We covered three topics in class last night – Interrogation, Social Services and Special Operations.
Detective Chacon was first, talking about Interrogation. First did you know the difference between an “interview” and an “interrogation”? Most people think the terms are interchangeable but they’re not. An interview in an informal conversation before you are placed under arrest. You do not have to be read your Miranda rights for an interview. An interrogation is an official conversation after you’ve been formally charged and arrested and read your Miranda rights.
He went through the basic steps of any interrogation: General questioning – Fact Finding – Time for suspect to do the talking – Time for detective to listen and develop rapport and determine baseline behavior – Time for detective to be very confident and take control of the conversation. 90% of all communication is non-verbal, aka body language, and detectives become masters at reading this.
During all of this the detective becomes a chameleon. They turn into a sympathetic ear, a friend, a priest, a brother, a sister – change into anything that the suspect will relate to and thereby open up to you and confess. Most times the detectives feel so filthy afterwards because they’ve pretended to sympathize with the suspect (mostly after talking with peodophiles) that they want to take a shower afterwards.
From all of the examples he gave of cases he’s worked on, this sounds like the most mentally draining job ever. Having to constantly put up a facade and pretend to become friends with rapists and murderers…their performances would rival any Hollywood actor.
Next was social worker Kathleen McNamarra talking about Social Services. Her talk was fairly brief but very detailed about the work her department does, as liaisons between the person in distress and the police. I’m actually very impressed at the number of programs my village has in place for senior citizens, children and most especially domestic violence.
Sergeant Harker was last, talking about Special Operations, the division that he runs. I had no idea how many things fall under Special Ops that relate to the community:
Community Problem Oriented Policing (CPOP), School Resource Officers (SRO), the DARE and GREAT programs (anti-drug and anti-gang), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Home and Business security surveys and the Volunteer Program.
Then there are the police focused aspects of Special Ops:
Tactical Patrol, Knock and Talks (door-to-door conversations), Search Warrants, DuMeg Liaison (undercover narcotics unit), Informant (aka snitch) Management, Asset Forfeitures of vehicles, money, property
The Volunteer program sounded really interesting so I stayed after class and talked to Sgt. Harker about it. Not only would you work at community events (like the 4th of July and summer concert series) but you could also help direct traffic at DUI roadblocks, drive the squad cars to get their oil changed, be “extras” in tactical operation drills and a whole bunch of other really cool stuff. Harker was glad I was so interested and he’s bringing me an application next week to fill out. I’ll have to go through another background check and this time be fingerprinted since I would be issued official police department credentials and a volunteer “uniform”. I’m really excited about this!
Next week the entire 3 hour class will be on Investigations. Apparently we’re going to be focusing on one infamous local case from start to finish. Sounds great to me!