On this weeks show I talk with Skip McGuire about the obstacles in investigating child deaths. We all know that these investigations bring on a whole new level of emotion and scrutiny than most other investigations. Also they seem to have a higher community impact than do other more “normal” deaths. Obstacles covered today include; scene management, training, the need to show effort, and EMS issues.
Skip is a 34 year veteran of law enforcement investigation and is currently an supervising investigator for the State of Missouri STAT organization.
State Technical Assistance Team
The importance of multidisciplinary intervention in dealing with dysfunctional families, child maltreatment, and child fatality issues cannot be overemphasized. To encourage agencies to work together, the State Technical Assistance Team (STAT) facilitates cooperation and coordination among professional organizations with shared responsibilities and mandates. These agencies include the Department of Social Services, law enforcement, prosecutors, health offices, juvenile offices, coroners/medical examiners, medical facilities, and private organizations. Because some of these agencies have multiple and dissimilar roles and responsibilities (investigative/enforcement, protection, services, etc.), STAT acts as an intermediary to coordinate activities by bringing these groups together. By introducing these principles, STAT encourages communities to identify and address problems often avoided by those who lack the confidence to become involved.
Investigation of crimes against children generally requires special skills and techniques unique to the child’s age, maturation and relationship to the suspected perpetrator. To address these needs, on request from local, state and federal agencies, STAT has commissioned law enforcement officers, available 24/7, who can provide “hands on” assistance and support in conducting criminal investigations involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, computer exploitation/child pornography, suspicious death or homicide, crime scene collection/ reconstruction, administering truth verification exams and conducting computer/digital/cellular forensic examinations. STAT also promotes aggressive prosecution as a deterrent to child maltreatment, child exploitation and child homicide. To build and maintain confidence, STAT trains and supports the field-level intervention/investigative community to help realistically convert policy into practice.
As an integral part of the process, STAT forms meaningful partnerships with other state and local community agencies to help identify predictable trends, patterns and spikes of preventative risks to children. In an effort to prevent child injury, abuse, neglect and/or death, STAT has created both presentations and informational sheets to be used to educate parents, professionals, and other community members as to how they can prevent child injuries.