Intuitive Policing & Deception Detection

intuition

I read an article in an FBI Bulletin on "Intuitive Policing: Emotional/Rational Decision Making in Law Enforcement." The authors discuss instances where police officers act or react to a situation without knowing exactly why they did what they did, but in hindsight their actions were accurate. They provided an example of an officer doing a buy-bust operation for narcotics sales on the street and how the officer identified a particular individual as having a gun, without seeing one or having information he was carrying one. He just felt he was carrying a gun and was unable to articulate why he felt that way until after the incident while writing his report. Subtle details such as the individual had a long sleeve shirt pulled out over his pants on a very warm day, he got up from the curb and adjusted his waistband, and he turned away from the officer and began walking away and grabbed the right side of his waistband as if securing some object. These observations were made so rapidly the officer was not able to say exactly what he saw, only state his conclusion that the individual was carrying a gun, which was correct...he had a .357 revolver in his waistband. After the stress of the incident was over, thinking back on the incident he was able to accurately recall details which led him to his belief the guy was carrying a weapon. It was a pre-conscious recognition of danger, and the authors discuss on a neurological level how this occurs. In my experience, this occurs in assessments of veracity as well, such as in situations where an officer hears a story from an individual or reads a victims statement and has this intuitive feeling that something is wrong. They may not know why they feel that way, but they know that something is just not right with this story or statement. Investigative Statement Analysis brings to light WHY the officer or investigator feels that way, and through training they can effectively identify and address it.

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