Investigative Psychology – What Does It Mean And How Can It Help Law Enforcement Investigations? Evaluating The IP System And Detective Part XVI “The Interrogation”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

In developing the IP System there are many hurdles the law enforcement officials will encounter? Most law enforcement officials have never taken their Major Crimes Unit to the level of an IP System Unit. The difference between the IP System Unit and the Major Crimes Unit, is that the IP Detective is educated, trained and initially supervised in the methods and techniques of the IP System by another IP Detective in just how to utilize his/her skills to apprehend serial sexual offenders.

In each police department there is generally a Criminal Investigation Division. The hierarchical structure is the same as the rest of the police departments. The purpose of separating the CID from the Operations Unit is they serve different functions within the department and in the community. The Operational and CID Units do communicate with one another, as neither Unit could work without the other. The IP Unit falls under the CID Units, but has its own chain of command.

Operational Units are generally reactive patrol and special divisions i.e. traffic, rescue and so forth. This Unit provides services to the community, individuals, organizations, businesses and so forth. The CID Unit is a support Unit to the Operational Unit. The CID Unit provides follow-up investigations for the Operational Units. The CID Unit has subdivisions such as burglary, larceny, homicide, robbery, special assault and so forth.

Every Unit provides a service for the community. In dealing with interrogations, they occur in basically any and all functions which the law enforcement officials are accountable and responsible for. The goal of the law enforcement official no matter what Unit they work in is that they must open and close investigations. If law enforcement officials have contact with the alleged sexual offender then they will need to understand the methods and techniques of a competent and intelligent interrogator.

When the alleged sexual offender is confronted by the interrogator with the facts that the IP Detective has uncovered to date. The fact-finding objective and neutral investigation by the IP Detective should have produced enough pro and con information which will have created alternative hypotheses i.e. several theories about what happened between the alleged child victim and the alleged sexual offender.

These alternative hypotheses create a direction and eliminate other hypothesis’ which may have been laid out by others. The IP Detective needs to believe in the final hypothesis he/she has created. The final hypothesis needs to stand on its own. The IP Detective cannot allow other individuals who may have a different hypothesis to influence their conclusive attitude. The IP Detective’s information and evidence must stand alone. If the alleged sexual offender confesses this is a bonus to the IP Detective’s case. However, the IP Detective should not rely on a confession to cement his/her case.

The IP Detective may not have the ability to obtain evidence that is necessary to support that a crime was committed. The testimony by witnesses may not provide enough probable cause information to criminally charge the alleged sexual offender.

The pursuit of finding the necessary evidence to criminally charge an individual with a sexual assault, may take more evidence than is available for the current charge(s). The autobiographical information obtained from the alleged sexual offender and others may direct the IP Detective back to the beginning of the investigation for a fresh examination, evaluation and analyzation of the facts and evidence.  

The IP Detective may not have the evidence, witnesses and a competent child victim to rely upon to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The critical interpretation of the facts and evidence is important to the outcome of the case in chief.

As a new IP Detective in the IP Unit, it will be important that the IP Detective takes a long and objective view at each item of evidence, the witnesses and what both aspects of the findings, have to offer and where they are going. Each sexual assault investigation will present nuances and subtleties of its own, which may not have been a part of the past sexual assault investigations.

If the IP Detective reviews the current information and the witnesses have been lying to the IP Detective, than the IP Detective needs to have a very clear understanding of the errors which were discovered. The IP Detective may realize that his/her observation of the evidence and witness testimony was an improper inference(s) and/or viewpoint(s).

During the interrogation, the IP Detective must come to a reasonable and justifiable finding(s) that the alleged sexual offender has been telling the truth and in looking at the evidence again, the alleged sexual offender’s statements and evidence appears to be truthful.

The dishonesty of the witnesses, the lack of integrity of the evidence, the apparent secondary motives, the ignorance of the alleged child sexual abuse experts, the defective examination of the evidence, and the improper procedures which were used to examine the evidence and so forth, will make a difference in the conclusion of the sexual assault investigation.

Tomorrow, I will continue pursuing the adoption in the preparation and judgment of each piece of evidence, new and old. The IP Detective will need to learn how to exclude errors of judgment, critical thinking and contaminated evidence. This process and procedure has to be an innate ability which the IP Detective possesses. His/her understanding of how to develop the facts is a step in the right direction. The IP Detective will find that this chosen career can be challenging, but exciting.

Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations Part 1
 By: Lawrence W. Daly                                            
 Webinar Time- September 22, 2011 1:00 pm -2:00pm
 Registration Fee - $99.00                            

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