Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review - Police Forensics


Police Forensics (On the Radar: Defend and Protect) 

By: Adam Sutherland
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: March 2012
ISBN: 978-0761377740
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2012

If you have your eyes glued to the television set when the crime scene investigator starts poring over the evidence, chances are you'll love reading about police forensics. There are several different types of forensic scientists including those who look at toxicology, psychology, pathology, graphology, and dentistry. Each one looks at evidence that may "provide information that helps the police to solve the crime." For example a forensic pathologist thoroughly examines a body "during an autopsy to try to establish the cause of death." Some causes may be very obvious, while others can be quite elusive.

Crime scene forensics has its own lingo. Perhaps you may be familiar with words or terms such as luminol, exposing reagent, ballistics, or antigens. If not, you may have a lot to learn. If you are familiar with all of them, you probably are a forensics aficionado. One of the first forensic scientists was the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. When he worked on his cases "he used the science of fingerprinting and blood analysis to solve crimes. You'll swing through time and will read about others in the field such as Hans Gross, Edmond Locard, August Vollmer, Francis Crick, and James Watson, all of whom contributed to the science.

Just what do those crime scene investigators, or "experts on-site," do when they arrive on the scene of a crime? You'll learn how they protect or secure the scene, who takes charge of the body, how they collect evidence, you'll learn about weapons, check out prints, and what the medical examiner (ME) does. There are different types of evidence to look at and also several ways to collect it. Did you know that there are three basic types of fingerprints? You can look at your own to see if you have rare ones. You'll also read about a day in the life of a real DNA scientist, Dr. Georgina Meakin, a forensic school graduates story, you'll learn how to go about investigating a crime scene, how to recognize fingerprints, how we are fighting cyber crime, take a look at some famous cases, and you'll learn about many more interesting facts about police forensics.

With the wealth of shows, reality and fictional, about forensics, this book is sure to be a hit with many youngsters. The layout is vibrant and exciting. There is some straight text, but also numerous informative sidebars strategically placed among photographs to give the book a wow effect. For example, when the tools of the trade are discussed photographs of them are scattered over a two-page spread. We're able to take a close look at things like an identification tag, dusting powder, and an evidence bag. In the back of the book is an index and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: This is a fascinating look at many aspects of police forensics.