Saturday, September 16, 2017

Writer's Police Academy - Day 2 (Friday) - Part 2

Handgun: Live Fire
Instructors: Walters/Haines (I didn't get their first names - sorry guys, you were amazing!

So I finally got to fire a gun!

I actually got to shoot twice, once on Friday and again on Saturday. Friday was handguns - 9mm to be exact - and good God do they pack a punch. From now on, when I see a movie or TV show that has a character firing this gun one-handed, it's going to take me out of the story. Maybe a big guy, but not a small guy and definitely not a woman, not unless their shots are wildly off-target. I kept thinking about what it must be like to be on the receiving end of those bullets, and wondering how anyone survives it. Big bullets and serious firepower.

Our targets. The paper over his face was for our first shot,
to make sure we were at least in the general vicinity.

Taking aim.

It's hard to tell, but I got him in the throat.

CSI: From First Responder to Evidence Collection
Instructor: Michael A. Black

  • The actions of the first officer on a crime scene are crucial. He/She must secure the scene, determine if medical attention is needed and preserve the scene.
  • Paramedics are able to save more lives than ever, but they are focused on that and not on preserving evidence. As a result, they can really contaminate a scene.
  • There are three types of evidence: Direct/Testimonial (eyewitness testimony), Circumstantial (logical inferences drawn from facts) and Physical (prints, DNA, video). The last is the most reliable because it is what it is. It is tangible and can be observed. 
  • When bagging evidence: biologicals in paper bags, non-biologicals in plastic bags.
  • Once a crime scene is released, law enforcement needs consent of the owner to return. If they can't get consent, they need a warrant.
  • Not properly securing a crime scene can call how it was handled and processed into question during a trial. However, if the defense is attacking the police, it's a good sign the defendant is guilty.
  • Your fingerprints will be entered into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) only if you are convicted and imprisoned. However, they also go in if you're a homicide victim.

Evidence bag.

7-Step Crime Scene Protocol

Interview and Interrogation
Instructor: Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop is a veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (primarily sex crimes), a published author, and even appeared on a reality television show. The man is also world-class when it comes to interrogation techniques and detecting deceptive behaviors.

  • False confessions happen and are often the result of the suspect protecting someone close to them. You do not want an innocent person to confess.
  • The more confessions they can get, the less time the victims have to spend in court reliving the trauma.
  • The key to interrogation is anxiety. You want to get suspects to the point where they exhibit deceptive behaviors.
  • 7% of communication is verbal. The rest consists of gestures, facial expressions and intonation. Not just what they're saying, but how they're saying it.
  • "I did it," is an admission, not a confession. It's only a starting point.
  • It's not always necessary for police to bring a suspect into the station for interrogation. Sometimes questioning them at their home or job increases their anxiety level because if they're guilty, they want the cops to go away.
  • Bishop prefers not to have a table between him and a suspect. The table is a barrier between them and can give the suspect the feeling of being protected. Bishop likes them face to face.
  • He also discussed the psychology of anxiety (along with how if affects people physically) and how they ease suspects into confessions. It's not a lot of good cop/bad cop drama, or yelling and slamming fists on tables like you see on TV and in the movies. He also discussed behavioral differences between people who are guilty and who are innocent.

Bishop covered a lot of ground during this session. I took about eight pages of notes. If you get the chance to see him speak, do it. 

Next up: Saturday! With more firepower!

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