Home About Us Laboratory Services Forensic Science Communications Back Issues January 2000 Guidelines for Field Applications of Imaging...

Guidelines for Field Applications of Imaging Technologies by the Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies (SWGIT)(FSC, January 2000)

Guidelines for Field Applications of Imaging Technologies by the Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies (SWGIT)(FSC, January 2000)

fsc_logo_top.jpg
fsc_logo_left.jpg

January 2000 - Volume 2 - Number 1

Guidelines for Field Applications of Imaging Technologies

Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies (SWGIT)
(Version 2.0, June 8, 1999


Read about …

Letter From Unit Chief, Special Photographic Unit, FBI Laboratory
Instructions for Submitting Comments
Introduction
Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications
Silver-Based Film Cameras
Digital Cameras

Video Cameras

Hybrid Imaging Systems

Guidelines For Standard Operating Procedures
Crime Scene Photography SOP
First Responder: SOP A and SOP B
Surveillance Photography SOP
Tactical Survey SOP
HAZMAT Scene Photography SOP
Aerial Photography SOP
Accident Scene Photography SOPs
(A and B)
Miscellaneous SOPs


                                                  Washington, D. C. 20535
                                                  December 1, 1999

Dear Colleague,


            The Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies (SWGIT) includes approximately 25 representatives from law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as imaging scientists from academia. In April of this year, the SWGIT issued a preliminary set of general guidelines and recommendations for the use of various imaging technologies by law enforcement professionals. This draft document, “Definitions and Guidelines for the Use of Imaging Technologies in the Criminal Justice System,” was released on the Internet on the FBI Home Page as part of the inaugural issue of the FBI Laboratory’s electronic journal, Forensic Science Communications (FSC). Readers were asked to provide feedback so that we could be sure that the guidelines address the needs of the entire law enforcement imaging community. Based on this feedback, a revised edition was published in the October 1999 issue of FSC.

             While the draft guidelines document addresses law enforcement imaging applications in very general terms, the SWGIT is also preparing additional documents that focus more specifically on different law enforcement applications. The first of these documents, “Guidelines for Field Applications of Imaging,” has been prepared and is being released in this edition of the FSC for general comment. It provides general guidelines for the preparation of agency-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various situations encountered by law enforcement personnel in field settings. It also includes brief descriptions of some of the advantages and disadvantages of each major image capture technology: silver-based film cameras, digital still cameras, and full-motion video cameras, along with some equipment recommendations.

              This communication is intended not only to inform you of these documents, but also to request your assistance in the dissemination and revision of them. To view the documents at the FBI home page go to www.fbi.gov, click on “FBI Library,” and then select Forensic Science Communications. Individuals with access to Law Enforcement On-line (LEO) can also find these documents via links at the SWGIT special interest group location.

              Your feedback is important. If you are interested in contributing comments, please respond prior to June 1, 2000. Instructions for submitting comments are attached. The SWGIT will incorporate the responses generated by these drafts prior to issuing final versions of them.

              Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

              Sincerely,
            Signature of Athena Varounis
              SSA Athena Varounis
              Unit Chief, Special Photographic Unit
              Laboratory Division

Back to the top

Instructions for
Submitting Comments on

“Guidelines for Field Applications
of Imaging”

If you wish to submit comments to the Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies (SWGIT), you may do so via E-mail or surface mail.

When submitting your comments, include the following:

1. Your name;
2. Your job title;
3. Name and address of your agency;
4. Telephone number; and
5. E-mail address.

When commenting on specific parts or sections of the draft guidelines, please indicate the document and section title to which you are referring, as well as any specific wording that is in question.

If replying via E-mail, include the previously requested information (1–5, above) in the body of your E-mail and enter “SWGIT Documents Review” as your subject line. You may include your comments in the body of your E-mail or as an attachment in either WordPerfect or Microsoft Word.

Forward your comments to either of the following addresses: ddavies@leo.gov or rvorderb@leo.gov.

If replying via surface mail, include the previously requested information (1–5, above) in a cover letter, followed by your comments, and forward them to the following address:

Richard W. Vorder Bruegge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Laboratory Division Room 3449
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20535

Back to the top

Introduction

The purpose of this document is

  • To provide specific recommendations and guidelines for the use of imaging technologies in law enforcement field applications;

  • To provide the advantages and disadvantages of silver-based film cameras, digital cameras, video cameras, and hybrid imaging systems in law enforcement field applications;

  • To provide general guidelines for preparing agency-specific imaging technologies standard operating procedures (SOPs) for law enforcement field applications; and

  • To provide imaging equipment recommendations.

