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Our Community represents many different views and opinions facing the numerous issues in this industry.
Please feel free to comment and post on various topics facing the Loss Prevention Community today.
Diversity of opinions and views are always encouraged.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Signs of a False Confession...Blog article by Angela Nino with WZ !!!

First off, thank you to the 55K visitors who have stopped by our blog.  We appreciate the support.

A false confession is an admission of guilt in which the confessor is not responsible for the crime.  The Innocence Project states that “in about 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty.”  They further state, “these cases show that confessions are not always prompted by internal knowledge or actual guilt, but are sometimes motivated by external influences.”

There are three categories of false confessions:

·         Voluntary false confessions are given freely.  Sometimes they do so to cover for the person responsible, or to gain attention. 
·         Compliant false confessions are given to avoid stressful situations, avoid punishment, or gain an implied or promised reward.  Sometimes people confess to escape what feels like a helpless situation.
·         Internalized false confessions are those in which the person actually believes they committed the act. 

The WZ non-confrontational method is updated regularly to address concerns of potential liability to clients.  This includes training and education regarding the dangers of someone making a false confession.  There must be standards set for interview and interrogation and for this reason the highest designation for interviewers, Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI), has an entire module dedicated to understanding and preventing false confessions.  
A false confession is my greatest concern as an interviewer.  I can’t think of anything more devastating than ruining someone’s life.  Every interviewer has a responsibility to safeguard against false confessions.  There are several red flags consistent with false confessions and understanding these danger signs can help you avoid them. 

1.     Believing it Can’t Happen
As an instructor of interview and interrogation techniques, occasionally people say things that make me want to kick them out of the profession.  One of those things is along the lines of, “I don’t believe people falsely confess.  How could you believe someone would admit to something they didn’t do?” My response to them is generally, “Well, you mean besides all the proof that it happens?” DNA evidence has exonerated many wrongfully convicted and has proven false confessions exist.  If you don’t believe it, you are in danger of obtaining a false confession. 

2.     Believing it Can’t Happen to You 
How on earth could our intuition be wrong?  How could our investigation be wrong?  When we feel something is true, it’s hard to believe the opposite even when presented with evidence to the contrary.  Do you think other people’s intuition is right all the time?  If you don’t believe your intuition can be wrong, you are in danger of obtaining a false confession. 

3.     100% Confession Rate
Just this year I had someone tell me they have a 100% confession rate.  I’m fairly certain this individual was attempting to impress me and/or the class; however, it did the exact opposite.  I was not impressed.  I don’t care who you are, if you do this job long enough, chances are you will talk to an innocent person.  If you believe everyone you talk to is guilty just because you think it, you are in danger of obtaining a false confession.

4.      “If that’s what you want me to say, I’ll say it”
NO!  The answer to that is “NO”!  We want the truth.  Don’t take this bait.  You may be tempted to say “yes” to this question during an interview or interrogation.  We want admissions, if they are true.  We want rollovers, if they are true.  We want restitution, for the true amount for which they are responsible.  If you respond to this statement with “yes”, you are in danger of obtaining a false confession.

5.     You Hear the Words, “I must be getting set up”
Dr. Richard Ofshe, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Berkley, spoke to professional interviewers at the 2013 Elite Training Day and advised those attending of something he has heard in cases where people falsely confessed to crimes.  Keep in mind the totality of the case, but if you hear the words, “I must be getting set up”, you could be in danger of obtaining a false confession. 

6.     False Evidence
While it is legal in this country to present false evidence, many company policies forbid it.  False evidence can lead to a false confession.  An individual’s perception of the strength of evidence that exists is what may get people to confess.  If you present false evidence, you could be in danger of obtaining a false confession. 

7.     Promise Leniency
Those of us who work in the criminal justice system have a different perception and understanding of reality than people who only know what they see on TV.  Someone with minimal experience with the criminal justice system may find an interview or interrogation intimidating.  Unsure of how to handle the situation, they may rely on what they have seen on TV.  When promised leniency, an individual may see this as their only way out.  If you promise leniency, you are in danger of obtaining a false confession. 

