Issue 11 and Volume 157.

For nonlaw enforcement responders, evidence collection might seem easy. However, collecting evidence correctly is quite a daunting task. One confusing issue concerns sampling for risk assessment vs. the collection of evidence. The risk-assessment process is very different from collecting evidence, and using an improper risk-assessment process can destroy all of the evidence. Fire investigators are used to collecting evidence at fire scenes and generally are well trained and equipped to handle that task. The collection of evidence in a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) event can be very different; following the same procedures as in an arson investigation could result in complications. This article is an overview of, not a complete guide to, the WMD evidence-collection process. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has jurisdiction in any WMD or terrorism investigation and is the lead agency in the collection of evidence related to these types of cases. To proceed in…

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