When that phone rings, you better know the correct answers
Being a Specialized Investigator will not only be challenging but rewarding. There are three areas you need to work diligently so you can be the best in your business. As you will quickly learn, being a Specialized Investigator is the responsibility and accountability will have its specific nuances and subtleties that you have been searching for.
However, when your telephone rings early in the morning, you may want to rethink of becoming a Specialized CSA Investigator. Before you get out of bed to put on the red Marvel cape you have hanging in your closet just waiting for this type of situation. Who else would be calling me, all my relatives have died, so unless I was transported to Heaven after I went to sleep, I need to wake-up enough to take a Captain Jack Sparrow look over at the trusty old alarm clock, which has been there no matter what the circumstances are, and when it reads 2:45 a.m, the options become very clear, your attitude becomes like Monty Hall, like the daytime game show, Let’s Make A Deal, You have to ask yourself, if I select door number one, this isn’t fair, as this could be one of the individuals I put in prison 10 years ago and was just released and his first telephone call was to me, and like a Cape Cod scene, Robert Deniro tells Nick Nolte, “I am coming to get you” I quickly realize this would not be a good selection.
So Monty offers me a chance at door number two, which at first seems like a good deal, but when he tells me that behind door number two is my fifth grade school teacher, Mrs. Janet Flynn, who I won’t be able to recognize because she has grown a better mustache then me, I tell Monty, that door number two isn’t going to make it. So I ask how are you going to react Det. Daly, my last option comes down to door number three. Monty tells me., “Det. Daly, I can’t give you any clues about what or who is behind door number three, but I can tell you, oh I can tell you, you can’t go wrong, after hearing what doors number one and two have to offer, I say, “Well Monty, door number three it will be? Just in time the other eye opens and Captain Jack has left the room and Monty follows behind him asking Captain Jack which door would he like to select, since thank goodness I couldn’t convince myself that what was happening only happens on the nights Freddy Kruger visits and this dream has me believing that PTSD which I suffered when I was three years old, is back.
Can you imagine hearing your newly designed mobile telephone ringing and taking you out of rim sleep with dreams about being or having the facial disfigurement of Captain Jack and being on the Let’s Make A Deal Show. Where doors one through three, no matter how I can imagine anything getting worse, I am now partially awake, fading in and out of dream and reality states and clearly out of the blue, hear my new ring tone ignite and, “Born To Be Wild,” comes on like roaring lion on my nighstand which my 16 year-old daughter told me she had a big surprise for me and it will be something I will never forget.
Wait I say to myself when I finish with whoever is calling me, I am going to walk to her room and begin singing, “Some Where Out There, “ as I assist her getting out of her bed with a bucket of water. Now that was the best idea I had since being awoken, oh my, I guess I should answer the new AppleSi, which I paid two months worth of pay. Unbelievale isn’t it and then I answer the telephone.
Your first thought Investigators as a normal Investigator – well as normal as you first were when you made the giant leap of faith to become not only a Specialized Investigator but an Investigator who investigates child sexual assaults – is the realization you just went to bed; “You have to be kidding me, oh my, you are you are kidding me aren’t you! Did I just say that out loud, shut the front door.” This sudden realization probably will make matters worse for most Investigators.
So I take a leap of faith when putting the telephone next to my ear and hear,“Mr. Daly, did I just wake you up? Is this Mr. Daly?” Is this a dream I say to myself? What time is it? Nope, this is real life and it’s happening at the most inopportune time. You just obtained sequentially Education, Training, and Experience that you had not planned to deal with on this day, at this time, at this very moment, I unfortunately am going to find out just how creative and innovative I have become in the first three months of being a Specialized Child Sexual Assault Investigator.
“Mr. John Doe, this is Larry Daly. How may I help you?” Then those famous words clutter from his mouth, and he whispers, “Mr. Daly, the police came to my house, put handcuffs on me, in front of my wife and kids, and told me that I was under arrest for raping the 10-year-old child who lives next door to me.” And then, he begins to weep.
