Day in the Field with Investigator Raquel Velasquez
Hi, I’m Raquel. I’m a senior investigator at the CCRB and I’ve been working here for four years. Life as an investigator is pretty fun. I have the autonomy and flexibility to plan out my day-to-day agenda!
On this particular day, I spent the day conducting field work in Staten Island with Thomas, a junior investigator who I’ve been paired with to mentor during his first year at CCRB. Typically, CCRB’s field team goes out to collect evidence across New York City. However, today, Thomas and I led this portion of the investigation. Whenever investigators head into the field, we partner up with someone.
9:00 AM: Interview at the Staten Island Courthouse
We’re not always required to visit courthouses, but in this case, we went to the Staten Island Courthouse to interview a civilian and get their statement, which was crucial for an investigation. Thomas and I arrived at the courthouse early and waited for our civilian and his attorney. One challenge with field work is that scheduling doesn’t always go as planned. For instance, unforeseen circumstances at the courthouse led to a several hour delay in meeting the civilians and their attorney. During that time, we made calls for appointments later that day. And several hours later and following prior unsuccessful contact attempts, we were able to obtain a statement from the civilian!
11:30 AM: Collected Surveillance of a Scene
When investigators go into the field, it is primarily for the collection of evidence. To save time, we’ll collect evidence for multiple cases. During our next stop, we visited two building management offices to collect video evidence for an incident Thomas is investigating. We spoke to the building superintendents who allowed us to review their camera system for relevant footage. Luckily, we found the footage we needed, which isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, this surveillance system was giving us some trouble and we couldn’t download the footage. We ended up calling this one in for the field team to assist!
3:00 PM: Neighborhood Canvass
Our last stop was canvassing an area for surveillance footage. Before going to the site of an incident, we look up local businesses that have surveillance cameras and talk to them ahead of time about reviewing their footage. This isn’t always possible, so we go canvassing to trace the steps a civilian took before their encounter with a police officer. Today, we walked down a few blocks looking at the exteriors of local businesses and identifying cameras that might have captured the incident. For one incident, a store’s security camera caught the civilian-police interaction and we were able to collect that for our records.
5:00 PM: Check-out
Today was incredibly productive. After a successful day, we returned to the office. I checked in with my supervisor about how everything went. We also discussed my next steps, and then documented the evidence that I collected.
For most of our cases, this is just the beginning of our investigation. Depending on the case at hand, we’ll continue to conduct interviews, collect evidence, and review case law to help us formulate our case summary. There’s still a long way to go on some of these cases but, for now, I’m excited about how far we got.