After the Webinar: Building Detention Intel the Right Way. Q&A with Dr. David Grantham

Webinar presenter Dr. David Grantham answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Building Detention Intel the Right Way.  Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: Can you restate what CRAP stands for? 

Dr. David Grantham: I should’ve had a slide on this one, just had a feeling that that would come forward. I don’t just run around making acronyms, although it’s a fun little game. If you’ve worked with informants or sources, the rule of thumb is most, if not all, sources fall under four categories and the acronym is MICE. They are either motivated by money, by ideology, by compromise – which means they’ve been arrested or they’ve been found out and now they’re being flipped because they don’t want to get into trouble or their ego. If you know of the oh that, you wouldn’t know, the name escapes me at the moment but the FBI agent who spied for the Russians for decades, he didn’t spend hardly any of the money he was given. His was pure, for the most part was ego-driven. He wanted to feel appreciated. So, MICE is a kind of the intel community way of categorizing sources. I took that and said, what about inmates because they’re in a confined environment. They’re already in custody. They’re facing charges. They have different motivations. What are they? When I was told they’re full of crap, about a year later, I started realizing that they kind of fell into four categories, and ironically enough, it’s called CRAP. So, CRAP stands for the case. They want help in their case. They literally, let’s say they have a drug possession charge under a gram but they know where a house full of cocaine is at. They’re saying I will give you that house as long as you call the district attorney and tell them that I did this for you and then we explain to them, you know, we don’t make the call the decision on your case. But we can certainly advise them on what you provided and whether it was actionable. So, they want help with their case which isn’t always the situation. Too many people don’t talk to inmates because they assume, they’re only going to help on their case. That’s not at all or they want help on parole if they’re in state custody. That’s not always the case. So, C of CRAP is the case. A is atone. They literally, and I know this may sound crazy, but I’d say probably 20 to 30% of the time, we have inmates coming in and say, “I messed up. This is my way of giving back.” I hear it all the time. They honestly say this is my way of giving. Some of them will say, I’m going to give you this, but I’m going to hold back on this and I say, hey` you’re in the driver’s seat. I’m not going to press you for that. You help how you want to help. So, they atone (audio issue 1:03:18- 1:03:48 ) …purchase additional things and they call that putting money on my book. Someone can give you $10 to your jail account and you can spend it on different things that you can purchase inside the jail. Revenge sometimes is they say, “They would help me and they’re not”. Atonement, obviously is A. P is personal. They have a personal reason. Oftentimes, you’ll hear my son’s birthday is coming up, my mother is sick. For all these reasons I want to supply information. Maybe it’s kind of a mixture of atonement and personal. Sometimes, it’s a case-personal mixture where they say, I want to help to get out to help my mom. We consider that not so much case driven but personal. His primary motivation is personal to get out and help his mom. So, CRAP being the case, revenge, atone, and personal.



Audience Question: Angela wanted to know if you could repeat the name of the resource that provides a step by step interview questions for gang-involved arrestees?

Dr. David Grantham: Oh, yes. Well, there isn’t a specific resource. You want what’s called collection guides. There are a lot of them. You probably could Google collection guides, intelligence collection guides. You can probably find that, really, what you’re looking for is priority collection requirements. That’s kind of the official term for what are we looking for. So, if you search for priority collection requirements or collection guides, you will get examples. We need to develop our own. So, I don’t want you to think that I’m – there really isn’t a specific guide but there’s a lot of organizations that already have them. This is where I put in once. I won’t re-invent the wheel. This is number one, I don’t re-invent the wheel. Find an organization that has likely had similar priorities as you. Seek them out. I did that with DPS, I went down to Austin, Texas. I said, “Here are our priorities. Do you have collection guides for these priorities?” And, sure enough, they were like, here you go. We developed them some years ago. They worked out, perfectly tailored some questions to them. I’ve worked out great, but that’s what you want to look for, priority collection requirements or collection guides. Seek out those organizations. You can go to the FBI if you are law enforcement. Go to your state police. Go to the closest Fusion Center that you have. All of those organizations will likely have them that you can literally copy and paste, and all they are, for those of you, again to re-iterate to those that are new, it’s questions, step by step, and they break them down. If you’re talking to the finance guy for the Mexican cartel, It gives you very specific questions. If you’re talking to the enforcer, it gives you specific questions. If it’s just a general gang member, it gives you questions. So, you don’t have to go on there going, OK, what do I ask? I don’t even know how to talk to them. This intelligence guide and I’ve been on intelligence for a long time, I still, before almost every interview, if I’m being honest, because sometimes I forget – I pull up that collection guide.  I refresh my memory. I say, what specifically, should I be asking? Those questions are an enormous help because then you can go in there and begin asking questions. They fulfill priorities for the intelligence community. Your information becomes consumable. It becomes helpful for the intelligence community as a whole because you’re not going in there and just collecting anything. It’s not that, you know, throw it to the wall, see what sticks. You have specific priorities. It helps tremendously.



Audience Question: David, so picking up on something you just said. What are those day-to-day activities that people should be doing? 

