Professional Interviewing Conservation officers maintain a special relationship with a complex network of people that is truly unlike any other law enforcement profession. The first day’s instruction is dedicated solely to fostering public relations through many proven rapport building techniques such as body language analysis, an empathetic approach, discussing the stark differences between an “a” game warden approach and “the” game warden way and self-monitoring personal behavior. These U.S. Fish & Wildlife cadets are being tested in their personal self-monitoring tendencies because those who consistently know what their body language is saying at any given time tend to have a calming effect on others and situations. These skills will ultimately play a crucial role in more productive interviews, interrogations, and limiting citizen complaints.
The Initial Approach Often it is our first contact with the person that dictates how it will go. An officer can actually “make” a situation go bad through displaying negative body language, words and especially tone of voice. One of the easiest ways to develop an instant rapport at a distance would be though a slight wave as waving is simply a long distance way of shaking hands. So why not nonverbally shake hands with people before even talking with them? I studied the return of waves from over 400 anglers and found there were many hidden reasons for returning or not returning a wave to a uniformed game warden. The overarching reason rested solely on the officer which we discuss in depth during the course.
Truth and Lie Detection Subtle body movements such as touching the face, coughing, sighs, swallowing, rapid eye blinks, eye breaks, etc. occurring on-time with a warden’s question, can indicate the person is unsettled about something or is indeed lying. These areas, known as probing points, are internal thoughts that evidence themselves not through words but through the body, thus indicating a need to further explore that topic. Embedded in this course is a four-hour Practical Lie Detection section where volunteers appear on videotape. At least nine ways tohelp distinguish truthfulness from a person’s demeanor are discussed during this class.
Specialized Game Warden Interrogation Methods You think you have him when he takes you to a deer under his bed? Not so as he explains how his buddy set him up hiding it there then calling the warden. We are faced with these kinds of far out defenses all the time and sometimes the court sees right through them. Often though they work so why take the chance of an acquittal. Because without a confession a lot of times there are good chances of a not guilty or at least a lesser sentence when we don’t have his own words to mitigate his defense.
You will learn detailed instruction in obtaining admissions and confessions in these types of crimes and the nuances of conducting the interrogation in our normal setting e.g. in a barn, a farmer’s kitchen table, river bank, duck blind, goose pit, tailgate, tree stand, boat, sitting on a log, etc. We will also discuss traditional interrogation room setting for those times when you are at a police department, park office, etc. Participants are offered opportunities to engage in mock classroom interrogations centered on relevant enforcement situations.
Gestures Revealing State of Mind Better be careful of this dude. He’s holding a very familar gesture with a very precise meaning. Know what it is? But, there are variations of this gesture, small ones, that mean the same thing. We discuss a multitude of state of mind gestures in the course. When you leave class you’ll be safer.