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Best Practices for Handling “Cold Hits”

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Law Enforcement Management of Cold Hits

Effective management of cold hits requires a team effort to ensure the case is worked toward a resolution. The composition of this team may vary based on the type of crime, but communication among the members is the key factor.15 Team meetings should be held to help establish guidelines and protocols for these cases. Using a multi-disciplinary approach to these hits will help ensure a successful outcome. It is critical to identify and include key stakeholders on this team:

This multi-disciplinary team should meet to discuss a variety of issues related to the case(s) as appropriate, including legal requirements, confirmation samples, search warrants, prosecution requirements, chain of custody, witnesses, additional evidence testing, victim and family-related issues and identification of required resources.16

15 Frederick R. Bieber, Turning Base Hits Into Earned Runs: Improving the Effectiveness of Forensic DNA Databank Programs, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 34 J.L. Med. & Ethics 222 (2006)
16 CO HB 07-1272 PDF download: 40kB • Visit the Colorado Cold Case Task Force »

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