Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders, Second Edition

Published April 14, 2008


Section 3 — Handling Digital Evidence at the Scene

Precautions should be taken in the collection, preservation, and transportation of digital evidence. First responders may follow the steps listed below to guide their handling of digital evidence at an electronic crime scene:

  • Recognize, identify, seize, and secure all digital evidence at the scene.
  • Document the entire scene and the specific location of the evidence found.
  • Collect, label, and preserve the digital evidence.
  • Package and transport digital evidence in a secure manner.

Before collecting evidence at a crime scene, first responders should ensure that—

  • Legal authority exists to seize evidence.
  • The scene has been secured and documented.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment is used.


First responders without the proper training and skills should not attempt to explore the contents of or to recover information from a computer or other electronic device other than to record what is visible on the display screen. Do not press any keys or click the mouse.

Date Created: April 9, 2008