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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inteview with Homicide - Behind the Plot - Part II

Here is the second installment on Homicide procedures based off of my interviews with the Portland Police Homicide Division. Again, this is a bit fictionalize as it helps me to focus in on facts and how they can relate to fiction. Note: Names are fictional.


Portland Police Homicide gets a call from the lead officer on the scene. It was taken by Detective Smith, one or two leads on shift that night.

“We’ve got a victim with his throat torn out and multiple wounds consistent with axe or hatchet marks. An axe was found on the scene.” He then tells the Smith everything they have gathered so far. “What are your instructions?"

“Cordon off the area, remove the officers and the witness from the scene, if you haven’t already, and wait for us to get there. Start canvassing the neighbors to see if anyone heard or saw anything.

Smith got off the radio and stared for a split second at his phone. It was going to be a long night.

After informing his commander and his two support detectives, the sergeant, and the lieutenant, to head over to the scene and arranging for Forensics to meet him there, he picked up the receiver and dialed a series of numbers.

“Sorry to disturb you, sir,” he said to the DA, “but we have a possible homicide up at the Overview. Local Tai Kwon Do instructor in girlfriend’s apartment. Do you want to meet me there? We’ve got permission from one of the occupants to search the premises, but her roommate is out on a date. Do you want to get a search warrant now or wait until the roommate comes back?”

“I’ll meet you on the scene and get a search warrant on my way.”

“Yes, sir. I’ve sent out a patrol to try to locate the roommate, but I think we need to get in there as soon as possible.” Smith knew they could not even step through the door until they got permission from both occupants of the apartment. A search warrant would help expedite everything and he was grateful the DA was on top of it.

When Smith arrived on the scene, the lobby of the apartment building looked like a convention. The two support detectives were organizing a large group of officers who were preparing to canvas the neighbors, perform forensics on the apartment, hallway, or anywhere else the evidence led them, and dispersing additional officers needed for crowd control. The high rise occupants, the nosy security guard, and a very disgruntled manager were all clamoring for answers. It was tightly organized chaos. Smith knew it was in good hands, so took the elevator to the 11th floor.

Uniformed officers stood outside two different apartment doors, one right next to the other. He decided to take a quick look at the scene when he arrived, so bypassed the door where they were questioning a pretty woman, probably the witness. He entered the scene and ran professional eyes over every aspect of the apartment, starting with the victim laying across the couch and table and expanding outward from there. That would be how he would run this investigation, from the victim out, just like always. He radioed down to one of the support detectives on the first floor to go ahead and send up the forensics team.

To be continued…