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February 2013

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in this issue . . .


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The Lie, the Bluff and False Confessions

By John Reid & Associates

One of the most controversial aspects of criminal interrogation involves the use of trickery and deceit. While Federal and State Supreme Courts routinely uphold confessions that were obtained from interrogations during which the suspect was falsely told that there was incriminating evidence, academicians and psychologists have argued that lying to a suspect about having incriminating evidence is unethical, erodes the integrity of the criminal justice system and may induce an innocent suspect to confess.

Considering the necessity of dealing with criminal suspects on a somewhat lower moral plane than the average public, Supreme Court justices have rejected the ethical arguments. While there have been some restrictions placed on the use of trickery and deceit during an interrogation, e.g., manufacturing evidence against a suspect, the prevailing logic has been that merely lying to a suspect about having incriminating evidence would not be apt to cause an innocent person to confess. As a recent appeals court ruled, "such misrepresentations (lying about having evidence), of course may cause a suspect to confess, but causation alone does not constitute coercion..."1

A recent study challenges this basic premise.2 The authors offer the paradoxical hypothesis that lying to a suspect about having incriminating evidence actually encourages innocent people to confess. The study used a cheating paradigm in which participants (college students) were instructed not to help another person (a confederate within the study) with a particular task. In half of the cases, the other person asked the participant for help, which most provided. All participants were then accused of helping the confederate with the task and advised that cheating would be a violation of the University's honor code. Under this condition, none of the innocent participants confessed and 87% of the guilty participants confessed.

A second group of half innocent and half guilty suspects were not only accused of cheating but also told that there was a hidden video camera in the room which would eventually reveal their guilt or innocence. Under this circumstance 93% of the guilty suspects confessed and 50% of the innocent suspects confessed.

To anyone who has conducted actual interrogations, this finding makes absolutely no sense. The explanation can be found within the procedures used during the mock interrogation. As it turned out, these innocent participants didn't confess to helping the other person at all. Rather, they signed a prepared statement to that effect. Further, and of most importance, they were reassured that if the hidden camera exonerated them they would not get into any trouble by signing the statement. According to the study, the participants were then told, "stop wasting my time and sign this," which almost all of the guilty suspects did as well as half of the innocent suspects.

If this interrogation tactic were used during an actual criminal interrogation, the confession would be suppressed in a heartbeat. Encouraging suspects to sign a prepared confession by offering them a promise that if future evidence exonerates the suspect the confession will not be used against them, clearly shocks the conscience of the court and community.3 In other words, the innocent participants in this study were manipulated into believing that signing the confession would not result in any negative consequences. The tactic falls just short of having the suspect sign a blank document, which the investigator later fills in.

In real-life interrogations suspects are fully aware that their confession is an admission of guilt. In real-life interrogations if false statements are made to a suspect with respect to evidence, it is that the evidence clearly implicates the suspect in the crime, e.g., "We've got a witness who saw you leave her apartment!" or "We've got your fingerprints from the murder weapon!" Under this circumstance, an innocent suspect would immediately recognize that the evidence could not exist (or was manufactured) and the suspect would be more motivated to maintain their innocence. Certainly the innocent suspect would not be encouraged to falsely confess, as suggested by this research.

In conclusion, this study is a prime example illustrating the dangers of generalizing laboratory research findings to real-life situations. In an effort to prove their hypothesis, Perillo and Kassin have ignored legal guidelines regulating interrogation practices. They created an interrogation scenario that is not advocated by any authority in the field of interrogation that we are aware of, and certainly not by John E. Reid and Associates. Hopefully courts will recognize that any laboratory hypothesis can be proven if one manipulates research variables in a manner favorable to the hypothesis.

For further information of the problems with generalizing laboratory research to real-life situations, click here.

1 State v. Perez, WI, 2010

2 Perillo, J. and Kassin, S, "Inside Interrogation: The Lie, The Bluff and False Confessions" Law and Human Behavior, Aug. 2010

3 Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731,89 S. Ct. 1420 (1969)

Credit and Permission Statement: This Investigator Tip was developed by John E. Reid and Associates Inc. Permission is hereby granted to those who wish to share or copy the article. For additional 'tips' visit
www.reid.com; select 'Educational Information' and 'Investigator Tip'. Inquiries regarding Investigator Tips should be directed to Janet Finnerty johnreid@htc.net. For more information regarding Reid seminars and training products, contact John E. Reid and Associates, Inc. at 800-255-5747 or www.reid.com.  

