Cop Corner with S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi: July 12th, 2016

Myth vs. Fact.  We sometimes get questions about why we do things the way we do, so let’s put some common myths to bed.

“Can’t you fingerprint that?”  Yes we can, but the results are not always what you’d expect.  Surface types, cleanliness, exposure to the elements and time since contact are just a few factors that affect whether prints can be salvaged.  Notwithstanding that, we still need to have a bad guy’s prints to compare them too, and that only happens when they’ve gotten a criminal record in the past.  So although helpful, they are not a slam dunk by any means.  Caution and practicality should be exercised as it’s neither a clean or entirely safe process when we contaminate your property with chemicals not normally found under your kitchen sink.

“What about DNA?”  Again yes we can use it but bear in mind that we have all kinds of DNA floating all around us everyday and everywhere.  Our bodies, our clothing, our vehicles…well you get the idea.  You’ve probably got 10 or more friends or family members hanging out with you at work right now!  So say hello to your little tag-alongs.  Who’s profile we lift and how that links into the crime are the compelling factors here.  CSI was an entertaining show but their ability to find a piece of hair or spec of dirt, aim a green laser at it, and solve a 20 year mystery is unrealistic if not baffling.

In my experience there is no substitute for sound crime scene examinations, proper statement taking, and most importantly, community involvement to help solve and prevent crimes.  It’s just not as automatic as it sometimes seems to be.  Stay safe.
*Cop Corner is written and provided by S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi of the Bonnyville RCMP DETACHMENT and has not been altered from the author’s original content.