Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crisis In Confidence in Law Enforcement

I've written a number of times just how a crisis of confidence in law enforcement has plagued our generation.

From "affirmative action" programs, where talent is overlooked for political reasons, to the public scandals of FBI "sexting" and Secret Service prostitution parties, right up to failure to prosecute, the public has lost, far and wide, confidence in law enforcement.

Talk to the prosecutor and it is the fault of the investigator.

Talk to the investigator and it is the fault of the prosecutor.

Talk to administration and it is low salaries and ill funding for training.

Talk to teachers and the dumbing down of our schools has given us the Casey Anthony jury.

I'm not sure any cop would say, "When I was a young boy, I couldn't wait to grow up and be a cop, and hide behind a bush, as a grown man, and pull someone over for going 10mph over the limit. Oh the thrill!"

I doubt it was any cop's ambition, yet more and more they are being pushed into the budgetary restraints of 'fund raising' in this manner.

Less and less we are seeing advanced training in interviewing.

Even when Statement Analysis is taught, the seminar is only 2 to 3 days.  This is enough time to "learn the chords" or the basics, but the real issue is to get down into the trenches and week by week, month by month, analyze statements until just playing the "chords" on the "guitar" begin to sound like music.

Then comes advanced interviewing training.

The training is not successful without capable students.  If departments have deliberately ignored those who scored higher on testing in place of those of different pigmentation or gender, or anything else, they have no one but themselves (or the politicians who push this nonsense down their throats) to blame.

Christopher Dillingham reported what is commonly repeated and evidenced:  police score very poorly on deception detection exams as they think everyone is lying.

Once a person is labeled "a liar", there is an emotional shut down, instead of "analytical listening" and content analysis of the words the liar speaks.

It takes lots and lots of practice.

"Discourse Analysis" is nothing more than "Statement Analysis" during, well, discourse, that is while someone is speaking.

It is a learned skill.

Practicing legally sound interviewing, which is non-threatening, and is designed to obtain the most possible information, is key.  This is done after the analysis of the written statement and with enough practice, even during the live interview, analysis is being done as key words, recognized in written statements, come to the ear ("left", "so, since, therefore, because...") and even some of the more minor points (body posture, "said" versus "told") come to the ear, live, and can be immediately used in the interview process.

There's far more to the crisis of confidence than just this, but when lesser talent is employed, bullying tactics, ego maniacs, and the natural consequences of arming the less than best and brightest are within our headlines, far too often, for us to discuss.

Perhaps, like so many other 'fads' of political trends, this too, shall pass and the next generation will excise the folly of today, for the wisdom of yesteryear.


Jeff said...

I agree 100%, Peter. When I was a boy, we were taught the policeman was your friend and you should try to help them whenever possible. From some of the horror stories I'm reading in the news today, it is clear people don't feel the same - and justifiably so. Now, police often 'shoot first, ask questions later,' and actually seem to enjoy railroading innocent lives. This country is becoming a Police State, where actual policing for the good of the citizen is almost nowhere to be found in favor of brutal, barbaric treatment that supposedly proves police are doing their jobs.

Sus said...

I believe the "problem" is more a matter of immediate exposure and a nation more attuned to individual rights than in the past.

Incidents with the Secret Service and the FBI have long occurred. They are now exposed to the public by the media. Incidents of police brutality are filmed and put on the 24 hour news to run repeatedly. It all gives a skewed version of a police state when in actuality we now live in a more open society where injustices are exposed and investigated. That's a good thing.

As to the hiring practices of police forces, at least federal, you're behind, Peter. It's not to fill a race or gender quota. The Justice Dept. enacted a mandate to hire veterans. Who are our veterans? What are the requirements to enter the service? There is your requirement to enter Law Enforcement.

elf said...

