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investigation · Crime Scene Response Team

The Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team (CSRT) is a partnership between the Crime Laboratory Division and the Criminal Investigation Division. The CSRT provides a comprehensive investigative capability for crime scenes at the request of any law enforcement agency in the state.

The team, made up of crime laboratory personnel and detectives from the WSP Criminal Investigation Division, is available 24 hours a day. They assist local law enforcement as they process the crime scene as well as help them recognize, handle, preserve, and package physical evidence. Laboratory personnel also help reconstruct the events that occurred at the scene.

CSRT Capabilities

Crime Laboratory Division CSRT members are skilled in the following:

  1. Collecting, controlling, and properly preserving all types of evidence, including:
    • Physiological specimens -- blood, semen, saliva, tissue, and bone
    • Firearms -- cartridge components, firearms, gunpowder residues, and gun shot residues
    • Other weapons
    • Tools
    • Toolmarks
    • Arson accelerants
    • Explosive residues
    • Trace evidence -- fibers, hair, paint, glass, soil, building materials, particles, shoe prints and impressions, and tire impressions
  2. Crime Scene Response Team
  3. Performing field tests or examinations for presumptive identification of some types of evidence, including:
    • Blood
    • Semen
    • Trace metals
    • Hair
    • Fiber
  4. Performing evidence interpretation of:
    • Blood spatter patterns
    • Bullet trajectories
    • Criminal activity reconstruction
  5. Assisting in evidence collection decisions at autopsy


Latent Fingerprint Identification CSRT members are skilled in the following:

  1. Processing crime scenes for latent prints on various types of surfaces:
    • Porous surfaces (i.e., paper, cardboard, unfinished wood, other absorbent surfaces)
    • Non-porous surfaces (i.e., glass, mirrors, plastics, metal, other non-absorbent surfaces)
  2. Photographing latent prints
  3. Obtaining postmortem fingerprints
  4. Coordinating efforts with coroner/medical examiner to obtain dental information
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Criminal Investigation Division CSRT members are skilled in the following:

  1. Crime scene surveying/measuring and CAD diagramming
  2. Crime scene photography - still and video
  3. Interviewing and interrogation
  4. Drafting affidavits for search warrants
  5. Writing search warrants and obtaining telephonic search warrants
  6. Evidence search/collection
  7. Collision reconstruction

CSRT Callout Criteria

As a general guideline, the CSRT will respond to the following situations:

  • Death investigations (except for traffic fatalities)
  • Sexual assault cases
  • Kidnappings
  • Assaults/shootings involving a law enforcement officer
  • Other felony crimes as warranted by circumstances

Requests for crime scene investigation or assistance should be made to the Crime Scene Coordinator through the Washington State Patrol Communications Center in Tacoma by calling (253) 538-3240.

The Crime Scene Coordinator will make an assessment of the resources needed for the particular situation based upon the details provided and will make arrangements for the required personnel and equipment to respond in a manner commensurate with the needs of the case.

How to Call Out the CSRT

  1. Secure the scene
  2. Call (253) 538-3240
  3. Ask for the Crime Scene Response Team Coordinator
  4. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    • Type of offense and scenario
    • Victim/suspect information
    • Evidence of interest
    • Scene processing requested (e.g., fingerprint development, blood stain collection, interrogation, trajectory, forensic mapping, etc.)
    • Search warrant status.
    • Priority of assistance needed (e.g., immediate response, or can be scheduled)
    • Contact person and telephone number.
    • Meeting location.
    • Airport and ground transportation information if priority requires aircraft transportation

Contact Information

For additional information or to requests assistance with a crime scene investigation, ask for the Crime Scene Coordinator when calling the Washington State Patrol Communications Center at Tacoma (253) 538-3240.

WSP Criminal Investigation Division
PO Box 42637
Olympia WA 98504-2637
(360) 704-2950

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