This document addresses the photographic documentation of events or subjects that are not in a controlled environment (e.g., studio or laboratory). These field applications include the following:

  • General crime scene photography.

  • First responder (FR) photography.

    • When crime scene photography personnel will not be called

    • Prior to arrival of crime scene photography personnel

  • Surveillance photography.

  • Tactical surveys.

  • Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) crime scene photography.

  • Aerial photography.

  • Accident scenes.

  • Arson photography.

  • Autopsy photography.

  • Bombing photography.

  • Mass disaster photography.

  • Search warrant photography.

  • Gang-related graffiti photography (FR).

    • When agency policy does not require that crime scene photography personnel respond.

    • When agency policy requires that crime scene photography personnel respond.

  • Field mug shots and tattoos (FR).

  • Victim photography.

  • Administrative evidence and property documentation.

Back to the top

Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications

The selection of an acquisition device (camera) is driven by the purpose and requirements of the end product. Therefore, the final use of the image should determine the choice of the camera.

Silver-Based Film Cameras

It is strongly recommended that conventional silver-based film be the primary capture media for evidentiary photography or imaging in field applications.

Advantages of Silver-Based Film Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Highest resolution.

  • Highest dynamic range.

  • Best color range.

  • Most flexibility of currently available image options.

  • Most durable storage medium.

  • More readily available in the field than video or digital storage media.

Resolution is the amount of sharpness or detail in the image and is dependent on the amount of pixels or grain in an image. Generally, the quality of the final image is determined by the amount of grain or pixels contained in the primary image.

In digital imaging, resolution is a function of the number of pixels across the width and the height of the charge coupled device (CCD). The pixel count is established by multiplying these numbers:


camera resolution of 640 x 480 = 307,200 total pixels.


Pixels must be capable of recording three colors to make a traditional color photograph. Each color is typically recorded as a byte of information. To determine the file size of a 640 x 480 pixel image, multiply 640 x 480 x 3 (3 colors) = 921,600 bytes or 900k.

Two hundred pixels per inch (ppi) are generally used as the divisor to determine the acceptable printing size from a given image resolution. (This value is considered to be conservative by some.) In general, dividing the number of pixels by 200 ppi will provide the optimum printing size for an image captured by a digital camera.

For example, a camera with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels would be calculated:


640 pixels/200 ppi = 3.2 inches and 480 pixels/200 ppi = 2.4 inches.


Therefore, the best photographic result produced by this camera would be a 2.4 x 3.2-inch image which is approximately a wallet-sized photograph. Although it is possible to print an 8 x 10-inch photograph from an image captured by this camera, the quality of the photograph will be degraded. In order to produce an acceptable 5 x 7-inch photograph, a digital camera with a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels is required, and a resolution of 2000 x 1600 pixels for an 8 x 10-inch photograph is required.

Due to the extremely small size of the silver crystals used to make a film image, the resolution of film is dramatically higher than images produced with digital cameras. The average 35-mm negative has an approximate resolution of 5500 x 3600 pixels. This number changes with the ISO of the film because faster film uses larger silver crystals. By comparison, a digital camera with a resolution of 640 x 480 contains only 1.6 percent of the information capable of being recorded on a 35-mm negative.

Additional Comparisons

Sensor 35-mm film High-end
digital cameras
(at least 1500 x 1000 pixels)
Low-end
digital cameras
(fewer than 1500 x 1000 pixels)
Pixel count 5500 x 3600 3000 x 2000 1280 x 960
Print size 27.5 x 18 15 x 10 6.4 x 4.8
Average cost
(at press)
 


$20,000


$1,000

Dynamic range: The difference between the brightest highlight and darkest value that a sensor (film or CCD) can detect and record in a single image. Negative film provides from two to four more f-stops than most digital cameras. This increased dynamic range allows capture of both shadow detail and highlight detail in a single frame of film. These details may require several different images (at different capture settings) when recorded with a digital camera.

Color range: The range of colors that can be detected by a sensor compared to normal human vision. Negative film has a color range that is superior to CCDs.

Flexibility: Silver-based photography provides a wider selection of film speeds and types than digital cameras. Film can be selected for specific applications in the field, and the film speed or type can be changed on-site to meet specific needs.