That wasn't very polite doty. Perhaps more police brutality is being noticed (against all races) because we now live in a technological age now. Nearly everyone has a phone with a video, free wireless connections everywhere. I was raised in a middle class white neighborhood,( I'm so pale I glow in the dark lol ) and my stepfather got attacked and tazed twice on our front porch. Was he a violent offender, you may ask? No. He is retired from the USA army and worked for the city garage for about 10 years and spent another 20+ years at an explosives factory, never even had a parking ticket. He was assaulted for trying to enter his own house after having a verbal altercation with a neighbor over a parking spot. He won his case. So you see, police brutality isn't just a 'black problem '. Its a people problem.

John Mc Gowan said...

Unfortunately, and it is becoming a sad truth. If justice is to prevail, a hefty account balance, or knowing people in high places, seems to be the only road to fare.

Harsh, but true i'm afraid.

Nic said...

Peter said, "when lesser talent is employed, bullying tactics, ego maniacs, and the natural consequences of arming the less than best and brightest are within our headlines,..."

Wow, Peter, you must be channeling my life.

Last week I had to go to the police station to fill out an accident report because my car broke down and I had to call for a tow, which they told me would take 2 hours. They took my cell # and said the driver would call me when he was at the car. In-between when I left and returned, someone dinged my car. To add insult to injury, there was nothing wrong with the car per se, it was the key that had an embedded "program"/safety feature that stopped working so my car wouldn't turn over. In any event, the police officer I ended up talking to at the police stn when took every opportunity to give me a hard time about the information on my report (so I could get an accident report number for the insurance adjustor). She was incredulous about how much information I wrote about what happened and severely challenged me about my statement. I pointed out to her that the instructions said to describe the events BEFORE AND LEADING UP TO the accident. Then she gave me a hard time about not checking off the box where they could release information to a third party, i.e., insurance, etc. I pointed out that the consent read not only that but that "the witness" (paraphrase) was able to corroborate my statement. I pointed out that there wasn't a witness - and that whoever hit me, didn't leave any information so I chose to leave the box blank because I would be "lying" if I consented to a non-existent witness. I was going to point out that it didn't make sense that they would have both together, but I thought better. Then she "instructed" me to return to my desk and "finish the report in its entirety". She really annunciated her words and spoke very slowly so that I would understand her. (Finishing the report entailed adding a line at the end of my statement saying that there was no witness...which was included in the report, but on the first page and ticking the box off.) She couldn't complain about my diagram and that bugged her. (Referring to her heavy sighs and rolly eyes.) Once I was able to submit the "completed" report she told me it would take about 45 minutes to an hour. So I read my hand-held and waited. Forty-five min later she rapped on her bullet-proof glass and motioned me to her window. She handed me the "report" which essentially had her name, badge number and a report number and everything else had a strike through it. She (fake) apologized and said that there wasn't really any information to fill in but that the report number would satisfy the insurance adjuster and to have a "nice day".

She made me wait for 45 minutes while she had nice chit-chats with colleagues and went for a coffee break.

trustmeigetit said...

Peter always talk about "expected behavior" especially with missing kids.

I just experienced it first hand.

A little girl went missing in my neighborhood (she was found safe) 2 hours ago. The mom and sister were hysterical. They called cops right away and mom was walking around crying and screaming her name. I don't even know them but got out there and walked around looking anywhere. I was even crying and again, I don't know them.

Mom had what I call the expected reaction in a missing kid case. Called cops immediately, panicked, searched and called out.

She's safe, they found her just 10 mins ago and I got home and had to share.

But I'll be honest, I looked at mom right away to see how she acted. Immediately saw the behavior that told me she was not involved somehow

Tania Cadogan said...

Once you learn even the basics of statement analysis it is a real eye opener to what you see and hear not only in MSM but also as you are out and about.