As a trained Specialized CSA Investigator, you will know what the next investigative steps are. Most Specialized CSA Investigators will have the intelligence and common sense to tell him, “Mr. Doe, I am sorry, but I believe you have reached the wrong telephone number,” and move to select the red button on my telephone when he states, “Mr. Daly, you have to help me, I have no one else.” Then my sympathy kicks in, and I state, “Mr. Doe, did I tell you how much my hourly rate is and my retainer is very high.” He stops crying, and I begin to smile, “Mr. Doe are you there?” It seems like I don’t want to assist him with his dilimma, but I need him to understand, very quickly, that I didn’t create the problem, but as a Specialized CSA Investigator I can definitely resolve his situation. I am not convinced nor is Mr. Doe that money will resolve all his problems, but hey what is a new Specialized CSA Investigator supposed to do under these very stressful and confusing time.
Education, training, and experience will come at the most unexpected time. As a skilled Specialized CSA Investigator, the next three basic investigative lessons you will learn today are key for you to become a leading expert in the investigative field of Child Sexual Assault Allegations.
Lesson Number One: Education
As you have read the scenario above, your education will come in many ways. I remember, the first education I had involving one of my clients. I had just retired from the King County Police Department, now the King County Sherriff’s Office. I had been in the Sexual Assault Unit for approximately three months, when one night, I received a frantic call from one of the witnesses I had given a business card to and told her to call me if she had any concerns. Like Mr. Doe, she had no concept of what time it was, and wanted to tell me about her day at the park and how many new people she had met playing with the children. She told me, “Detective Daly, while being at the park, I was able to make friends and one of the individuals there was a man, Fred Smith, I believe that was his name. He was taking pictures of all of the children, especially the younger ones. As the conversation began, I asked him which child was his, and he told me none of them were. Doesn’t that sound a little weird Detective Daly? Why would he be taking pictures of young children; and why was he in the park, doesn’t that seem weird, Detective Daly?”
When we completed our brief conversation, I realized that I never found out that late morning why she had called me. However, I did learn one short aspect of education, pertaining to my new job: people will call you at all times, and you must always be prepared to answer the phone competently. This example is fundamentally what education is all about; finding the tiny moments that can show you in depth what your job is truly going to be like. Growth and knowledge is a compilation of all the finite education points.
Lesson Number Two: Training
I had been married for approximately three years when I received my Detective assignment in the Sexual Assault Unit. I figured that I wasn’t going to receive any sleep if I didn’t train my wife on how to answer the late and early morning telephone calls. I trained her to say to the witnesses, victims, and suspects key sound bites, such as, “I am sorry to tell you, but Detective Daly fell today and broke his neck; yes, he will survive, but it isn’t clear if he will ever talk again.” That was my favorite response. My second favorite was, “I am sorry, but Detective Daly can’t come to the telephone because the last time I saw him, he was chasing a bear out of our backyard; Do you think he will be alright?”
In all seriousness, training has to be a priority for anyone who works at being a competent Specialized CSA Investigator. Too often Specialized CSA Investigators have no idea what continual training will do for their self-preservation.
In one of the first Child Sexual Assault Investigation I was assigned, I traveled to the perpetrator’s home where I was to search for a white towel which was he used to wipe himself off after he raped his daughter. The assignment had been given to me by my Sergeant. I hadn’t a clue why I was going to this house, to pick-up a towel. I wanted to tell my Sergeant that I could run down to K-Mart and pick-up a new towel. Something told me, I better not circumvent his instructions, so I kept my mouth shut and walked away shaking my head.
When I arrived to the perpetrator’s house he was waiting for me as I walked up the walkway. I introduced myself like we were best friends. He walked me to the back of the house, into a very small bedroom, where the only thing in the room was the victim’s bed. In the ceiling, there was a small opening inside that appeared to be an attic-like space. He jumped on the bed, pushed the little board that led into the attic, reached inside and pulled out the white small in size towel.
The thought hadn’t occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the towel presented a major piece of evidence in the case until he handed me the towel. The towel was folded into a mess, with each end tightly wrapped. It was hard and had all these stains on it. That was when the “Mind Atom Bomb” clicked, and as he went to hand me the towel, I grabbed him, spun him around, and asked him to speak to the wall while I handcuffed him. I realized then that my Sgt. and the rest of the squad had set me up. When I returned with the perpetrator into the “bull pen” I was informed by one of the other Detectives, that I might want to take the handcuffs off our Captain. It was difficult taking the handcuffs off him, due to the fact that he and the rest of the onlooking Detectives were smugly amused at the success of their plan. I had never met this Captain, although I heard his name.
