview techniques when talking to witnesses and be sensitive when interviewing family members or friends of those injured or deceased, (sample questions);
The investigating agent should follow department or agency's guidelines or protocol when completing written reports regarding format and timeliness. A source investigation report format should not be any different from the agency's established criteria.
The investigating agent should submit reports for review by supervisors and possible submission for criminal and/or administrative action.
The investigating agent should follow the department's established protocol in notifying local media and/or advocacy groups of the outcomes of successful prosecutions or administrative actions taken against those responsible for the reason of the source investigation (Click here for sample press releases).