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Getting Through the Ultimate Tragedy

Sergeant Scott Barthelmass of the Overland (Mo.) PD heads up a Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team for the state of Missouri, one of a handful of such organizations active in the U.S.

On the saddest of days — when everything needs to go just right — are you sure your department would know how to conduct a proper police funeral?

At agencies where line-of-duty deaths are a rarity and there’s no proven protocol in place for honoring a dead officer, the skill to do the right things may not match the will.

Sergeant Scott Barthelmass of the Overland (Mo.) PD can help.

A 17-year law enforcement veteran, Barthelmass heads up a Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team for the state of Missouri, one of a handful of such organizations active in the U.S. In the last four years, his group has helped plan and/or conduct 70 law enforcement funerals or memorials, ranging from those for retired officers who suffered fatal heart attacks to officers killed in car crashes or gunned down on-duty.

Even K-9 funerals qualify for the team’s assistance.

In a presentation for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police and during an interview later with PoliceOne, he spoke about the special needs of these solemn occasions.

“The way a police funeral is handled is critical to helping an officer’s coworkers, surviving family, and community begin to heal,” he says. “Everyone needs to see how heroic the dead officer was by the way his or her death is commemorated. You want the family to think, ‘Wow! He did make a difference’,” Barthelmass explained.

“Yet many agencies, especially small or medium-size ones, are overwhelmed and unprepared when a death suddenly strikes. They’re well-intentioned, but they don’t have the manpower, the knowledge, or the resources necessary to organize and execute appropriate memorial procedures. Most times, there’s so much emotion going on and so many details that are important to cover it’s hard to figure out what to do on the fly.”

Across his career, Barthelmass himself has experienced the deaths of seven friends killed in action. “Among them, there was one really, really bad funeral,” he says. “The agency didn’t communicate at all with the officer’s family — just did what it wanted to do and ended up making some very unfortunate choices. There are still scars.”

In 2008, several LEOs were killed in one month in Missouri, and as their grieving agencies stumbled through the hectic aftermath, “it became obvious that many departments need help when these tragedies occur,” Barthelmass recalls.

A volunteer firefighter as well as a cop, he was aware that the fire community has a proficient, nationwide network of funeral assistance teams to assure that fallen members get awe-inspiring sendoffs. He decided to gather a group of fellow officers who would help him develop a team for the Show Me State that would mirror the fire paradigm for cops.

Today, that team, operating from the St. Louis area, consists of some 10 core members, with the capability of more than doubling its size as demand requires. All members are extensively trained in death notification, in dealing with trauma, and in funeral protocol. The group is chartered as a nonprofit organization, funded by donations. Its services are provided free of charge (a similar team has subsequently been organized in the Kansas City region).

“We only respond when requested by an agency,” Barthelmass explains. “Our job isn’t to take over in a high-profile manner. Our mission is to quietly assure that things run smoothly and that all bases are covered in a collaborative manner in a short time, like an unobtrusive, behind-the-scenes event-planner.

“We don’t want most people to even know we were there. We want people to think the department really did a good job of burying one of their own.”

Among areas where the team often makes a positive impact:

Family-agency Liaison — “It’s important that what the officer’s family wants and what the department has in mind mesh,” Barthelmass points out. He recalls one instance where an agency intended to post an honor guard holding rifles at the dead member’s casket. Considering that the officer had just been slain by someone with a gun, the family recoiled at this idea. “Too often, communication with the family gets lost in the shuffle and bitterness results,” Barthelmass notes.

Crowd Management — “More people often turn out for a police funeral than agencies anticipate,” Barthelmass says. “Officers are likely to show up from out of town and need accommodations or direction. Over 22,000 people turned out in Lakewood, Washington, when the four officers were killed there. That can swamp a small town without the right crowd control. Disruptive elements may appear too. Religious radicals who heckle military funerals sometimes target law enforcement funerals, as well. We can make sure the family is shielded from them without creating liability regarding free-speech rights.”

Body Escort — Usually the family and agency appreciate having the fallen officer’s body accompanied by a continual police presence from death through the burial. Barthelmass’s team can coach and equip honor guards to make that possible. In one exceptional case, an officer died in one state but was to be interred several states away. The funeral team arranged not only for a police escort for the long journey but had a squad car or fire engine visible from the highway at every overpass en route.

Street-coverage Logistics — Police services for the community need to be maintained during the funeral, but this can strain small agencies where members of the force, including dispatchers, want to attend or be involved in the memorial. “We can help recruit and coordinate substitutes to cover dispatch and patrol so there’s no disruption,” Barthelmass says.

