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Best Practices for Handling “Cold Hits”

Cold Hit Investigation: Law Enforcement Follow-Up

a criminal investigation case file containing photographs, laboratory reports, and inventoried items of evidence, open on a desk.

With the team in place, law enforcement agencies can create a few tools that will make case management easier, especially during investigations that may span years.

Create a case book to hold all appropriate materials including reports, complete case summaries, photographs/diagrams, medical records, recordings/interviews, lists of all witnesses, suspects and leads, and timelines or maps.

Develop an investigative plan for resolution of the hit in consultation with the prosecutor, laboratory, and other experts. Revisit scenes if possible or necessary and reach out for any additional manpower or details when needed. Specialized assistance can include surveillance, tactical teams and crime analysis.

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