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Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


This article was originally published in the Journal of Forensic Identification, vol. 70, issue 4.


There are two general opposing positions regarding deleting photographs of a crime scene. In a recent laboratory update (internet based because of COVID-19), the Virginia Department of Forensic Science raised an issue that warrants discussion: “DFS position - Best (and most transparent) practice - any image captured in the course of processing a crime [scene] should be retained, no matter the quality or the intent (or lack thereof, such as an accidental shutter depress [sic])” [1]. With conventional film, this was never an issue. There was no option to delete an image. With digital images, however, the option exists and should be considered when establishing good policy and procedure.