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    The Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA)

    Throughout history man has tried to identify a single, unique physiological responses that would only be present when a person lied. In the 1970's a phenomenon known as a vocal micro tremor was identified and seemed to be only present in a person's voice during periods of high stress. Before any serious research could be conducted, entrepreneurs seized the opportunity to ...
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    Testifying on a Suspect's Behavior Symptoms

    Recently, the Washington Supreme Court reversed a rape conviction partially because the trial court admitted an investigator’s testimony that the defendant’s verbal and nonverbal behavior symptoms were indicative of guilt. While there were other grounds for overturning the lower court’s conviction, relevant to this article is the finding that the investigator’s testimony constituted a manifest constitutional error that was not harmless. ...
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    Selecting the Proper Issue in a Child Physical Abuse Investigation

    The nature of most crimes involve a central criminal behavior such as stealing money, starting a fire, selling drugs or having sexual contact with another person. Under these circumstances, the focus of the interview will specifically address the criminal behavior, e.g., "Did you steal that $2000?", "Did you start the warehouse fire?" However, when investigating physical abuse to a child, the ...
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    Selecting The Proper Alternative Question

    The Reid Technique of interrogation relies on two important underlying psychological principles. The first is that it is much easier for a person to tell the truth if that person is allowed to couple his admission with some moral justification. Consequently, we teach that an investigator should suggest possible moral justifications which allow the suspect to save-face when telling the truth. ...
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    Death Notifications: A Tough Police Assignment

    Handling death notifications is a necessary part of the job that few law enforcement officers enjoy. It can be traumatic for the officer, as well as for the family members. Delivering a death message is a duty that is vitally important with far-reaching ramifications in people's lives. Handled poorly, extreme situations can develop. Family members and others advised of the passing ...
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    The First Layer: Policy Establishing Departmental Standards of Performance

    In the previous article titled: "Focus on Liability Reduction and Better Performance" we described the Six Layered Liability Protection Process which requires absolute attention to the development of policies based on the principle of "foreseeability" for the performance of certain tasks, the training in the necessary skills and critical policies, quality supervision, corrective action and remediation, constant review and necessary revision, ...
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    Screening New Employees: Part II

    The importance of a face to face interview with a job applicant to evaluate their recent past behavior was emphasized in the last web tip. One reason employers are reluctant to ask probing questions during a preemployment interview is the fear of a subsequent law suit. This discussion will focus on legal aspects of preemployment screening and cost-effective strategies in making ...
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    Municipal Insurance Pool Not Liable:Robbery and Murder by Police Trainee

    When a police employee acts outside the scope of their employment for purely personal purposes the employer and its insurer will not be liable. A case from the Court of Appeals of Georgia, 2nd Division, decided on April 21st provides an example of the ultimate bad case. Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency v. Godfrey, 2005 Ga. App. LEXIS 413 (GA. Ct. ...
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    Screening New Employees: Part I

    In light of the tragic events of September 11th, there is a heightened awareness to properly screen new employees. The terrorist=s attack on the WTC and Pentagon has greatly expanded the definition of a Asensitive position.@ In August of this year who would have imagined that crop dusters, truck drivers, water treatment employees or airline caterers would require employees of the ...
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    Responding to A Suspect’s Request to See Evidence During an Interrogation

    It is rare to conduct an interrogation under circumstances where the investigator has absolute proof of the suspect’s guilt. At the outset of most interrogations there is merely circumstantial or testimonial evidence which points to a suspect’s probable involvement in the crime. The purpose for the interrogation is two fold: First, it is an attempt to learn the truth from the ...
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    Managing Law Enforcement Liability Risk

    Prior to examining case law defining the parameters of governmental liability one should first be familiar with the process and the mechanisms for risk-reduction and risk avoidance. A clearer understanding of these principles allows the reader to judge the cases against the backdrop of these principles. The reader should be encouraged to consider how the principles of risk management may have ...
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    Quoting Statements in an Open Account: Truthful or Deceptive?

    During most interviews the investigator should develop an open, or narrative account from the subject. It is called an open account because the investigator’s question encourages the subject to relate everything relative to the area of inquiry and once the subject starts talking, the investigator does not interrupt the account. Examples of questions that elicit an open account include, “Mary tell ...
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    Question Formulation Guidelines: Part II

    This web tip offers a continuation of the January tip. The emphasis of this information is that how a question is asked often dictates the ease at which a deceptive subject can lie to the question. Obviously, the investigator should ask interview questions in such a way as to not invite deception. +Do not predicate a question based on information submitted ...
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    Question Formulation Guidelines: Part I

    Asking questions is one of the first language skills a child develops. However, almost all of our question asking skills are developed under the assumption that the person answering our question will tell the truth. Consider questions that might be asked around a family's dinner table: "Ryan, do you need a ride home from the dance or are you getting a ...
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    Paralinguistic Communication

    The paralinguistic channel of communication is defined as speech characteristics falling outside of the spoken word. Just as a subject's nonverbal behavior can completely alter the meaning of words within a verbal response, paralinguistic behaviors can modify the meaning behind words. Consider the following conversation: Joe: "Hey Mike, I've got to pick my kid up from baseball practice in a half ...
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    Note Taking During an Interview

    When participants see video-taped interviews at our seminars, it is obvious that our interviewers take a written note following each response offered by a subject. The Reid Technique advocates active note taking during a structured interview for three reasons. First, taking a written note following each response slows down the pace of questioning. It is much easier to lie to a ...
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    Mirroring and its Value During Interviews and Interrogations

    **What is Mirroring?** Recently I was talking to one of my sons about a possible location to spend our spring vacation. My left hand was in my pocket and I was illustrating with my right hand. My left foot was slightly extended. As my son listened to my ideas and discussed possible activities, his right hand went into his pocket, he ...
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    Miranda, Article 31 and Constitutional Advisements

    During training seminars frequently the issue comes up as to the best time to advise a suspect of his constitutional rights. There are both legal and psychological considerations in answering this question. Legally, Miranda rights must be administered prior to questioning a suspect who is in custody. Therefore, the investigator must have probable cause to arrest a suspect, and actually ...
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    Maintaining Objectivity During an Interview

    An interview is designed not only to collect and gather information but to assess the credibility of the person offering that information. In some instances the investigator will have clear evidence to validate a subject’s information such as surveillance video, documents or forensic evidence. Oftentimes, however, such evidence does not exist and the investigator must rely on interviewing techniques and behavior ...
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    Lying to a Suspect: How Far Can an Investigator Go?

    During the course of an investigation an investigator often must rely on duplicity and pretense in an effort to develop evidence against the guilty suspect. Common examples include the use of undercover operatives, hidden surveillance video or "baiting" a cash drawer with extra money. Provided these procedures do not entice a person to commit a crime (entrapment), they are generally acceptable ...
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