Disadvantages of Silver-Based Film Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Need for separate processing and printing facilities.

  • Relatively long processing time.

  • Environmental hazards generated by processing byproducts.

  • Preprocessing fragility (e.g., temperature, humidity, X-ray effects).

  • No means of immediate image evaluation (with the exception of

    instant film).

Back to the top

Digital Cameras

Advantages of Digital Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Immediacy of image (instant viewing and verification of image).

  • Ability to transmit and disseminate image with minimum of intermediate steps.

  • On-site image management.

  • On-site image printing.

  • Operational security (all processing is in-house).

  • More environmentally friendly than film.

Disadvantages of Digital Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Battery or power supplies (environmental impact, availability, power conversion).

  • Limited availability of storage media (available only from specialized stores).

  • Storage media subject to damage from electromagnetic fields.

  • Image acquisition subject to electromagnetic interference.

  • Automatic compression in some digital cameras.

  • Hardware and software frequently proprietary and incompatible between manufacturers.

  • Requires increased technical support compared to film-only systems.

  • Legacy file problem (evolution of technology, including hardware and software, may impact ability to access archived images over time).

Notes on Digital Cameras:

  • High-end digital cameras are designed for the professional market and typically have sensors with at least 1500 x 1000 pixels. These cameras have imaging versatility including interchangeable lenses, macro-to-telephoto capabilities, off-camera flash, full-manual override, focus override, and through-the-lens (TTL) viewing and focus.

  • Low-end digital cameras are designed for the consumer market and typically have sensors with less than 1500 x 1000 pixels. These cameras do not have the versatility of high-end cameras and may be referred to as point-and-shoot cameras.

Back to the top

Video Cameras

Advantages of Video Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Real-time motion record capability.

  • Immediacy of image (instant viewing and verification of image).

  • Ability to transmit and disseminate image with minimum intermediate steps.

  • More environmentally friendly than film.

  • Ability to print in the field.

  • Ability to synchronize and capture audio.

Disadvantages of Video Cameras in Field Applications:

  • Battery or power supplies (environmental impact, availability, power conversion).

  • Limited availability of high-quality storage media (all formats available only from specialized stores).

  • Storage media subject to damage from electromagnetic fields.

  • Image acquisition highly subject to electromagnetic interference.

  • Resolution of still images is less than that of digital or silver-based capture media.

  • Limited color fidelity.

  • Reduced media lifetime.

  • Hand-held video frequently lacks image stability.

  • Automatic compression in some formats.

  • Weight and portability of equipment may be a problem.

Notes on Video Formats:

  • VHS and 8-mm formats are the most commonly available formats but have the worst signal-to-noise ratio of any video format (greatest amount of noise).

  • Super VHS and Hi-8 formats are the second most commonly available formats and have somewhat better signal-to-noise ratio than VHS.

  • Beta SP and MII formats are professional broadcast quality and are the best analog format available.

  • Digital video quality varies, and the high-end is better than analog systems.

Back to the top

Hybrid Imaging Systems

A hybrid imaging system is a combination of silver-based photography and digital imaging technology that typically involves the conversion of silver-based film or print images to digital images through the use of scanners. Hybrid imaging systems incorporate some of the benefits of both film and digital image technologies and are recommended for agencies and organizations seeking to add digital imaging technologies to their photographic resources.

Advantages of Hybrid Imaging Systems in Field Applications:

  • Shortened darkroom time for producing prints.

  • Maintains high-quality original film images.

  • Flexibility of digital image processing.

  • Enables easy electronic transmission of images.

  • Enables image analysis.

  • Simplifies case-file management.

  • Ability to use a variety of output devices.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Imaging Systems in Field Applications:

  • Separate processing and printing facilities.

  • Relatively long processing time.

  • Environmental hazards generated by processing byproducts.

  • Preprocessing fragility (e.g., temperature, humidity, X-ray effects).

  • No means of immediate image evaluation (with the exception of instant film).

  • Requires increased technical support compared to film-only systems.

Back to the top

Guidelines For Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP
Title: Crime Scene Photography SOP.

Purpose: To permanently document, by qualified personnel, evidence and other details at a crime scene for future reference.

Note: Crime scene photography generally requires the ability:

  • To record information that crime scene personnel may not know was important at the time the images were captured,

  • To deal with varying lighting and physical conditions,

  • To accurately represent the details and colors at a crime scene, and

  • To get close-up and wide-angle images with accurate spatial relationships.

