Fundamentals of Crime Scene Investigation

This course has been designed to teach basic crime scene techniques.  Participants will learn how to recognize, document, collect, and analyze the basic types of forensic evidence that may be found at a crime scene.  This course will also discuss the various sub-disciplines that an investigator should be familiar with when working a crime scene and how to present the evidence in a court of law. 

Course Objectives

  • Define the basic standards for recognizing, documenting, and collecting forensic evidence at a crime scene 
  • Develop and implement the skills needed to conduct basic crime scene investigations 
  • Understand the components of specialized sub-disciplines within crime scene investigation and how to utilize them on a crime scene 
  • Demonstrate the ways in which evidence is developed from the crime scene through the criminal trial 


Section 1: Photography and Documentation 

  • This section will discuss crime scene examination, ethical considerations, physical evidence defined and initial documentation of a crime scene including techniques for taking proper photographs, notetaking, and sketching. Photo composition and other documentation will be discussed.

Section 2: Fingerprint Processing 

  • This section will discuss identifying friction ridge evidence at crime scenes.  Basic understanding of friction ridges (i.e., fingerprints) will be discussed and basic methods and techniques for recovery of this type of evidence will be demonstrated. 

Section 3: Impressions and Tool Marks 

  • This section will discuss the value of documenting and collection both impression and tool mark evidence at crime scenes.  It will include demonstrations on how to cast an impression, how to cast tool marks, and how to collect both unknown samples and standards for comparison

Section 4: DNA Evidence 

  • This section will discuss the fundamental principles of DNA evidence, including methods for documentation and collection.  Crimes such as sexual assault crimes will be discussed along with collection of clothing and swaps for DNA evidence analysis. 

Section 5: Bloodstain Evidence 

  • This section will discuss the basic principles of bloodstain pattern recognition and how to preserve and document a scene for further analysis by a bloodstain pattern analysis expert.  Techniques for blood evidence collection will also be discussed. 

Section 6: Firearms Evidence 

  • This section will discuss the various types of firearms that may be found at a crime scene.  Proper collection and safe handling of firearms will be demonstrated as well as proper collection techniques for projectiles and bullet casings.   

Section 7: Death Investigation and Victim Identification 

  • This section will discuss the role of the crime scene investigator at death investigation scenes.  Previously discussed concepts will be applied toward the documentation and identification of decedents.  Hazards that may be found at death scenes, proper on-scene examination of a body, and documentation of the surrounding and associated evidence will also be discussed. 

Section 8: Courtroom Testimony 

  • This section will discuss the presentation of evidence through the judicial process The importance of chain of custody will be highlighted throughout the progression of a criminal case, including the types of hearings and proceedings that are typical of a criminal case. 


Dr. Sharon Plotkin, Ed.D, M.S.
Sharon has a Doctor of Education, a M.S. in Criminal Justice, and is a IAI certified crime scene investigator.  She has over 18 year’s experience in crime scene investigation and specializes in crime scene documentation, training, photography, bloodstain recognition and fingerprinting.


Registration is online – It’s fast, safe and convenient. To register with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, please visit our secure, online registration website.

  • If the course is not listed on the registration page, then enrollment in the course is currently closed.

Registration Fee: $250

Credits: 16 CE Hours – 1.6 CEUs

Getting Started

Outline and Schedule


  • This course is taught entirely online as a self-paced independent study. The course will be delivered using the UF centrally supported learning management system, eLearning. Students can access eLearning by visiting, clicking the blue “Log In to Continuing Education Button”, and logging in with the information used to enroll in the course.

 Requirements for Course Completion

  • In order to earn credit for this course, participants must complete a self-assessment evaluation at the end of each section and pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher. Three chances to pass the course will be given. If a passing score is not earned by the third attempt, the participant must re-enroll in the course.


If you have issues with the course content, please reach out to the contact listed below. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

For any additional questions, please contact the Maples Center Administrative Team.