Photographic Record — “We can provide a photographer to create a record of the event,” Barthelmass says. “The family often doesn’t remember what happened because of the stress and emotion they’re experiencing at the time. We can prepare a nice CD or DVD for them to view later and have as a keepsake.”

Memorable Touches — The variety of component pieces that Barthelmass’s team can provide seems limitless: Prayers and readings that are law enforcement-specific, flags from all military branches for veterans, albums in which people can write messages, help in tracking down a bag piper or a chaplain, guidance for helping survivors get the federal benefits they’re entitled to. “There can be a massive amount of planning that goes into a police funeral,” Barthelmass says. “We try to think of everything. We’ve never had a request we couldn’t fulfill.”

In Missouri and its surrounding states, the team can work with an agency in person. The team travels with a trailer stocked with an inventory to meet every contingency, from fuses for light bars to white gloves for pallbearers to toys for kids to arm bands and bunting to a sound system capable of broadcasting to huge crowds at a cemetery.

For departments beyond the team’s immediate geographic reach, Barthelmass can consult without charge by phone and email. “We’ve gotten so proficient at doing it, we can help anyone,” he says, “even if we’re not there in person.” And if you’d like to organize a funeral team in your area, he can send useful documents from a 150-page how-to manual he has compiled and guide you through the process.

“We can’t stop every line-of-duty death,” Barthelmass says. “We always hope another one won’t happen, but they do. It’s imperative that we lay fallen heroes to rest in the most honorable and dignified way possible.”

Scott Barthelmass can be reached at: sbarthelmass@yahoo.com or by cell phone at: (314) 565-2480. Access the team’s website for helpful information at: www.mopolicefuneral.org

About the author

Charles Remsberg co-founded the original Street Survival Seminar and the Street Survival Newsline, authored three of the best-selling law enforcement training textbooks, and helped produce numerous award-winning training videos. His nearly three decades of work earned him the prestigious O.W. Wilson Award for outstanding contributions to law enforcement and the American Police Hall of Fame Honor Award for distinguished achievement in public service.

Pre-order Charles Remsberg's latest book,
Blood Lessons, which takes you inside more than 20 unforgettable confrontations where officers' lives are on the line.


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Deputy's Observations: Why Do We Carry Handguns?


by Frank Hinkle

Reprinted from PoliceLink

Why do we carry handguns? It was a question asked of me many years ago while I had the honor to serve as the bailiff to a judge of the Superior Court. He was a remarkable man who spent most of his career as a top prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office, but for three-years he served as one of the most respected judges of our criminal courts. It was one of the most interesting times in my career.

We called him “The Commander,” a nickname that had been pinned on him by his colleagues in the DA’s office. Many of them served as officers in our nation’s military reserves, and at the same time that he became the chief-deputy of a branch office he also attained the rank of Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He eventually retired at the rank of captain, but there was just something about the moniker “The Commander” that fit him and it stuck with him for years.

“The Commander” was an exceptional leader. His Navy service had all been in “line units” in Naval Aviation. He was an electrical engineer by training and had served as a Naval Flight Officer on antisubmarine bombers, including an assignment to Vietnam immediately after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

“The Commander” was a common sense guy. No matter how complex of a legal issue that faced him, he always broke it down to its core elements, applied the applicable law and moved forward. I don’t ever recall him having to stop and take an objection under advisement and research it later; he just used common sense and made a ruling.

One of his most remarkable qualities as a leader was that he dedicated himself to teaching us on his staff something everyday. He had no obligation to do so, but everyday he tried to teach our clerk and court reporter and myself something. It might be a complex legal issue, Oriental philosophy or something of a mechanical nature, but everyday we learned something from him, and we were better employees and people for it. In later years I tried to do the same for the young deputies that I worked with.

“The Commander” was a life-long “gun guy” and carried a concealed weapon most of his adult life; a fact that his flight crewmembers appreciated. Flying patrols from Japan out over the open ocean they found it reassuring that “The Lieutenant” had a snub-nosed .38 in his flight suit pocket. Later when they were assigned to Vietnam all of the flight crewmembers were issued WWII era revolvers. While they were all gathered in the barracks being briefed, “The Lieutenant” was selecting which old revolvers his crewmen were going to carry, and he selected the best of the bunch. “The Lieutenant” looked after his crew.

One day “The Commander” accosted me with the question, “Why do we carry handguns?” I was stumped for an answer and muttered something feeble, like “Because they make us look sexy?” Being a gentleman he let that go. He did not expect me to answer his question, and we both knew that he was only couching a statement in the form of a question to encourage me to think about it.