Crime scene photography is usually a time-limited activity in which there is only one opportunity to correctly complete the task. Depending on the nature of the crime or incident, conditions at a crime scene may dictate the selection and use of equipment and techniques.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based film cameras are recommended for use as the primary image capture device. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm (SLR) camera capable of manual override, interchangeable lenses, off-camera flash, and tripod mount.

  • Digital still imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. (See Digital Cameras.) Digital still imaging can be used when the performance of the equipment can be shown to meet anticipated needs.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for documenting crime scene evidence.

Calibration: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation and manufacturers’ manuals.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for a First Responder SOP (A)
(A) The only images taken are those by the first responding officer(s).

Title: First Responder Photography SOP.

Purpose: To document conditions found at an incident by the first law enforcement officer(s) on the scene where a crime scene photography unit or specialist will not be requested.

Note: Examples may include domestic violence incidents, traffic accidents, minor property crimes, and other incidents as defined by agency-specific policies. Photography generally is not the first responder’s primary responsibility, and the first responder may have only a minimal amount of photography training.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based media film camera. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm camera with flash and close-up capability.

  • Digital still imaging. The minimum recommendation is for a camera with more than 640 x 480 pixels, on-camera viewer, close-up capability, flash, and removable storage media.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for documenting the scene.

Note: Images from separate incidents should be clearly delineated through a change of storage media or through proper documentation.

Calibration: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: Successful capture of close-up images will require adhering to manufacturers’ specifications. Images captured digitally typically have a limited enlargement capability that is less than those captured using 35-mm film. (See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.) Successful capture of images also requires using fresh media (e.g., film that is not past expiration and has been stored properly) and well-maintained equipment .

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation and manufacturers’ manuals.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for a First Responder SOP (B)
(B) Images taken by the first responding officer(s) prior to arrival of a crime scene photographer.

Title: First Responder Photography SOP.

Purpose: To document conditions found at an incident by the first law enforcement officer(s) on the scene prior to the arrival of a crime scene photographer.

Note: This guideline is directed toward documenting transient conditions that might be lost prior to the arrival of crime scene photographers. Examples include situations in which evidence must or might be moved, lost, or altered. Photography generally is not the first responder’s primary responsibility, and the first responder may have only a minimal amount of photography training.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based media film camera. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm camera with flash and close-up capability.

  • Digital still imaging. The minimum recommendation is for a camera with more than 640 x 480 pixels, on-camera viewer, close-up capability, flash, and removable storage media.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for documenting the scene.

Note: Images from separate incidents should be clearly delineated through a change of storage media or proper documentation.

Calibration: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: The successful capture of close-up images will require adhering to the manufacturers’ specifications. Images captured digitally or with video typically have a limited enlargement capability that is less than those captured using 35-mm film. (See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.) Successful capture of images also requires using fresh media (film that is not past expiration and has been stored properly and new, unused videotapes) and well-maintained equipment.

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation and manufacturers’ manuals.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for a Surveillance Photography SOP
Title
: Surveillance Photography SOP.

Purpose: To document acts and individuals engaged in those acts as they occur.

Note: Surveillance activities may involve highly specialized techniques and equipment that require technical training and knowledge and are best accomplished by trained specialists.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based media film camera. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm camera with capability to disable the flash and infrared auto-focus transmitter.

  • Digital still imaging. The minimum recommendation is for a camera with a minimum pixel resolution of 1500 x 1000 pixels, capability to accommodate long telephoto lenses, and to disable the flash and infrared auto-focus transmitter. In covert surveillance situations, illumination of the photographer by the LCD screen may compromise safety.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Note: State laws may limit the legality of audiotaping. Check local statutes for the legality of all surveillance activities.

Specialized equipment: Night vision and thermal imaging equipment.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for surveillance activities. If audio is used, simultaneous recording of audio with video on the same media and testing of the system prior to use is strongly recommended.

Calibration: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: The successful capture of images sufficient for identification of depicted individuals and/or objects (e.g, license plates) will require close attention to the selection and appropriate use of equipment.

Images captured digitally or with video typically have a limited enlargement capability that is less than those captured using 35-mm film. (See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.) The successful capture of images also requires using fresh media (e.g., film that is not past expiration and has been stored properly; new, unused videotapes) and well-maintained equipment.

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation, manufacturers’ manuals, and local statutes.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for a Tactical Survey SOP
Title
: Tactical Survey SOP.