Dr. David Grantham: The day-to-day activities. I’m going to speak as if our situation was the case study and you can extract from that how you think it would apply to your organization. When it comes to jail, one of the first things you have to do is identify your information that you want to collect, and that will help you identify who you need to go talk to, right. So, with that in mind, you walk into the jail, and we can literally go down to booking. This is where everyone’s brought in, they’re getting pictures taken, and our gang officer will look for specific tattoos. I get in there and I said, listen, we have a big case, it’s Aryan circle, most likely white males with these types of tattoos and he will begin looking. We’ll have booking clerks also looking if there’s any self-admission, they actually come in because you don’t want to house rival gang members together. They’ll kill each other. So, you have to be very careful with housing. So, there is a gang identification process, a legitimate one that has to happen in the jail, but I’ll sit in a room while they’re doing it. I’ll say, “Oh, look at that. Aryan Circle”, I might approach them and say, “Hey, listen, you’re not in trouble but I’m interested in knowing if you’d be willing to talk to me a little bit about, you know, some of the activity.” Sometimes they’ll say, yeah, sometimes like, nope, not going to talk about it. Other times, the gang officer will be approached himself and they’ll say, hey man, I know you’re the gang officer, I’d love to talk to you. Okay, he’ll call me and say I’ve got someone who wants to talk. What that shows you is that just being available is really the key on the day-to-day. Be available. Sometimes we’ll walk in the pods with the gang officer. Now, if you’re in intelligence and you don’t want to be seen or you don’t want to be spotted because what you want to be careful of is you don’t want to be known as the intelligence guy. Then when any inmates interacting with you, they can automatically get pointed as the snitch. So, you need to have the first line of people that are expected to interact with inmates like the gang officer, and then you might approach others once they’ve been identified. But really the day-to-day is that. Also, fielding calls or messages, that has become a bulk of our work. I prefer proactive work by identifying, but I’m not going to turn off people that are volunteering via a message saying, I want to talk. We want to give them the opportunity. So, we get a message. Inmate says I would like to talk about X. We began doing research on that inmate, to make sure we understand what their access is. We’ll talk about this when we analyze the information, they provide in the third webinar, but we’ll be looking at their access, who they are criminal history, then we’ll look at the collection guide. We’ll literally book a room, walk over to the jail, sit down with this guy or this female, and ask them, start talking. “Hey, you sent this message. What do you want to provide?” It’s a little bit more involved with the elicitation and I’ll just go in their empty-handed. If I had a whole another webinar on elicitation, I could do that. I do think, Justice Clearinghouse offers that or has. So, I’d encourage you to take a look at that. That’s how you begin interacting with them, on a day-to-day level. Now, there are security concerns, like I mentioned. Make sure that you’re not obvious as intel. Try not to look like a cop. Maybe dress like someone with a suit and tie. So, you look like a doctor. You look like a lawyer. Take certain steps to protect the person that’s going to provide you information. When they’re called down from their pod, we never, ever say it’s an interview. We never, ever say it’s for intelligence ever. We will mix up our locations. So that, as they call the pod, say, this person needs to come down to level one, or level three, or to the doctor’s office. We make sure that we try to keep it different. That way, it doesn’t become routine because inmates are – they are very smart. When you’re in one location for a long time. Anything out of the ordinary is spotted quickly. So, you do have to take steps like that to ensure that you’re protecting them versus providing information. So that’s, that’s really the day-to-day. Then once they have provided information, we come back and we begin writing it up. We’ll talk about in the next webinar, all the documentation, everything that we do to document, and then we’ll call the district attorney. Because I want to make sure they’re involved, and they are aware. Almost always, the attorneys are thankful. They’re helpful. We’re on the same team. And, frankly, if someone wants to provide information, I’m going to do my darndest to help them, and then let the prosecutor decide.



Audience Question: Trent wanted to know if any of the audience wanted to learn more about intelligence, getting better at gathering intel, etc. Are there books or training that you would recommend to just kind of do a deep dive into this topic, in general? 

Dr. David Grantham: I would recommend the third webinar for sure. I’m looking at my bookshelf right now, on the other end of my office. There are several books. One of them is by the Chief Negotiator of the FBI who has since retired and written a book. He runs the Black Swan group. He wrote a book about negotiation. I would highly recommend that book. You could probably just Google The Negotiation. Actually, sitting right here Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, great book. It’s not even on intelligence collection. It’s about negotiation but the strategies he uses and how you talk to people is very similar to what we use. The other one, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. That one is a great primer on intelligence collection. I highly recommend that one. If you’re looking to develop your unit. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, I have the sixth edition, just a fantastic walkthrough on how you do that. Those were the two I would highlight for now, but there really is a multitude of intelligence books out there on the intelligence profession. Obviously, mine deals more with the military, but I talk about intelligence collection as art in there. So, I spend a lot of time, in a fun way, not in a boring policy way, describing how you apply intelligence on the ground. So, if you’re interested in HUMINT how you do that, and my story, and how we did it in the Middle East, and how you do it in general, my book is I would highly recommend reading that one, and it’s fun. As you said, it’s not a policy book. It’s a story, so it’s enjoyable.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Building Detention Intel the Right Way.  

Additional Resources
11 months ago
The Center of Emerging Threats
When we think about the criminal justice process, what is perceived to be the endgame is the convict […]
2 years ago
Officer Survival for Correctional and Detention Officers
We are exposed to violent incidents that happen when we watch and read the news. For those working i […]
2 years ago
Intelligence-Driven Strategies: Creating an Integrated Approach for Justice Agencies
The shift towards intelligence based practices rose post-9/11. From being a largely response-focused […]
Establishing a Gun Crime Program
4 years ago
Infographic: Establishing a Crime Gun Intelligence Program
Based on the webinar, check out this infographic that highlights what a crime gun investigative p […]