10 Tips For Professional Image

ImageIf you want to be seen and respected as a professional, might I say you need to act like a professional first.  In this episode I  talk about  what I believe are the ten most important areas you should guard and improve if you want to build a professional image.   These are not in any particular order and the list is in no way all inclusive. Rather, these ten areas are what I feel are the most important.

10 tips for building a professional image

1.Keep your personal life personal

Keep your opinions to yourself or within your tightest-closets friends. Do not use social media to voice your political or hot topic opinions.  You are a public figure and although you may have an opinion, the public does not need to hear it.

2. Create the right associates

It’s important to associate yourself with people, pursuits, and organizations that help to further the professional image you want to project. Join  associations or forums related to your field.  You are the product of the five people you spend the most time with.

3. Be Positive – Be Respectful

Do you constantly find the faults in any argument, the flaws to any process, or the reasons why someone’s plans are bound to fail? While it’s great to be able to see problems before they arise, being relentlessly negative doesn’t make you liked or  respected as a professional.  If you want to be treated with respect – you have to show it and earn it. Take a positive attitude towards your work, and you’ll find that your professional image benefits.

4. Know your job

Know your job as per state statues and what your agency policies are.  Knowing your job will help you work within your job requirements and not overstepping your bounds.

5. Admit your shortcomings

It’s okay not to know everything.  Admit where you need more training and make it your responsibility  to get that training.

6. Keep your promises

If you promise to do something, do it. Unless there’s a major catastrophe, a commitment is a commitment.  If a reason comes up that you cannot full fill your promise then be sure you let the person know you’ve promised why you will be delayed.

7. Do a good job – always

If you do an excellent work then others will notice you even if you are not promoting it. Build a reputation by doing an amazing work. Your work and your reports have to stand the test of time and the scrutiny  of lawyers and other investigators.

8. Personal appearance

Personal appearance is one of those subtle things that’s difficult to quantify. Mostly, it’s a collection of a lot of small investments of time and effort that add up to a slight but noticeable tweak in how people think of you. The difference is real, and over time these small differences in a lot of interactions and events can really add up.

9. Avoid substance abuse

Alcohol and prescription drugs are often times abused by police and death investigators as a way to drown their sorrows and help to hide feelings and stress.

10. Gaurd your mental health

As death investigators we see the worst life has to offer. We must watch out mental health and understand the warning signs of ptsd and how our job changes us.

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What Are Autoerotic Deaths – (and what they are not)

Autoerotic Death

Autoerotic deaths are accidental deaths that occur during solitary sexual activity in which some type of apparatus that was used to enhance the sexual stimulation of the deceased caused the unintentional death.

These deaths are accidental, they are not suicides as some have thought. The practitioner does not intend to die as a result of this activity, but instead, dies as a result of an overdoes of asphyxiation or a failure in the mechanism of pleasure induced by the victim.

Autoerotic deaths come in many forms and are not just from an asphyxial hanging, although asphyxia is the most common.

These deaths can also occur as a result of:

Ligature Compression of the Neck
Airway Obstruction
Chest Compression
Chemicals or Gases
Electrical Stimulation
Foreign Body Insert into Penis or Anus

By its very definition these acts are solitary. Some have proposed that when an accidental death occurs during a sexual act between two people, where the airway was obstructed or blood flow was restricted during the sexual act, should be considered an autoerotic death. However, those deaths may be accidental but not autoerotic. Auto is defined as self, one’s own, or by oneself. Although monoerotic might be a better description, auto is still the appropriate terminology.

In terms of the type of apparatus used. Some mechanism; whether ligature, mechanical, or manual has to be in use as a way to enhance the sexual stimulation and arousal of the practitioner.

Some investigators find it hard to believe that these acts are in any way sexually gratifying. This practice is very much a paraphilia act, and performed by a very slim majority of the population. It is important however to keep in mind that there are three general sources of sexual pleasure.