I am incredibly nosy, i talk to strangers even just to saying hi and commenting about the weather or the shops etc to start a conversation.
more often than not i end uop hearing their life story or if they have a problem be it technological, a family or health issue, utilities or a myriad of other things.
I wonder why they feel trusting enough to let me into their deepest secrets and coworries, i have come to the conclusion it is because i actually listen and don't judge, i advise what and where i canand i always finish with a hug and a have a great day.
it is amazing the subtleties that can be picked up just by knowing the basics and it does help no end when talking to someone and listening to their responses.

i also love hearing passing conversation and seeing their body language, how they interact with their friendsor family as they wander round, how their bodies say one thing and their mouths something else.

The down side is often when i am watching something on tv or listening to something on the radio i grumble about missing pronouns, temporal lacuna, articles etc which makes my uncle laugh.
He has however started to pick up on things in MSM now i have explained the very basics.
He says it has opened his eyes.
It also makes me grumble at drama and also reality crime shows when the deception is blatant and the cop doesn't see it or doesn't ask further questions.

it also helps now i have my uncle home from hospital after he spent 7 months in there working his way through the medical A - Z.
It means he cannot fib to me about if he has done his exercises ( he had severe cellulitis in his whole left arm and was lucky not to lose it, he had 5 ops on it and nost a chit load of muscle from his shoulder to elbow, uncontrolled diabetes, then he got a perforated duodenal ulcer which nearly killed him (again) then he got renal failure and a minor stroke which the hospital never told me about. It slipped out when i was sorting his bank cards) then a fungal infection of the liver which spread to his eyes and gall stones.
He was flat on his back for 7 months so he has had to learn to walk again and to use his left arm which he has a tendency to forget and hides it down the side of his chair.
I know when he hasn't done his exercises i don't hear the grunts and groan plus he doesn't take ownership when asked or he minimises when i ask if there are any problems i need to know about.

elf said...

How do you analyze a written statement if they don't use punctuation at all? This is the norm for the subject when messaging or posting to Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Elf, I would just go by the words themselves as punctuation does not affect statement analysis much. Do you have an example you want to post?

Anonymous said...

From a mom's group on Facebook
"I am having an insanely bad day, I went to get dressed this morning and left my 2 smaller littles in the living room playing, apparently they have skills opening and closing the door quietly, because they got out, Deea (2) was NAKED because her father insisted she have a bath this am, and she gets naked time after the bath until she is fully dry, I was gone literally not more then 3 minutes when Amrina (4) comes in my room and says "There is a lady and a man here" wtf? come out of my room to see a couple standing at my door with my naked child in a blanket, apparently the dog slipped out when the bigger girls left and Amrina was trying to go get her, and took Deea with her -.- and they found Deea in the road !!!!!!! I thanked them probably a 100 times for grabbing her and bringing them back, They asked why the door was unlocked I said it shouldn't have been because I watched Meeka lock the door knob on her way out (Amrina unlocked it), the guy then told me they would be making a call to cps...Fantastic -.- my kids aren't neglected ffs they were watching Sophia the first and must have been super quiet in opening and closing the door"

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I feel like it could be SA training goldmine.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


where no punctuation is used, simply note any 'intrusion' of a punctuation mark as significant.

S/A can be applied to texts, emails, tweets, and anything where communication is intended.


Jeff said...

Thanks for deleting some of the negativity, Peter. However, I would like to further justify the point of my original post. I wrote about the changes in the law enforcement mindset between the time of my youth (1960s/1970s), and today, while another reader used it to comment on racial differences. For those who may not be aware of the changes to which I referred, you can learn more here:

This is a very educational site and more citizens should be learning from it. Thanks.

Tania Cadogan said...

What caught my eye was the literally 3 mins (3 is the liars number MarkMcClish)there is add sensitivity as she adds the qualifier literally which weakens the statement.

She WENT to get dressed rather than i was getting dressed

If it was literally 3 mins how did the man and woman have time to find the child and then retrieve a blanket?
She doesn't tell us they were neighbors or known to her.

If they found Deea in the road, where was Amrina?

The dog not our/my dog?

Dropped pronoun in relation to coming out the room yet she uses pronouns elsewhere, making the room sensitive.

