LifeWings Helps University Develop Mobile App to Improve Crime Scene Investigations

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Checklists have been a proven highly effective safety tool beginning with the aviation industry, followed by medical teams, and now crime scene investigation. Recently, LifeWings, a patient safety consulting firm, worked with Middle Tennessee State University to create a crime scene investigation checklist app that can be used by Android and iPhones at the crime scene location.

Errors at crime scenes, like errors in operating rooms, are not unusual and have similar results: loss of life and potentially millions of dollars wasted on lengthy ineffective investigations, personnel issues, and lawsuits.

When the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Forensic Institute for Research and Education (FIRE), set out to create an effective tool to help law enforcement personnel improve crime scene investigations, they called on LifeWings. With more than 12 years of experience and hundreds of successful safety tool implementations, LifeWings was able help MTSU create an exciting new mobile app that can save money and lives.

Checklists and similar safety tools have been used successfully in aviation and healthcare for years. Like airline flights and operating rooms, crime scene investigations can be chaotic, high-pressure situations involving many people with different agendas who have one chance to do the job correctly.

Preserving the initial evidence at a crime scene is critical. FIRE's director, Dr. Hugh Berryman, D-ABFA, stated that, “…the scene is its most pristine when the first responding officer arrives and will deteriorate with every minute that follows.” He explained that, “Time, weather and the movement of essential personnel, such as EMTs and scene investigators, can alter the scene and destroy evidence. Early documentation of evidence can make a difference in bringing justice to both the guilty and the innocent.”

To provide investigators a better way to preserve and collect evidence, MTSU, with funding from a Department of Justice grant, worked with law enforcement professionals and LifeWings to develop the Checklist App for Scene Examination (CASE). Because simply employing a generic checklist would probably not be effective, LifeWings’ specific expertise, honed through more than 400 safety tool development projects, will be instrumental in the success of CASE.

“Errors at crime scenes, like errors in operating rooms, are not unusual and have similar results: loss of life and potentially millions of dollars wasted on lengthy ineffective investigations, personnel issues, and lawsuits,” said Steve Harden, CEO of LifeWings. He continued, “It makes sense to use the same proven successful methods from health care to reduce these costly and avoidable investigation errors.”

With CASE, instead of having to juggle multiple devices (cameras, notepads, video cameras, etc.), first-responders can immediately capture text, photographs, video, audio, GPS, and more with just their smartphones.

The CASE app is free and available for Android devices at Google Play and for iPhones at the App Store by searching for “Checklist App for Scene Examination.”

For more information on MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education and its programs, including the CASE app, please contact the FIRE offices at 615-494-7713 or visit

About LifeWings:
LifeWings Partners creates documented, sustainable improvements in cost reduction, efficiency, reliability, safety, and quality by combining the best of Lean and TeamSTEPPS. LifeWings has improved the financial bottom line and patient safety record of over 140 hospitals worldwide. The LifeWings coaching cadre of pilots, astronauts, physicians, nurses and Toyota-trained Lean experts train more than 13,000 administrators, physicians and staff per year. Measurable results are guaranteed in all LifeWings’ initiatives. Documented return on investment for LifeWings projects typically exceeds 300%. To find out more, please visit or or follow us on Twitter @LifeWingsLLC.

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Stephen Harden
Lifewings Partners, LLC
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Angela Myers
LifeWings Partners, LLC
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