One of my favorite sayings is, “It is not about the facts found, but the thoughts put into the facts.” This epitomizes the essence of what it takes to become an efficient investigator. In fact, everything I ultimately discuss on my blog epitomizes the theme of examining the facts thoroughly (so keep that in mind as you read through anything I present.) Commonly, it is missed that there is a difference between fact and truth. The difference is subtle in investigations, essential to understand. Fact and truth are both objective themes in an investigation, but present different themes.
An investigative fact is something that is indisputable. It is the discovery or events of what occurred. An investigative truth is that which is – well, true. Truth is what is found when examining the facts. Let us examine an incident – On July 21, 2016 a man walked into a bank after hours, setting off alarms and sending the police to his location. Upon arrival the police arrested him for breaking into the bank. This is a fact. However, investigators, found the truth of the incident when they discovered this man was an employee of the bank, had to work late, but forgot the alarm code upon entering the bank.
The example is simple, and more often than not these cases will be very complicated, but I hope it gives the idea of why examining the fact for truth is so important. Eliciting the truth is difficult, but the synthesis of the investigators job. Make sure you understand the difference between truth and fiction before moving forward. Analyze some of your own past cases to find where you had to use facts to draw out the truth.
Contextual Embedding At What Stage Did The Crime Occur
Several techniques can be used in order to efficiently commence critical analysis. One of these is analyzing before, during, and after. Answering these questions can help build the timeline and find the missing points in a case. Analyzing the before of a case will bring about answers of motivation and what was in the minds of those involved before they committed the crimes. The during analysis connects to the before analysis, carrying over the motivation into the how. Finding the methodology behind a crime will elicit the modus operandi of the crime among other answers. Finally, the after analysis will show reaction from those involved, possibly providing the truth to a missing piece for of the during. Analyzing these individual pieces can help find investigative points that may have been missed on a micro or macro level. Often key pieces will be discovered among the collective analysis of all three factors together. Putting pieces together from an individual analysis will help elicit the truth over the entire volume.
Another important factor for finding the truth is pin pointing which factual observations are true in a critical analysis. Simple observation does not provide truth, only the fact of what was observed. As investigators you must ask yourself what the implications of an observation are, what is actually occurring. Using secondary investigative methods, separate from observations, can help validate these claims. Another way to put this is to derive inconsistencies in observations. Ultimately many different witnesses will give different accounts of someone’s appearance, the way a crime was committed, or some other aspect. Taking the responsibility of sorting through different observations can be a timely task, but important to constructing the truth of a situation.
Have You Heard Of Sherlock Holmes
Many historical detectives have become experts in conducting reconstruction of a crime by the way of sorting through inconsistencies and facts from witness observations. There is a story where 1860’s San Francisco detective Isaiah Lees locked himself in a room and was able to reproduce a criminal portrait from a man who had appeared in only disguise. This ability must be trained, but it is ultimately worth the training. Reconstruction of the truth of a situation is the quintessential idea of critical analysis. It is completed by creating alternative hypothesis and then working to support and disprove your own hypothesis until the truth is elicited.
Critical analysis and finding the truth among the facts can be a timely task, and take a lifetime to craft the skills required. (I would actually argue every investigator never perfects critical analysis, only becomes better over time.) Finding the truth demands analyzation of time frames and observations all in an effort to prove and disprove yourself. It is important to acknowledge when you are wrong so that you can find the truth. Critical analysis must remove all pride from the case at hand and be willing to admit mistakes. You have to find the truth by putting exceptional thought into the facts that have been presented to you.
The law enforcement officer should be curious enough to learn about the functioning of who may have difficulty in putting in the necessary time to learn how a critical analysis is constructed. The necessity of understanding the before, middle, and after, is an essential step in determining how relevant the before the crime, the middle of the crime, and now after the crime.
Learn to allow yourself to imagine how a new paradigm i.e. a critical analysis, develops where the officer can view the processes as it becomes a method and technique where the officer can determine just how he/she will be able to observe the significance of paradigm.