1. Stimulation of the genital organs .
2. Lack of oxygen to the central nervous system.Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 08.11.32
3. The creation of a fear and anguish atmosphere.

Generally when a person first starts engaging in these acts, asphyxia or other mechanism are used in combination with masturbation or sexual intercourse. However, intercourse would rule out autoerotic by definition, but over time the need to masturbate will decrease and the asphyxia itself becomes the sexual activity.

It is important to understand that the evidence of masturbation during the fatal event is not mandatory . Quite the opposite actually, it is rare to find such evidence. It is common for the practitioner to use autoerotic stimulation as a means of sexual arousal and then masturbate to climax after having gained an erection and efficient arousal. A form of foreplay, if you will.

Autoerotic fatalities are classified as two types; typical and atypical. Typical deaths means they fit into a set of predetermined standards of accidental deaths as it relates to victimology, method, paraphilia and history. Atypical deaths do not meet these criteria. We will further explore these classifications in later chapters when victimology is addressed..

Lastly, in defining autoerotic deaths you must keep in mind that these are unintentional deaths – not suicide. But exercise extreme caution; you must rule these cases based upon the probability of available evidence.An accurate cause of death is crucial, a point of discussion later in this book. But better to rule a death suicide when a couple of scene features exist, while absolute facts cannot support a definitive

If someone dies during an autoerotic act, or sexual stimulation, as a result of heart attack, stoke, arrhythmia, etc., it is not an autoerotic death. Natural causes must be ruled

Sex and sexual activity can take a toll on the body; changing heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and adrenaline levels. Strenuous activity can be a common cause for heart attacks and strokes.

Remember, an autoerotic death must result in accidental death caused from the apparatus used to increase sexual pleasure. If a person dies as the result of a heart attack during the act of normal masturbation, normal meaning without the use of any aids other than one’s hand, the cause of death would be heart attack. The autoerotic factor would never come into play. The same would be true regardless of dress, activity, or scene features present. Further, if someone dies during a sexual game with a partner, that may very well be an accident, but by its very definition cannot be ruled autoerotic in nature because there was no intent of a solitary act.

Case example. A man in his mid 60’s was found by his wife sitting in a chair wearing only women’s shoes and a bra. A vacuum cleaner was nearby and in operation. The man’s penis was still inside the vacuum hose as it was apparent he was using it to aid in his masturbation. The medical examiner found the cause of death to be heart attack. So even though some of the scene features present are common with autoerotic deaths, and it was obvious that autoerotic activity was taking place, this was a natural causes death because the apparatus used, vacuum cleaner, did not cause the death due to a malfunction of its intended use for sexual pleasure.

Mistaken for child abuse

Reposted with permission of original author.

xray-coroner talk-child abuseRecently I consulted on two cases of mistaken child abuse. I was contacted by two defense attorney’s in Texas who had clients facing charges on child abuse and other related charges. I always approach these cases with an open mind, but look at the facts of the case and what the issues with the child tell us. Both of these cases the children lived, thus this was a consult taking forensics and applying it to the living. What I found was shocking and upsetting.

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Baby Death – What Investigators Need To Know


baby-death-coroner talk

By Darren Dake

Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of children die from a variety of causes, including illnesses, diseases, accidents, suicides, and homicides. Each death is a heart­ breaking event for the child’s family and a tragic loss for society. When a child’s death is sudden and unexpected, the tragedy is compounded if law enforcement fails to conduct a proper investigation. If the investigation is flawed, two outcomes—neither acceptable—are very real possibilities.

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The Caution of Suicide Rulings

suicide hangingBy:  Darren Dake

Suicide by its very nature can cause a lot of trepidation to the death investigator. Family stigma, insurance issues, and privacy are all key  concerns in making a ruling of suicide. The investigator is called upon to provide factual information which will assist in deciding whether the death in question is murder, suicide, or accident. Since most injuries can be found in all three manners of death, the successful solution of the problem must depend largely on the investigator’s experience and the cache of information available.

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