Development of Crime Scene Investigation 1700-Present

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Contemporary criminal investigation owes its genesis to several notable individuals and events, the first significant one being the 1748 appointment of Henry Fielding as Magistrate of England’s Bow Street. In 1750, as a response to widespread crime and disorder throughout his jurisdiction, Fielding formed the Bow Street Runners, which became the first paid detective unit. Another noteworthy individual in the evolution of criminal investigation was Eugène François Vidocq, a former criminal turned crime fighter who is considered the father of modern criminology. In 1811 Vidocq organized a plain-clothed civilian detective unit called the Brigade de la Sûreté (Security Brigade), and in 1812, when the police realized the value of this unit, it was officially converted to the National Police Force, with Vidocq appointed head of the unit. In 1833 Vidocq created Le Bureau des Renseignements (Office of Information), which combined private police and private investigation into what is considered the first private detective agency. Interestingly, most of the agents were ex-criminals. As head of the unit, ­Vidocq is often recognized as the first private detective in history. Vidocq is credited with introducing undercover work, ballistics and criminology. He made the first plaster shoe cast impressions and created indelible ink and unalterable bond paper. The exclusive Vidocq Society— a fraternal organization whose members are both law enforcement professionals and nonprofessionals and meet monthly in a social setting to evaluate and discuss un-solved crimes, often homicides, officially brought to them by other law enforcement agencies— is named after him. Meanwhile, in the United States, the first municipal detective divisions were beginning to take shape. Allan Pinkerton, who immigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1842, played a significant historical role in

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