I welcome your thoughts.
If you are interested in reading more on this topic:

LPDT, LLC offers the only E-Learning training for Retail Loss Prevention at www.LossPreventionAcademy.com.  Check out our awareness posters for shortage and safety at www.LPPosters.com. You can follow us on Twitter under LPACADEMYcom and Facebook under Loss Prevention Academy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loss Prevention Academy to get a new look...

First off, thank you to the 55,000 folks who have stopped by to view our blog.  You can also stay connected with us in our Linkedin group.....

https://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=4170938&trk=my_groups-tile-flipgrp.  Please join.

The Loss Prevention Academy is currently being re-worked with some significant changes to happen. Easier check out process along with a cleaner look.

The largest change is the addition of additional online training courses to support the core Loss Prevention ones we offer now.  Interested in a McAfee Institute course?  We will be offering a 15% off code for any course on their site.  Core retail training needed?  We will be offering 10% off all Retail Training Solutions online courses.  And more....OSHA training, Business Skills and HR/ER training will be available.  These additions will allow us to be a "Total solutions" trainer for the retail world.

WZ for HR/ER is coming.  We are busy modifying the course for this industry.  Stay tuned.

So, that is it.  Some exciting changes to come for the Loss Prevention Academy.


LPDT, LLC offers the only E-Learning training for Retail Loss Prevention at www.LossPreventionAcademy.com. Check out our awareness posters for shortage and safety at www.LPPosters.com. You can follow us on Twitter under LPACADEMYcom and Facebook under Loss Prevention Academy.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Prepare Like a Pro...Guest Blog by Brett Ward with WZ !!!

Prepare Like a Pro – 5 Things to Consider During Investigatory Prep Practices
By Brett L. Ward, CFI

First and foremost, the fact that there appears to be somewhat of a “line in the sand” between the Human Resources and the Security Divisions is many things including sad, unnecessary, archaic, wasteful and wrong.  Both divisions are equally important.  Both divisions play an important and necessary role in the success of any organization, so   both divisions must be on the same team for organizations to succeed.  The one thing I’ve noticed more than anything is what they seem to have in common:  a feeling that tenure inside their respective departments replaces the need for a thorough investigatory prep process (long before speaking to victims, witnesses and suspects).  After a speaking engagement at another SHRM conference recently, we were asked to put together a Webinar that focuses on this critical topic, as well as utilize this as the next Blog topic.  Well, mission accomplished on both fronts.  There are so many things to consider prior to an actual investigatory interview, but let’s start with just five…….

1 – What resources can I use to learn who my subject is?  Professional investigators understand that the more they know about the person with whom they are about to have a conversation, the better chance they have of painting a picture as to what potentially caused the act in question to take place.  We live in such a social media society that it’s impossible to hide anymore.  What people place on their sites, both personal and professional, can be baffling and alarming.  Simple search engines can take you to specific avenues of information to help formulate a laundry list of potential reasons as to why your subjects find themselves in their situations to begin with.  Don’t take shortcuts here – attempt to learn a minimum of 5 things about your subject prior to your conversation.

2 – What disciplined strategy am I going to use for my interview?  The best investigators on the planet are not that way by accident.  They share several characteristics. They are:

  • Well-versed on documented strategy, and disciplined enough to utilize
  • Constantly working on improving their arsenal of educational resources
  • Motivated not by confession, but by professionalism and execution of technique
  • Flexible enough to know that one path alone is not sufficient
  •  Intelligent enough to know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, is an excuse to not grow
  • Willing to seek guidance from other professionals on their chosen investigative path

Pros do not “wing it.”  Are they good at going East and West during a conversation? Absolutely.  But they are always utilizing disciplined strategy, thus closing significant loopholes of exposure during a deposition by an attorney attacking their education and credibility in the field.
3 – What rationalizations or guilt transferring mechanisms will be productive?  It is quite clear that every reputable strategy on the domestic market is built around the art of providing empathy in sensitive communication.  Proper execution in this crucial stage is difficult (if done properly) due to the necessity of improvisation.  A huge weakness in our industry is the ability to attempt to rationalize an act most likely committed maliciously under the pretense of an empathetic tone.  As consultants, what we hear are stories after (robotic) stories of peer pressure, opportunity and financial deprivation. 

The truth is, not everyone out there commits errors in judgment due to these factors, nor are they willing to wear that in public. Stretch yourself here: attempt to improvise based on what you learn during your interviews and paint a picture by which they are actually motivated.  Saying things like, “I got caught up in the wrong crowd myself as a kid” as a peer pressure story is simply ineffective and underachieving.

