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Footwear, The Missed Evidence

"A Field Guide to the Collection and Preservation of Forensic Footwear Impression Evidence"

 
Footwear, The Missed Evidence

Footwear, The Missed Evidence
Editor: Dwane S. Hilderbrand

Publisher: Staggs Publishing; 1999; 188 pages

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Footwear, The Missed Evidence -- A Field Guide to the Collection and Preservation of Forensic Footwear Impression Evidence is a handbook designed to address the needs of the crime scene investigator in the areas of collection and recovery of footwear impression evidence. Written by an internationally recognized authority in forensic footwear evidence, this 5 " by 8 " book can be carried in the field or used in the laboratory as the primary reference on locating, collecting and recovering footwear evidence.

From the author of Footwear, The Missed Evidence:

The purpose of Footwear, The Missed Evidence is to address the needs of the crime scene investigator in the areas of collection and recovery of footwear impression evidence. This is an area in which the vast majority of crime scene investigators have fallen drastically short. Invariably, we have allowed our Crime Scene Investigators to develop tunnel vision syndrome when it comes to crime scene processing. Today, everyone accepts the potential for the presence of latent prints at a crime scene, but we rarely look under our own feet. Footwear evidence has been neglected to the extent that it has been used in only a small percentage of cases.

As I began to do my research and retrieve information about the science of footwear, it became very apparent that there is very little written. I was able to locate three major books (two of which were out of print, but have now been reprinted), numerous articles and short chapters in other books about footwear evidence. It was astonishing to see how many books on crime scene investigation and physical evidence were on the market, and yet within these books was very little on forensic footwear. No wonder this is an overlooked and misunderstood science.

Footwear evidence has been overlooked for two major reasons 1) the lack of training and education in the proper search, collection and preservation methods, and 2) the evidence is undervalued or misunderstood. With the proper education in footwear evidence, both of these concerns can be overcome. This type of evidence has great evidentiary value when collected and preserved in the correct manner. Footwear evidence can reveal the type of shoe, the make, description, and, in some cases, approximate or precise size. When a crime scene is searched and documented in the correct manner, footwear evidence can also provide or assist in determining the number of suspects, their path, their involvement, and the events that occurred during the crime.

The learning methods used in this handbook center around two major concepts: 1) To provide the reader with proper training and education in footwear impression evidence, and 2) To provide well thought out reasons and answers to a forensic science that is undervalued or misunderstood by many law enforcement people. This handbook will teach the crime scene investigator to recognize, collect, and preserve footwear evidence in a manner that the footwear examiners can work. This is done with limited, but necessary equipment.

Crime Scene Investigator should be willing to devote his time and effort in proper collection and preservation and take on the challenge of difficult impressions with a new outlook and a much higher confidence level, thus resulting in more quality footwear evidence that the footwear examiner can identify. Secondly, the crime scene investigator should become more time efficient in his collection and recovery methods.

A friend of mine once said, "you become an expert in your field when you take the initiative with a subject you enjoy, learn it and study its art, conduct independent research in that field and then share it with others. If you do this, and do it because of the science, and not because someone said so, you will have reached a pinnacle of professionalism that is second to none. Learn to become your students' student." (Timothy Hahn, 1994)

Comments from readers of Footwear, The Missed Evidence:

"I didn't realize the intensity of this line of investigation. Step by step procedure led to very interesting discoveries. Would suggest this to anyone in law enforcement."

"A concise, user-friendly, step-by-step guide geared to perfecting the securing of crime scenes. Detective work has long needed such a helpful guide."

"A very comprehensive, easy to follow book. I found it not only interesting but extremely applicable!"

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Footwear Impression Evidence: Detection, Recovery and Examination

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