What happens immediately after an incident occurs?

Once the 911 call is received, the ambulance service and the police are dispatched to the scene. The first attending members determine if the person is deceased or if there is life present. If there is life present, the person is rushed to the hospital by the ambulance service.

What if the person is dead?

If the person is dead and it is determined that a homicide has occurred, the crime scene is secured and police tape is put around the area. No unauthorized person is allowed into the secured area – no media people, no individuals, no police officers unless they are part of the Identification Unit*. 

Learn more about what the Identification Unit does

When a crime is committed or disaster occurs, forensic identification members, part of the Forensic Identification Unit (also called Ident for short) are called in to secure, record and document the scene as well as collect and package exhibits for analysis. 

This may include crime scene photography and sketches, fingerprint, footwear and tire-track examinations, looking for trace evidence, bloodstain pattern analysis, and collecting samples for DNA. 

The evidence collected is used to identify perpetrators or victims, and is interpreted and presented in court.

What happens if the person is still alive and has been transported to the hospital?

The scene is secured in the same way. The area is preserved and protected and perimeters are established. Only members of the Identification Unit are permitted to go into the secured area. Not even the duty officer or other members of the Homicide Unit are allowed to enter the secured area.

If the homicide happened in your home, neither you nor other members of your family will be allowed to enter this area until all the evidence has been collected and the scene is released.

What if I need something from the secured scene?

If you need to get medication or personal effects from the secured scene, make your needs known to the officer in charge. If you provide a list of things you need, the authorized people at the scene will get them for you. 

Mennonite Central Committee Canada. (2011). Getting through the maze: A guidebook for survivors of homicide.

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