What I learned in Homicide School

After taking a two-day course taught by Global Training Institute, I was overwhelmed with information on law enforcement and the officers fighting crime in Southern California. Here are a few things I learned that I think all crime writers should know:

California Penal Codes - Granted these can be looked up on the internet nowadays (I even have a hard copy of the California Penal Code, but it’s still can be daunting to peruse). I learned there is no such penal code for B&E. ‘Breaking and Entering’ is a reference under the Burglary Penal Code 459. I also learned that you can be charged with Battery PC 242 or Assault PC 240, but you can’t be charged with both. It’s one or the other.

Crime Scene Investigation - Homicide Detectives don’t rush onto a crime scene. They wait for everyone to arrive, including other detectives, Crime Scene Investigators (CSI or SID) and then they hold a briefing to discuss the situation and start a crime scene log.

Also, did you know that cops can’t enter a house without a warrant, even if it’s a crime scene (unless given permission by the owners-impossible if the owner is the one dead in the living room)?

Trace Evidence Collection - During the class, we also learned about Locard exchange, GSR, and Amido Black. (If you don’t know what these are and you write about crime, you need to attend Homicide School!)

Decomp & Blood - The most interesting sessions of the weekend were the sessions on Decomposition and Bloodstain Pattern Recognition. I learned what happens when death occurs and the states of decomp. I also can identify the different types of blood spatter, including arterial spurting, satellite stains, skeleton stains, cast off and void patterns. Fascinating stuff!

Court Cases - We briefly discussed the legal aspects such as the fourth amendment, the difference between murder and homicide, excusable or OIS (Officer Involved Shooting), and the difference between first and second degree murder.

I want to thank Sergeant Derek Pacifico, President and Founder of Global Training Institute for putting on such a world-class training event, and including several case studies for our discussion. Anyone interested in more information on the next event, feel free to contact me and I will forward you Pacifico’s information.

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