“We carry handguns,” he told me in his crisp, precise way of speaking, “because we do not expect trouble.” That was my lesson for the day: We carry handguns because we do not expect trouble. To my credit I was able to extrapolate that out to the next level: If we expect trouble then we bring a long gun. But since we don’t expect trouble but are aware that trouble might still visit us, we go armed with a handgun.

That was one of the most important lessons that I ever learned during my law enforcement career. Of all of the classes I took in Criminal Justice, starting in high school and through community collage, the academy, Advanced Officer schools (aka “retread school”) and later “Regional Officer Training” (aka “Rot,” which it usually was) plus all of the seminars and survival schools that I attended on my own, that one observation about carrying a handgun made the biggest impression on me of all. Not to say that I did not learn important things from all of my advanced training classes and survival seminars, because I did. But that one basic rule about defensive handguns and offensive long guns opened my eyes and made me think about what I was doing and how to view a situation. I had always been pragmatic about my assignments, expecting and planning for trouble even when the sergeant, who was not going to be leaving his office and going with me, was sure that “Everything would be OK and everybody will get along and we will sing ‘Kum ba yah’ together afterwards.” Funny, beforehand they always had the utmost confidence in my abilities to bring a situation to a peaceful resolution while afterwards they exhibited no confidence in my judgment, expected numerous complaints & law suits and bemoaned the day that I had been assigned to their quiet and peaceful world in Neverland. Until the next time that they assigned me to deal with a potentially dangerous assignment and still did not volunteer to go out into the field to cover me.

I actually refined that lesson one more step: But because we are aware of the sudden and violent nature of criminal attacks we carry .45s. I don’t mean that only those of us who carry pistols chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge can call ourselves “warriors.” I mean that you should carry the largest pistol of the largest caliber that you can conceal, and shoot competently. For some that is a small 2” revolver or a compact .380 ACP pocket pistol. It is more important to have “some gun” than “no gun.” “The Commander “ always preached to me, “A hit with a .22 is more important than a miss with a .45.” His weapon of choice was a .38 Smith & Wesson Chief Special wearing a Barami Hip Grip. (www.baramihipgrip.com.) He always carried it, and he was an expert shot with it.

My first partner in Fugitive Investigations, “Big Al” Culbertson, carried a Charter Arms Bulldog 5-shot .44 Special revolver. He was a competitive shooter and our range master & armorer. He was our “one-man SWAT Team” and he could shoot circles around me, literally. I was carrying so many guns and so much extra ammunition that I could hardly make it out of our unmarked car, and my biggest fear was of being attacked by a magnet. Had I ever fallen down I would probably have to low-crawl around until I found something to pull myself upright. “Big Al” also carried a .357 Magnum revolver and 500 rounds along with a sawed-off double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun in the trunk of our “cool car,” but he knocked on doors with just the five-rounds of .44 Special in his weapon and none of us quibbled with him about it. For him with his skill level, that was “enough gun” for just about any situation that he could expect to face. What was in the trunk was for when “Big Al” expected trouble.

Stay safe, and stay alert.

Frank Hinkle

Frank Hinkle is a veteran of more than 31-years in law enforcement, having served as a deputy on the San Diego County Marshal’s Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. He served as a plain-clothes investigator serving felony warrants and Mental Health Examination petitions. He also conducted extraditions; returning fugitives to San Diego County to face trial. He also served as a member of his departments’ Honor Guard.

Not satisfied with the officer safety and combat shooting training that he had received he took it upon himself to read literature and attend seminars on those subjects on his own. A great deal of his knowledge in these subjects comes from the experiences of his colleagues in law enforcement

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Who Gets to Have Guns in Schools? – Can we Address this Issue Realistically?

By John Currie, American Military University

Over the last several weeks we have heard from the President, subject-matter experts, law enforcement, a bunch of politicians and nearly everyone else in our address book about how to prevent school children from being shot in their classrooms. The first issue we must get our arms around is the fact that this is now a reality.

In my 26 years in law enforcement, I saw a lot of very bad things happen, but I never thought there could or would be such evil perpetrated as that done at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. But yes, it did happen. Now, as police officers—as life-long public safety professionals—we are called upon to examine, determine and offer the best solutions for prevention. Simply stated, the country demands a realistic way to prevent a tragedy like this from reoccurring. Here are my thoughts.

Continued - http://inpublicsafety.com/2013/01/who-gets-to-have-guns-in-schools-can-we-address-this-issue-realistically/



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