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Monday, August 8, 2016

Basic Field Pack/Evidence Collection Pack

Courtesy of the MABRC

The basic idea is to have a kit that allows you to collect evidence in the field made up of items that are purchased locally at a minimal cost.Ideal evidence kit is one that takes up a minimal amount of space, yet contains sufficient items to handle the majority of applications. To that end the list being proposed for this purpose is one that can be contained in a fanny pack. 

Note: heavy and bulky items can be stored in a vehicle or at base camp (if a pack in situation) until needed. Such as casting powder etc. . The exception would be if you are working in a team and the items can be split up among team members. 

Compact Camera: This is in addition to any other camera (s) you carry with you. A small digital with zoom capability are common place now. It should be placed in the evidence kit and used only to document any potential evidence you find. This does not mean that you do not take pictures with other cameras of evidence. All cameras have traits and by using more then one details that would normally be missed could be picked up. It allows for one camera to be dedicated to potential evidence. 

Small Flash Light: Besides allowing you to illuminate shadowed areas, a flash light held at different angles allows you to pick out details you might normally miss. This is especially important when examining tracks. Allowing you to concentrate photographing the area or taking extra care if you cast it.

Measure: Tape measures can be very useful, but only if properly used. In purchasing a tape measure it should be wide with large numbers. It is also a good idea to use a dulling agent on the tape measure prior to using. This allows for a better chance of reading any measurements on photos taken. A track caliper is a much better choice then a tape measure for measuring a track. (It can be easily constructed from inexpensive items.)

Sterilizing Agent: A small bottle or vial to be used to clean and disinfect any item that you will use repeatedly, such as tweezers.

Tweezers: Sterilize and dry after purchasing, then enclose in a safe environment such as a vial or zip lock. Use to pick up small objects. Do not handle with out clean non-powdered gloves. After use, sterilize and replace in container.

Q-Tips: Should be stored in zip lock bags or in individual containers. 

Gloves: Nitrile are the recommended, however any non-powdered "rubber" (using rubber as a generic term for lab type gloves not specifically rubber gloves) glove can be used. Do not handle potential evidence that you collect with your bare hands.

Knife: A disposable surgical knife or sterilized utility blade to be used in a utility knife. At times a sharp sterile knife is needed to remove a piece of potential evidence with out damaging it or to collect evidence. The blades can be sterilized and carried in a container separate from the knife. When needed, remove a blade (while wearing gloves) place it in the knife and use it. When done the blade may be resterilized or disposed of.

Containers: Envelopes from small coin size up to large manila should be in the kit, as well as a couple vials and some zip lock bags.

Note Book and Pencil: It should be small enough to fit in the kit. A small 4X6 ring binder with lined pages in front and unlined card stock in the back. When potential evidence if found, note it and the details in the lined section, then in the back draw a diagram of the item on the card stock. Including a rough site map, prominent features of the area and evidence.

Permanent Marker: 

3X5 Cards: These are used for documentation in photos, pertinent information such as time, date, location, name etc are written on the card and included in the photos by placing next to the potential evidence prior to photographing.

Spot Markers: These are extremely valuable when doing field research. A piece of bright cloth with a marble or rock tied in it. (If you take a photo of something, drop one of these directly between your feet to mark the spot you took the picture from. ) It allows for marking exact locations in an easy to find way. They may also be tied to near by brush or trees for photo referencing, trail marking etc.

Magnifying Glass: This one is pretty self explanatory, for examining items. Most sewing stores or departments also carry tweezers with a magnifying glass attached. While the magnifying glass may be a bit small and cause some eye strain if used to examine large surfaces, it is great for assisting in collection of small items and worth the space as a second tweezers and magnifying glass.

Tape Recorder: A mini or micro tape recorder dedicated to specific potential evidence. Other items recommended to have with that may be stored at base camp or in vehicle until needed.

* Lightweight tool box* Ruler or photo scale (these items should be in your carry kit if they fit)* Large surveyors tape for mapping* Pen/pencil* Evidence custody log* Tape recorder for recording impressions during investigation* Casting material* Reinforcing media I.e. plastic mesh bamboo kabob skewers* Two bottles of water* Gallon or larger bags to mix in* Border material* Multi tool* Evidence collection procedures manual* Large plastic sealable container* Duct tape* Ball of String or Twine* Garden hand spade* Paint Brush (at least 2 of differing sizes)* Trowel* Flagging Stakes 

Fixed Blade Knife: A heavy belt knife of good steel. Of all the items you can take with you, this is perhaps the most important. 

Basic First Aid Kit: Odds are you will not have to do any thing major, but you will have to treat, nicks, cuts, scrapes, and a varieties of other minor problems. So, a small basic kit should take care of them. (Note: Rule of thumb, the longer the trip/pack in or the larger the group the larger the first aid kit.)

Walking Stick: It does assist in walking in hilly or rough terrain. Can be used as a track stick (for measuring stride so you can find where the next track should be if you loss it). I have a tripod mount in the top of mine so I can mount a spotting scope or camera and use the walking stick like a mono pod. You can also take black tape and wrap around the stick at 1 foot intervals, this will enable the stick to be used as a method of measurement.

Don't Forgets: Extra batteries for every piece of equipment that takes batteries, Rolls of film of various speeds, extra memory cards for digital cameras, tapes that fit any tape recorders you have with, tapes or CD's for any video cameras you have with. Meds (even day tripping take your meds with, a hundred things can happen that may strand you in the woods for a day or two), Extra pair of glasses and at least 3 extra pair of socks. (trust me on the socks they have dozens of uses not the least of which is keeping your feet dry which can make the difference between a fantastic trip and a miserable one.)

Hydration Source: Water or a means of obtaining it.

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