When Words Fail: More Cop Terminology

Ambient Light – Light that occurs naturally (sunlight, moonlight, etc.).

Angle of Impact – The angle at which a blood drop strikes a surface.

Associative evidence – Evidence that links a person or an item to the scene of a crime.

Ballistics – Study of the motion of projectiles, such as the motion/travel of bullets from the time they leave a firearm until they strike a target.

Binary Explosive – Two chemicals/material/compounds which are not explosive until they are mixed.

Bubble Ring – An outline within a bloodstain caused by air in the blood.

Cartridge – An unfired round of ammunition.

Chain of custody – ensuring evidence is safe and trackable at all times.

Double Base – Smokeless powder containing both nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose.

DOT number − Department of Transportation serial number assigned to every tire sold in the U.S. The ID also provides information regarding the manufacturer, date of manufacture, and tire size.

Furrow – A valley or depression between fingerprint friction ridges.

Homogenization – preparing tissue for analysis by grinding it in water.

Ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) – Handheld chemical detection device used to identify blast material at a bombing site.

Latent − A fingerprint that’s not visible to the naked eye.

Lift − Recovering fingerprints from a crime scene.

Locard’s Exchange Principle – the theory that every person who enters or exits an area deposits and/or removes physical material from the scene.

Loupe – magnifier used for examining fingerprint details.

Magazine – A container for cartridges. Magazines feature a spring to feed individual cartridges into the chamber of a firearm.

Medico-legal death investigation (MDLI) – A medical investigation conducted by trained forensic medical practitioners for the purpose of determining the cause and manner of death.

Plastic Bonded Explosives (PBX) – A high explosive in a pliable plastic form, such s C4.

Post-mortem redistribution – Toxicological phenomenon where drug concentration increases after death.

Report – A loud sound produced by an explosion, such as a gunshot.

Rifling – Grooves carved/imprinted in the interior of a gun barrel. Grooves/rifling cause bullets to spin, an action needed for accuracy and to aid in the flight of the round.

Toxicity – the biological effect of a substance.

Trace evidence – Small quantities of physical evidence.

  • Three classifications of fibers: 1) Natural (animal or plant fibers). 2) Synthetic (manmade materials such as polyester). 3) Manufactured (made from natural materials that are reorganized to create fibers, such as rayon).

2 replies
  1. bellwriter
    bellwriter says:

    Bookmarking this lecture. Nice facelift to the blog, Lee. Glad you’re archiving your old posts. Nine years. What a service you’ve performed. Thank you.

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