4 – What types of objections should I expect from the deceptive, and how will I counter so as not to lose my credibility?  Yet another area of weakness in our industry is the ability to be quick and definitive when the conversation goes south.  It’s amazing how witty we are 20 seconds to late.  How many times in conversations at home do you find yourself in “negotiations” where an “undiplomatic hand grenade” is dropped in your lap by your significant other and it’s not until you get in your car and drive away that you’re able to come up with the perfect comeback? When we’re in scenarios where the interviewee most likely will defend their position, a little foresight and preparation may come in handy.  If you’re ever verbally “sparring”, shall we say, and the voice in your head says, “I’m not sure I should say this even though it sure would feel good and is darn sure accurate” – well that’s what we in the industry call “a clue”.  You know the incident in question, as well as your subject due to the prep process – correct?  You should have already anticipated that they’re going to say, “I would never do that because of _____”.  You should already have at least 3 professional responses ready to go so as not to lose your credibility in this crucial area of this negotiation. (We do not recommend this approach at home, as “witty” tends to equate to significant periods of silence, exposure to consistent looks that border of threat level red death stares, and opportunities to utilize guest living space until the next assignment in the great beyond).

5 – Key topics necessary to ensure proper execution of strategy.
Some of the areas of interest we are always “guestimating” prior to a conversation include the following (and many more):

Motive – Attempt to consider yourself in their shoes.  Ask yourself, “What could have caused me to make this same mental error in judgment, or at the minimum, reasons and excuses that I would be willing to listen to as to why this occurred?”   Write down those key themes as they potentially are going to be sincere-appearing rationalizations. Please ensure any personal stories don’t damage your credibility though – don’t get TOO personal.

Hurdle – What do you think are the biggest fears this person may have that you’re going to have to identify and overcome in our conversation?  Loss of employment? Image? Retaliation?  Start working on communication that will assist in painting the picture that compromise and cooperation are the best path.  Remind them – “If the final decision had already been made, why would we be in here having this conversation?  Let’s take advantage of this time together so we can move the message forward in as positive light as possible.”

Accusation Styles – Why do a great negotiation and blow it in the end?  How easy is it to move people to a point where they actually are ready to discuss this little problem and toss out a, “Why did you do it?”  The fact is, that’s a fairly easy one to choose the correct answer to.  Q - “Um, Mr. Ward, can you think of any reason why a quick swab of your fingertips sent to the State lab would show super glue residue on all 10 of your fingertips even though you’re claiming you had nothing to do with the break-in attempt of the evidence locker?” A – “I’m going with ‘No’ on that one Officer”.  If we’re at a point where an accusation is appropriate, we’re assuming that the “If” is a matter of record, and the “Why” is the only unanswered question.  So let’s get the right questions ready to go prior to the conversation so no mental lapses in judgment occur at the finish line. 

I probably lost a good friend a few weekends ago when out at dinner with our beautiful better halves, I leaned over to him and whispered, “You and I are going to swing the sticks tomorrow so plan on 18 holes minimum”.  He, assuming this was a negotiation, whispered back, “I probably shouldn’t, bro – been traveling a lot”.  I then explained to him the difference between a statement of fact and a negotiation, at which point he looked at his bride and said, “Do you mind if I go play a round of golf with BW tomorrow?”  Sadly, after years of apparently lost mentorship, I had to explain in front of all present that the question was not, “Do you mind….”, but should have been, “When was the last time I went and played a round of golf with BW?”, at which point she would have hesitated. We then both would have exaggerated, “It’s been way too long”, thus adding the element of guilt to the scenario and increasing our chances of a positive response.  For some reason he felt betrayed by my correction of his obvious error in front of our wives.  I was not under the impression that my inner circle was so sensitive, and sadly so unprepared.  Get back in the habit or prepping for your conversations and reap the benefits of added confidence. 

LPDT, LLC offers the only E-Learning training for Retail Loss Prevention at www.LossPreventionAcademy.com. Check out our awareness posters for shortage and safety at www.LPPosters.com. You can follow us on Twitter under LPACADEMYcom and Facebook under Loss Prevention Academy.

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