Depending on the volume of the tv and the location of the sitting room or the room with the tv in and the mom's room it would be quite easy for her not to have heard the door being unlocked and opened.
If doors are shut i don't hear my fron door being locked unlocked and i live in a small bungalow.
I suspect she is being deceptive about the timeshe was away.

The man is well within his rights to call CPS if only to have it put on record the incident happened.
For every case of abuse it had to start somewhere.
This may be enough for her to double check childproofing, she got her daughter back unharmed, she was lucky, or rather her daughter was lucky, it could have been so much worse.

elf said...

Ah. Thanks Peter. I'm going to attempt my analysis now on the message in question.
thank you for being such a patient teacher :)

Tania Cadogan said...

I see regarding the abduction in australia the dad apparantly owed dealers several thousand dollars and his daughter was taken to make him pay up which might explain his dry eyes and seriously bad acting since he knew who had her. he was threatened and then beaten upo hours earlier. I wonder if he got paid for interviews or got donations and used that to clear his debt.
I can't see him naming names since he will be a marked man, though if he does he make deal with those dealers but then has to worry about those working for the dealers etc coming after him

Lemon said...

CK is adorbs :)

Anonymous said...

I've been following SA for quite a while now. It really does seem like a gold mine lol.

I've noticed, that it seems like there are a lot of people who make up stories on those baby websites. I haven't figured out why. People just looking for attention I guess.

The one you're referencing is from Facebook, so maybe if the person is using their real name, it's probably not totally made, but it doesn't look totally legit either.

"Insanely", would that be a qualifier? "Left" should be flagged. "Apparently"..., she doesn't know how/if her kids open a door? How long was naked time after bath, where was the father who insisted on the bath, seeing the Deea was still wet (she gets naked time until dry)? "Literally not more than 3 minutes", qualifier, negative, liars number. "Come out of my room", dropped pronoun.

She then says that the couple are going to call cps. SHE brought up neglect, she didn't say the couple did. Then she says the were watching Sofia the First, she originally said they were playing. She then again says they "must have been super quiet in opening and closing the door".

I can't figure out how many kids there actually are, and who the "older" ones are who "left".

If any of the story is actually true and really happened, I feel like the mother knows she actually was neglectful, and she's looking for sympathy/support.

I'd love to see someone more trained SA that whole thing.

(P.S. be careful on the mommy/parent sites, there are lots of people telling stories and even looking for donations/money. A lot of times the truth ends up coming out. There is so much drama on those sites, where I personally didn't expect to find it. I don't know for sure about any Facebook groups though.)

Anonymous said...

Also some of her story is in present tense, not past tense.

Anonymous said...

The crisis is not a lack of confidence, the crisis is the immoral way law enforcement is treating people

Nic said...

I really enjoy reading the analysis in the comment section. :0) Hobs you have really evolved.

The thing that struck me about the statement is that she blames the father for the kid being naked (she was the one in charge of bath time (I'm ASSuming the dad was at work, if not was he still in bed?) and then she blames the other kid/s for her getting out in the first place. So she's pointing to everyone else, except that ultimately, she's the authority figure.

Three is the liars number. Lots of opening/closing doors, dressingm bath reference and nakedness. Was dad at work or were they having mommy and daddy time in the bedroom? Hence the dropped pronoun?

Mom introduced the word neglect. I would bet dollars to donuts that mom went back to bed (or maybe never got out of it at all) and the toddler took her diaper off because it was dirty, etc. and that's why she was naked.

Mom should invest in a door knob safety covers. Easy-peasey and inexpensive. She should also invest in a gate. I had two, one above the other because my youngest was a climber/escape artist.

bragi said...

“Affirmative action” is not the only “problem,” and statement analysis is not the only solution.

Personally I would have confidence that police could arrive and resolve a standoff. I would not have confidence that any law enforcement group anywhere would ever solve a missing person case.

As I see it, part of the problem with missing person cases is that law enforcement doesn’t get involved early enough (i.e. immediately) and they don’t have useful tools, techniques or training to be able to solve these cases.

