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    The Influence of the Investigator's Demeanor on a Subject's Behavior

    One of the principles of behavior symptom analysis taught in the Reid Technique is that the investigator's demeanor has a significant influence on the subject's behavior. For example, an investigator who becomes accusatory, authoritative and demeaning during an interview will predictably cause a subject, regardless of his innocence, to exhibit symptoms of fear, anxiety or resentment It is precisely because of ...
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    Evaluating Omissions within a Suspect's Statement

    An earlier web tip discussed the evaluation of inconsistencies within a suspect's statements. Inconsistencies represent factual changes in an account whereas omissions represent expected information not included within a response. It must be realized that both truthful and deceptive subjects will edit (omit) information from an account. Consequently, it is not the presence of an omission that necessarily indicates deception, but ...
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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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    Considerations with Respect to the Use of Evidence During an Investigation

    The Reid Technique represents a structured investigative approach to solve cases involving little or no evidence. The first step of the technique is factual analysis in which the investigative information is analyzed to identify possible suspects and assess each suspects' probable involvement in the offense. The second step is the interview of possible suspects to develop additional investigative information and behavior ...
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    Evaluating the Suspect Who Accepts Some Responsibility for the Crime

    During the course of interviewing a suspect who is guilty of committing a crime it is not uncommon for the suspect to acknowledge some level of responsibility for committing the crime. While the suspect’s statement falls short of an admission of guilt, in many situations it becomes a behavior symptom supporting the suspect’s probable guilt. Examples of these circumstances include the ...
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    Interrogating a Suspect on the Issue of Identity Theft

    The Federal Trade Commission estimated that in 2002 identity theft cost businesses and consumers 53 billion dollars. Because of the prevalence of identity theft, many investigators find themselves having to interrogate a suspect on this issue. Identity theft is an unusual offense because it is not only a crime, but also an MO to commit other crimes. The first consideration, therefore, ...
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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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    Evaluating Inconsistencies Within an Account

    It is a common trial strategy for an attorney to attack inconsistencies within testimony offered by a victim, witness, or an investigator. And yet most victims, witnesses and investigators tell the truth when testifying. On the other hand, consider a suspect who told an arresting officer that a friend drove him home on the night of a crime. Several hours later ...
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    Want a Confession? Then Ask for It!

    In my consulting work I review many, many video taped or even audio taped interviews. Of course there are some great interviews and occasionally some not so good. There are also many cases when the interviewer does an excellent job of controlling the subject through the 5 stress response states and perfectly attacks a subject's deception. One area that always seems ...
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    Legal Considerations When Asking an Alternative Question

    An investigator is asking a great deal from a guilty suspect to confess to a crime which may potentially involve substantial punishment. For this reason, the suspect must be allowed to make his first admission of guilt with as few words as possible and also in a way that allows him to save face. In the Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation, ...
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    Interpreting Verbal Phrases

    During an interview a subject freely chooses which words or phrases to use when responding to the investigator's question. This choice is not random or haphazard; it is carefully selected to offer either the most accurate response possible or to avoid the anxiety telling less than the truth would cause. Consider the following homicide example where Bob was found stabbed to ...
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    Too Many Choices - Creating Frustration in Interrogation

    If given the time, we could probably come up with a number of reasons a suspect won't confess, a hostile witness won't cooperate or why the victim won't disclose. If we then reviewed our "list" objectively we might find that we have placed a large portion of the blame on our subject and were partially if not fully blind to any ...
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    Willingness to Repay Stolen Funds Not Always An Indication of Guilt

    During our basic interviewing and interrogation course, the point is made that during an interrogation a suspect’s willingness to reimburse a victim for stolen money or property is often tantamount to a confession. Under this circumstances, the suspect’s agreement to make restitution means two things. The first is that it represents a strong indication that the suspect is guilty of the ...
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    Laughter and the Detection of Deception

    Recently my wife and I attended her high school reunion. While such reunions are marketed as a great time and an opportunity to get re-acquainted, in truth they are very anxiety provoking. The reunion forces classmates to reveal occupational and marital failures, the success or disappointments of raising a family, health problems and the undeniable effects of aging. As my wife ...
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    Investigator's Use of the Polygraph

    Increasing population growth, crime rates and new resistance to expansion of community services have all contributed to increased case loads for law enforcement. The polygraph, when properly used as an investigative tool to eliminate the wrongfully accused and identify the guilty, can provide the investigator with a more efficient and productive use of his case time. Unfortunately, misunderstanding and misuse as ...
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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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    Conducting An Exit Interview

    When an employee gives his two week notice to leave a company, the typical response centers around how to find a replacement for that person. What is often overlooked is that the departing employee represents a potential wealth of information in such areas as violations of company policy, theft, sexual harassment, and employee drug use. The reason this employee is a ...
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    The Significance of Identifying Precipitators during a Criminal Investigation

    Over the years we have been consulted on cases in which an investigator was absolutely convinced that a particular suspect was lying when, in fact, the person was telling the truth. In other instances guilty suspects were able to get through an interview without having their lies detected. Behavior symptom analysis is certainly not 100% accurate. However, if proper techniques are ...
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    Major Lesson Plan: Strip Searches

    Major Lesson Plan: Target Audience: Law Enforcement personnel who may be faced with the task of conducting a strip search during booking. Objective: Provide officers with essential knowledge with respect to some of the current issues surrounding strip search Format: Roll-call/ supervisory training. Time: Five to ten minutes, but this may be expanded where agency resources allow. Materials: Law Enforcement Risk ...
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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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