PFD310 - Forensic Crime Scene Investigation

Outline info
Last revision date Sep 30, 2019 12:35:19 AM
Last review date Nov 11, 2019 12:15:01 AM

Subject Title
Forensic Crime Scene Investigation

Subject Description
Forensic science in its broadest definition is the application of science to criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies. This subject focuses on the gathering of information for the purposes of generating evidence to be used in the court of law. You will be introduced to the study of certain technical and scientific methods currently used for identification purposes. Areas that will be covered include: biology, chemistry, ballistics and firearms, document examinations, pathology, toxicology and fingerprints.

Credit Status
This is a required course in the Police Foundations diploma program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Describe the historical development of forensic science and list various services available to law enforcement agencies at the Centre of Forensic Science.
2.  Discuss how to collect, package and preserve all physical exhibits such as blood, bones, saliva, botanical exhibits, tool mark impressions, glass analysis, etc.
3.  Make sense of legal requirements when collecting physical evidence at a crime scene and recognize what type of information the Centre of Forensic Science can provide in relation to any exhibits submitted for analysis.
4.  Assess The Coroner’s Act, a police officer’s role and other crime scene managers roles at a homicide scene.
5.  Sequence the various methods used to identify bodies, and determine the cause and time of death.
6.  Define circumstances and criteria required to obtain a DNA warrant.
7.  State legal requirements when obtaining fingerprints.  Find proper developing methods used when lifting and producing fingerprints and identify the various types of prints that can be found at a crime scene.
8.  Demonstrate crime scene search methods when searching for physical evidence.  Then, implement two different methods used when taking measurements at a crime scene and construct a crime scene diagram to scale.
9.  Construct a crime scene diagram to scale.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

History of Forensic Sciences
   - collection, packaging, preservation of blood, saliva and other body fluids, hair and fibres.  Legal requirements when obtaining DNA evidence.
   - collect,package and preserve paint, glass, metals, soil and evidence from fires
Crime scene management
   - understand methods used to identfy bodies and to determine time and cause of death
   - know he classification of drugs / poisons.  Know the availability, methods of administration and effects of common poisons
Ballistics and Documents
   - be able to collect, package and preserve weapons, bullets, cartridge cases, altered documents, anonymous writing, typewriters and cheque-writing machines
   - understand how to develop latent fingerprints, take fingerprints of persons involved and understand the classificationof fingerprints.

Mode of Instruction
Classroom lectures, practical exercises and group discussions make up the primary methods of instruction.

Prescribed Texts
Evidence and Investigation: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom
by Kerry Watkins, Gail Anderson, Vincenzo Rondinelli, Warren Bulmer, Emond Montgomery Publications, ISBN# 978-1-55239-377-2

Reference Material
Laboratory Guide for the Investigator

Handbook of Forensic Evidence for the Investigator - CFS

Student Progression and Promotion Policy

Grading Policy

A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices..

Modes of Evaluation
Term tests        30%
Assignments    40% 
Final test          30%

Approved by: Sandra Noble