Ideally, law enforcement would be able to get involved in a missing person case immediately — as soon as someone calls 911. You can’t ignore any missing person report because someone somewhere once wrote down “oh most of these are runaways.” To do that is incredibly cynical and ignorant, and amounts to nothing less than a denial of justice.

Law enforcement also needs tools. Instant and immediate access to the GPS location of any individual would end every one of these cases very quickly. They could also use things like airborne ground-penetrating radar and augmented vision (e.g. heat vision, virtual HUDs with the locations of cars, AI-derived possible paths a suspect/victim could have taken from the initial scene, etc.). Also valuable would be a historical log of realtime satellite imagery, so you could step back in time and actually see what happend when the person went missing.

These tools are not science fiction. They either exist already or only require work and existing technologies to create.

Barriers to these tools are money, policy, and willpower. In my opinion, willpower will be the most difficult to attain.

Anonymous said...

I live in Pinellas County. When I walked into the Pinellas County Courthouse last week I could not ignore the crazy guy standing in the parking lot across the street, very close to the courthouse entrance. He was yelling through a blow horn that 'rabbits make babies, take birth control, do no believe the court, the state will steal your babies', citing nursery rhythms that were not meant for any went on and on. To put it in context, that is how ones experience BEGINS at the Pinellas County Courthouse.

I asked the deputies at the metal detector about the man across the street and was told that he was an awful father and the state took his kids away. Rather than work to get his kids back, he shows up every single day to yell offensive dribble to those walking in and out of the courthouse. Unless one or both parents personally and irresponsibly involve law enforcement and/or CPS/DCS with false accusations, it is next to impossible to lose your kids despite alarming evidence to the contrary. I know a man that spent over $120,000 to obtain full custody of a child that he never wanted, he didn't want to lose to his ex baby mama. Now that he has the child full time because he had more money, he is miserable and often drops the little guy off on anyone with open arms and wonders why the child has been kicked out of 5 schools by age 7. He had to employ a full time person, same as a body guard, to accompany the child to his last chance of a school to ensure that if the child acted out, the 'body guard type' person would prevent any harmful acts from happening to other children, not his child. And this was the parent that won custody of the child?

On any day go to any courthouse in any state and attend any arraignment hearing. The apathy stems from those being arraigned (defendants), that is if they bother to show up, the number of repeat offenders that claim to not understand consequences of their actions, the public defenders and the states attorneys that speak as if the names being called off are not human beings but rather just another case number added to an already unmanageable pile of papers. The apathy all around was sickening. I was, perhaps naively so, shocked at how people do not take their life and their future serious.

As I was listening in court last week a defendant showed up to a sheriffs station to have an alcohol detection device installed on his car as part of his probation. He blew a .185 at the sheriffs station! In ANY state that has to be twice the legal allowable consumption limit. Who shows up drunk to have an alcohol detection device put on their car because they are a drunk? Is it a cry for help or blatant usage of pointing the middle finger to society - to all of us? From the sheriffs point of view this situation is annoying, at minimum. I was appalled but somehow found the level of ignorance a little funny.

Joe citizen does not believe that the police are here to serve and to protect because they are allowed to lie and have very broad sweeping liberties, as does the federal government. Joe citizen knowingly lies to the police, if they become involved at all. I do not see this situation as a one way street. It is a two way street with the crisis putting everyone at risk. The stories from my one day court experience could fill a book.

The system is too bogged down with such red tape in the form of 'money really does win most cases' and terrible attitudes on all sides that there is no easy answer. I often remind myself that when my mother went to grade school she participated in bomb threat drills - the cold war was red hot back then. Does every parent think that society cannot get much worse then remember that society has always been corrupt?

The 3 most dangerous words uttered or acted out upon today by children, young adults, Joe citizen, law enforcement and the court system are: "I DON'T CARE." It is unfortunate that those that say or act out those 3 words really do mean them.