Photographs are an integral part to documenting any crime scene. Especially when it's used as evidence in court. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says, "Photo's is what sells it to a jury." "Everything has to be perfect and that's part of what the documentation piece is.. Is having really, really good photographic documentation," says William Green, CCFMTC Medical Director.
Roughly 20 nurses from five north state hospitals, gathered at the Chico Police and Fire Training Center Thursday for an extensive one-day forensic photography course. Oroville Hospital Nurse Deborah McIntyre says, "When you keep telling the same story over and over again things change. You document it in a certain way and that way the story doesn't change."
The training, organized by the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center, helps these nurses expand their current medical exams of sexual assault victims, by teaching them the proper way to document the evidence. "We want to collect the evidence that the DA's office wants and the DOJ wants. And we want to collect it in a way they want us to collect it.. That they can use it," McIntyre says.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says the training is part of a continuing effort to improve the quality of local sexual assault exams, which can affect the results in court. "When we have extremely good evidence, that they're being shown how to present today.. Many times it's not even necessary to go to trial. Which saves the victims from having to testify," Ramsey says.
During the course, a professional makeup artist designed life-like injuries on CCFMTC staff members for the nurses to practice their photography. "It has basically taught us how to get in closer.. Better angles and stuff so we can get good pictures for the victim," says Oroville Emergency Room Manager Lori Hestand.
The CCFMTC will be back in Butte County next week for another training session.. This time it will be mock court questioning and testimony.