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The Effectiveness of your Investigations has a LOT to do with your IQ

IQ

Yes, if you want to be effective during your investigations, reach accurate and timely conclusions, and most of all identify the truth of what happened within your inquiry, you have to improve your IQ. I’m not talking about your intelligence quotient though, I’m talking about your Interview Quality. The quality of your interviews has a direct impact on the quality of your investigations. Make sure you and your personnel are trained to conduct effective investigative interviews & criminal interrogations, assess the credibility of verbal and behavioral information, and extract accurate information and actionable intelligence from people. To improve these skills and more, visit www.truthsleuth.com or email your inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

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Lifting the Veil of Deception

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A study I came across on New Scientist found that people were better at identifying if a woman was lying or not when she was wearing a Hijab or Niqab. (They didn't use the Burka but I think that would have bee really good to do!) The thought is that the people making the assessments of credibility had to pay more attention to the language used rather than facial cues during the interview. What's interesting, in 2013 a Judge in the UK ordered a female charged with a crime to remove her veil because she said it "was necessary to see her face to assess how truthful she was." Maybe we should work to get more training in Investigative Statement Analysis?    

Although this research is interesting, and I agree that paying attention to language is the most effective ways to conduct an investigative interview and assess for credibility, I don't agree with their conclusion that this can be an automated process. There will ALWAYS be a need for an effective, well-trained interviewer, not only to identify deception but to get the truth! 

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Importance of Keeping an Open Mind

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We all know the excitement and the feeling of a difficult case coming together. You may have started out with a "who dunnit" and now you are at the point of "I think YOU dunnit!" Evidence has been collected and is being processed, witnesses have provided valuable information, circumstances are pointing you in the direction of Mr. Suspect, and now you have been assigned to question Mr. Suspect about his involvement in this caper.

As you proceed with the interview...keep an open mind. If you go into an interview with the belief that the person is guilty or with the intent to gain a confession or with the thought that the person is going to lie about their involvement, anything the person does or says will be filtered through that belief system, and whatever does not align with it will be discarded or not even perceived! You will look for and find only the things that line up with your belief in the person's guilt, which means you will miss other information the person may be telling you.

The goal in an investigative interview or criminal interrogation is to find the truth, period. By keeping an open mind you are staying open to all of the possibilities, and through your persistent and strategic questioning, those other possibilities will likely be getting eliminated, leading you in the proper direction and case resolution. It is important to take everything into consideration and let the interview and the resulting information lead you to the proper conclusion, not you lead the interview to the conclusion you believe to be correct. Keep an open mind.

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I've always tried to tell the truth...

Liars have a difficult time saying "I told the truth" or "I didn't lie." Lying is a deliberate attempt to deceive someone. If somebody didn't lie and they are questioned about it, they can easily say "I didn't lie" or if they are asked if they told the truth, they can easily say "Yes." However, when Hillary Clinton is asked "Have you always told the truth" she responds, "I've always tried to." What does that mean, 'tried'? Tried means attempted but failed, such as "I tried to mow the lawn but it started to rain", or "I tried to deposit money in the account, but the bank was closed." In other words, what you tried to do didn't happen. So we have to question why Mrs. Clinton cannot simply say "Yes." She also says, "I've always tried to, always, always." When she says that, she shrugs her shoulders, which is a sign of uncertainty, and also shakes her head "no" subtly which contradicts what she is saying. Pressed further by the interviewer, she says "I don't believe I ever have, I don't believe I ever will." Again, each time she shrugs her shoulder in uncertainty and her language reflects uncertainty as well. As investigative interviewers, and as I teach in my training courses, our goal is to get the truth. When we see evasive language or conflicting verbal/non-verbal behavior, those are flags for the interviewer that something in not right, and that is the area to dig into during the interview.  

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Interview-Interrogation Mindset Change

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One of the major aspects of training police officers when it comes to conducting interviews and interrogations is addressing and altering their mindset prior to conducting an interview or interrogation. Within the police culture, and particularity within the United States, the mindset of an officer heading into an interrogation with a suspect is often that of getting a confession from the individual. At first glance, people may think..."Well, yeah. Isn't that their job? And also, doesn't Jack Bauer on the television show "24" do that all the time?" Yes he does, but that does not work in real life. Innocent people have falsely confessed to crimes they didn't commit for one reason or another. The main goal of an interview or interrogation, or simply investigative interviewing, is to gather information about the incident under investigation. Whether an investigator talks with a victim, witness, informant or suspect, the goal is to gather as much information from that individual as they have. The second goal is to assess the information for veracity, or truthfulness. Looking at the definition of "mindset" above, if the goal of an investigator is to get a confession, the underlying assumption is one of guilt. The investigators actions and questions will be influenced by that belief and directed towards that goal, and their understanding and feedback of the individual during the interrogation will be filtered through that mindset as well. However, if the mindset shifts to that of believing the person and gathering as much information from them as possible, while still understanding that people can and do lie, the questions the investigator will ask will be directed towards that goal of gathering information, and the information and feedback from the individual will reflect that as well. This concept and the investigative mindset is expanded upon within BELIEF Interviewing training. Click the link to BELIEF Interviewing to learn a little more about this concept. It is true in life as it is within the context of investigative interviewing, that your beliefs will effect your actions, which will effect your results!

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