Purpose: To document conditions at a location so that plans can be made for future law enforcement activities.

Note: Tactical photography is directed at obtaining general information regarding the physical layout and major contents of a location in preparation for law enforcement activities.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based media film camera. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm camera.

  • Digital still imaging. Minimum recommendation is for a camera with more than 640 x 480 pixels.

  • Video imaging. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization.
    (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for documenting locations.

Calibration: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: Location-specific limitations may apply.

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation and manufacturers’ manuals.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for a HAZMAT Scene Photography SOP
Title
: HAZMAT Scene Photography SOP.

Purpose: To permanently document, by qualified personnel, evidence and other details at a crime scene that may contain biological, chemical, and/or radiological hazards.

Note: A careful assessment of each HAZMAT scene is necessary prior to committing personnel and equipment. The means for inserting, removing, and sanitizing personnel and equipment from a scene should be planned prior to initial entry. HAZMAT scene photography generally requires the ability

  • To record information that crime scene personnel may not realize was important at the time the images were captured,

  • To deal with varying lighting conditions,

  • To accurately represent all of the details and colors at a crime scene, and

  • To get close-up and wide-angle images with accurate spatial relationships.

HAZMAT crime scene photography is usually a time-limited activity in which there is only one opportunity to correctly complete the task. This type of photography usually involves the use of protective clothing and gear that makes the operation of photographic equipment more difficult.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based film cameras are recommended for use as the primary image capture device. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm (SLR) camera capable of manual override, interchangeable lenses, off-camera flash, and tripod mount. If protective housings are not available but needed, disposable, water-proof 35-mm cameras may be necessary for some HAZMAT scene photography.

  • Digital still imaging can be used as the primary means when the performance of the equipment can be shown to meet anticipated needs or when contamination issues may preclude the use of silver-based media. Otherwise, digital still imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. (See Digital Cameras.) The minimum recommendation is for a high-end camera.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Specialized equipment: Equipment for protecting personnel and camera systems.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for documenting crime scene evidence.

Calibration: If necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If considered necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.

Protective equipment will hamper the use of some equipment, and conditions may not permit the use of other equipment (e.g., flash, film).

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation and manufacturers’ manuals.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for an Aerial Photography SOP
Title
: Aerial Photography SOP.

Purpose: To document locations, activities, and geographical relationships using aircraft as a platform.

Note: Aerial photography may involve highly specialized techniques and equipment that require technical training and knowledge and is best accomplished by trained specialists.

Equipment: (Image Capture Devices)

  • Silver-based media film camera. The minimum recommendation is a 35-mm camera capable of manual operation.

  • Digital still imaging. The minimum recommendation is for a camera with a pixel resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels or higher.

  • Video imaging can be used in a supplementary capacity. S-VHS, Hi-8, or better quality formats are recommended. It is suggested that cameras have the ability to incorporate external or wireless audio, to disable on-camera audio, and to incorporate in-camera image stabilization. (See Video Cameras.)

  • Other standard photographic equipment as necessary.

Specialized equipment: Night vision or thermal imaging equipment.

Procedures: Agency-specific step-by-step instructions for aerial photography activities.

Calibration: If necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Calculations: If necessary, agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

Limitations: Check local statutes for legality of all surveillance activities.

Images captured digitally or with video typically have a limited enlargement capability that is less than those captured using 35-mm film. (See Advantages and Disadvantages of Major Image Capture Technologies in Field Applications.) Successful capture of images also requires using fresh media (e.g., film that is not past expiration and has been stored properly and new, unused videotapes) and well-maintained equipment.

Safety: Agencies should develop procedures specific to their needs.

References: Agency-specific documentation, manufacturers’ manuals, and local statutes.

Back to the top

General Guidelines for an Accident Scene Photography SOP (A)
When agency policy does not require that crime scene photography personnel respond.

See General Guidelines for a First Responder SOP (A).

General Guidelines for an Accident Scene Photography SOP (B)
When agency policy requires that crime scene photography personnel respond.

See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for an Arson Scene Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for Autopsy Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for a Bombing Scene Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for a Mass Disaster Scene Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for a Search Warrant Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

General Guidelines for a Gang-Related Graffiti Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a First Responder SOP.

General Guidelines for a Field Mug Shots and Tattoos Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a First Responder SOP.

General Guidelines for a Victim Photography SOP
See General Guidelines for a Crime Scene Photography SOP.

Back to the top