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Expert Panel Issues New Best Practices Guide for Cold Case Investigation

NCJ Number
Date Published
Charles Heurich, Paul A. Haskins
This article describes a report by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Cold Case Investigation Working Group that details a best-practice guide to support law enforcement agencies in developing a long-term strategy to address cold cases in their jurisdictions.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Cold Case Investigation Working Group report details 23 best practice recommendations designed to assist law enforcement administrators and command staff in developing long-term strategies to address cold cases in their jurisdictions. These recommendations fall into five categories: 1) Determining the needs and scope of a cold case unit; 2) Designing a cold case unit; 3) Implementing a cold case unit; 4) Operating a cold case unit; and 5) Identifying support for a cold case unit (including law enforcement and academic partnerships). Generally, the best practices report speaks to a need for operationally separate, professionally managed cold case units within law enforcement agencies, with experienced investigators assigned exclusively to the unit, ready access to DNA databases and other innovative forensic tools, and with regular, systematic assessments of the jurisdiction's cold case inventory. The Working Group emphasized the need for agencies to empower cold case investigators to focus their energies and resources on these long-unsolved crimes.
Date Created: September 26, 2019