Saturday, January 17, 2015
Statement Analysis: Traffic Stops Part One, Titles
In Statement Analysis, the Social Introduction, in context, can give insight into the quality of a relationship.
In life, traffic stops can be dangerous for all parties, especially law enforcement officials. Statement Analysis training can, and should be used, by officers assigned to traffic.
First, let's look at Social Introductions in Statement Analysis, and then on to the use of Titles of law enforcement officials, in traffic stops.
Principle: Social Introductions give us insight into the quality of a relationship.
"My husband, Bob" is a complete social introduction.
It has the three components we look for:
1. The pronoun "my."
"My husband, Bob"
We are, whether we admit it or not, possessive creatures. We take ownership of what is ours, and we refuse ownership of what is not outs.
"my guilt" said, OJ Simpson and Patsy Ramsey.
In fact, the word "my" often pre-dates speech in children.
"My husband, Bob" uses the title, "husband" which is component number two. This signals, at this point in the statement, a good relationship.
"My boss, Mary"
"My supervisor, Mr. Smith"
"My friend, Sally"
3. The name.
This is the third component which suggests, in analysis, that the relationship is positive AT the time of the statement (where, in the statement, it exists.)
"My husband", though incomplete, still shows ownership with the possessive pronoun, "my." In context, if the subject does not want to reveal the name of her husband, (in a public statement, perhaps), it is not to be concluded as an incomplete social introduction.
Context is key, and we apply principle within context. In some cases, a parent may not want to give her child's name.
Context is key.
Also, I emphasize "at this time of the statement" not meaning, when written, but literally at the time of the statement, within the statement, itself.
For example, in a robbery statement, the subject wrote out this statement, to police:
"I got up. Barbara got up. She made the bed and I went out to get some coffee...."
But what of traffic stops by police?
I expect to hear the title given: "Officer", "Deputy", "Chief", or even a reasonable substitute of "Sir"
This is the "Expected" in analysis. It is also something that traffic cops know, instinctively.
Titles Used or Missing in Traffic Stop
"Officer" is a signal of respect. It may come due to genuine respect, habit, or feigned respect, as the official is carrying a deadly weapon, and has within his authority, the ability to take away one's freedom. The sincerity of the subject is not important as the official does not need to read the heart's intent. The absence, however, of the title of respect, used in the discourse (not simply in one answer) should be considered a signal to the official that the subject needs careful attention.
Here is why:
Guilty people often want to "make friends" and "be seen as cooperative" just as much as innocent parties. Both may hold the officer in contempt, yet both wish to conceal the contempt. If, during the traffic stop, no title is used, it is, in Statement Analysis, an "incomplete social introduction" indicating a "bad relationship."
The expected is, "Officer" in discourse. There is no expectation of using the officer's name, but the title as a signal of respect. When it is absent, there may be a form of defiance, which, in all situations, is not wise.
Even when objecting to an officer's statement, respectful responses are the "expected" in analysis.
The lack of use of a title, far from what may appear on the surface, puts the officer on alert; an alert that comes in a situation (traffic stop) in which the officer is in a vulnerable (and often dangerous) situation when approaching a car in which he cannot see all occupants' hands. The lack of use of a title, in a tense situation, makes a marked increase in tension.
Q. What gives a subject the nerve to show deliberate disrespect to an armed law enforcement official with the power to take away liberty?
a. The subject may be armed
b. The subject may have mental illness
c. The subject may not be afraid of facing off against an armed official.
d. The subject intends to resist arrest. How will he accomplish this?
Think of how this should, naturally, put an officer on higher alert, and then think how this will impact language (and action).
I analyzed the statement of the officer in the Ferguson shooting. He was truthful.
Former Police officer, Darren Wilson's statement analyzed can be found HERE and is in two parts.
What did the shooting victim's body language, and then, verbal language, say about his intentions?
What did it say about the need for higher alert?
In the Expected versus the Unexpected, we place ourself in the shoes of the subject and ask, in innocence, what might I say in this position? What do we expect the shooting victim to say?
We then analyze.
Then, we presuppose the very opposite. We presuppose that he is deceptive and re-do our analysis.
We get a big picture.
Think now, of the shooting victim. In what manner did he approach the officer, and what did his words reveal?
Traffic stops are dangerous and the words the driver uses may be key and after being trained in Statement Analysis, officers assigned traffic duty, or those who wish to be assigned, should not only study Statement Analysis, but familiarize themselves with samples specifically about traffic stops and short, "on the fly" analysis.
It could save their lives.