Just think, if I had received the proper training, the Captain and his minions would not have pulled this trick on me. Later, I was glad that other rookie Detectives were being assigned to our Unit. Although the Senior Detectives laughed at me that day, it was a training session I would never forget. That “Mind Atom Bomb” engrained in my memory the need to know about physical, biological, and trace evidence. Training is an ongoing process, and I suggest you get far into training before one of your Senior Investigators will or will not have taken the time to teach you how to recognize evidence, especially when it comes from a small piece of heaven, which some people call the window to the attic.
Lesson Number Three: Experience
Experience, repetition, process; doing the same thing over and over again until you can perfect the movement so precisely it is muscle memory. Experience is the application of your education and training. Without this essential lesson, all of your education and training becomes wasted. Yes, that is right, wasted.
Experience comes in two fundamental ways: courage to take on the cases that other rookies would avoid and the willingness to stick to learning a craft.
Being courageous to take on cases that other rookies are avoiding is important as it shows your leaders you have a commitment to improving all while giving you a step ahead in regards to work experience. While you are out in the field attempting to get better, others are still lacking behind with doubt in themselves. Experience is about combining a humble attitude that recognizes you still have a lot to learn while possessing an inner knowledge you will succeed despite the notion you are a rookie. As you gain more experience, the fear of failure that can hold you back will slowly be erased.
Experience is about releasing yourself from the fear of failure. However, it is important to remember to keep a common sense about you. Once when I was a rookie, I recall running into break up fights without acknowledging back up. Yes, I was working on releasing the fear of failure, but I could have reacted with more head knowledge.
Head knowledge will come with experience and build to a veteran sense. Experience will create a “sixth sense” that will become so important to the investigator. When walking onto a crime scene in order to investigate the evidence gathered, you will find that through your experience you have begun to craft and form a hypothesis. Initially, you will find that your hypothesis will be more often wrong than correct. However, it is important to have these experiences of being wrong as failure does indeed shape your mind. Experiencing failure will allow you to learn where you are wrong and how you can improve your thought process. Over time you will improve the ability not realizing that you have begun to form a hypothesis that is correct. Upon reflection, it occurs to you that your experiences have indeed crafted your thought process.
The thought process is important to the fundamental of committing to craft. Experience is a great teacher, but trying to combine too many experiences into one moment will ultimately hurt you. You want to be a well-rounded investigator, but trying to be well-rounded Specialized CSA Investigator will instantly thorough experience can and will set you back. Trying to add one or two facets to your investigative skill sets is enough for one time. Too much and you will only become mediocre in the areas you are working upon crafting.
Crafting a skill as an investigator takes time, which demands experience and repetition. You can learn a significant amount in a classroom. Ultimately it will not matter if you cannot apply that classroom time to the field. Eventually, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone in order to apply a newfound knowledge. The repeated application of that knowledge is what makes you functional as an investigator.
This is where experience reaches its pinnacle effect: the willingness to overcome your fear to apply classroom knowledge over and over again until you are an expert in an area. Then, you see where you can learn more and move on to the next area of skill progression. Remember to step out of your comfort zone on occasion so you improve instead of become stagnant. Learning comes down to engraining by repetition.
The aspects of education, training, experience all come together to craft you as a competent investigator. Each of these three lessons must work together in unison, or they will not work at all. The investigation is not just about the experience because the experience is just a timeline of events in your life if you cannot gather education from it. Education is just that, lessons without application if you cannot apply experience. Training will not matter if you cannot put the education necessary so that you can apply the training to experience.
Too many investigators will only garnish education, training, or experience and then assume they are competent investigators. This notion is devastating to your career, and if you walk away with one key let it be this: the competent investigator is a well-rounded investigator in all matters.
As this article concludes, let it be only the beginning of your training. Think of the detailed moments that you have had in your career; be it you are a seasoned veteran or a new rookie. Reflect for a moment at the end of each day to just remember what you have gathered in the day.
Always seek to improve and become better. No investigator truly will complete themsleves unless you acknowledge the need to always get better. The moment you think you have learned everything you can, you have failed.