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

Everyday the media will print a story which will brings about a bizarre story, which causes one just to shake ones head. On May 14th,  news reporter Jessie Stensland, of the Whidbey News Times, wrote, “
Sgt Terri Gardner wrote that she interviewed Tice Sr. after reading him his Miranda rights. He initially denied everything, but eventually admitted to raping the little girls, Gardner wrote. "Tice then said, 'I play around. I'll be truthful,' but blamed (the 4-year-old girl) on initiating sexual contact," Gardner wrote. In addition, Gardner wrote that Tice Sr. denied assaulting any other children, but another child in California came forward with allegations against him, the report states.
Over the past week I have outlined how law enforcement officials should train and educate their police officers in the Investigative Psychology System (IPS) methods and techniques when dealing with serial sexual offenders. The training would raise the Criminal Investigative Division Detectives to an Investigative Psychology Detective (IP) level. There is little doubt that in the Stensland article, Mr. Tice Sr. is a known child sexual serial offender. At the age of 63 years of age, Mr. Tice Sr. may have sexually molested anywhere from the 50 to 500 children.

Having the skills to deal with such an individual as Mr. Tice Sr. would be an enormous advantage to the law enforcement agency in dealing with Mr. Tice Sr., his denials and then his ultimate confessions. So where does it all begin? It begins with Sgt. Terri Gardner, who over the past dozen+ years has been assigned to the Special Assault Unit and has obtained experience and knowledge about how to deal with serial sexual offenders.

In the environment of the interrogation room, the possibilities of what may happen generally comes down to two hypothesis. The alleged sexual offender will deny that he/she ever touched anyone, but with polite and confident persistence, over a period of time, the walls the alleged sexual offender created, begins to crack, here and there. Little by little the IP Detective’s questioning has an affect and eventually the denials turn into yes’ and then as both the alleged sexual offender and IP Detective begin to get to know one another, building trust, then like Mr. Tice Sr. the alleged sexual offender acquiesces and admits that he had indeed sexually touched the girls.

One of the interrogation techniques taught by John Reid a polygrapher, interviewer, interrogator, presenter and author is called ‘saving face’. According to Reid, “Step Four: Overcoming Objections is explained as follows:

A. An objection is a statement or reason that is offered to allegedly prove that an accusation is false: "I don't need any money – I’ve got plenty of money" in the bank.”
Normally offered by only the guilty.

B. Introductory phrases are used to indicate an objection: "That's impossible"; "That's ridiculous"; "I couldn't have done that".

C. When the objection follows, use statement of agreement or understanding, and discuss how bad it would be if the objection was not true.

There are other interrogation experts who have educated and trained interrogators on how to deal with serial sexual offenders. The key like any crime, is to have the perpetrator move from the denials to the admissions. Therefore, if the denials seem to dominate the interrogation, it is time to change the subject matter; and/or give the perpetrator another interrogator who has a slightly different personality than the first interrogator.

Whichever interrogator is placed in the interrogation room with the alleged sexual offender, the goal must be one where the IP Detective can manipulate and convince him/her that the denials won’t work and the other answers aren’t reasonable and/or logical.

There are only a few Investigative Psychology Ph.D. programs which deal with serial sexual offenders. Dr. David Canter and Dr. Donna Youngs are the two top psychologists in the field of profiling serial sexual offender and other serial offenders. In reviewing Dr. Canter’s and Dr. Youngs work, they have stated that there are three fundamental questions characterize all criminal investigations (Canter and Allison, 2001):

1.      What are the important behavioral features of the crime that may help identify and successfully prosecute the perpetrator?

2.      What inferences can be made about the characteristics of the offender that may help identify him or her?

3.      Are there any other crimes that are likely to have been committed by the same person?

If an IP Detective was to receive the education and training available in the world, they would expend the next five years in the classroom. Some departments can put their candidates through such an intense and broad program of classes, training and on the job experience. The FBI utilizes the IP System in most of their serial based crimes. The FBI then consults with smaller agencies providing leadership, analysis, evaluations, examinations and so forth to deal with a serial sexual offender who springs up in a small to medium size community. With much knowledge about how to implement the IP System, the FBI and the IP Detectives can isolate, locate, apprehend and interrogate the likely alleged sexual offender.

Tomorrow, I will finish up the IP System and IP Detectives in how they make a difference in the interrogation room. Looking back on Mr. Tice Sr.’s story, you have to just question how many serial sexual offenders are in your community like him.  

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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