In 2019 in Florida alone, more than 3,000 individuals were killed in traffic crashes, compared to just 600+ who are murdered. With this in mind, it is more likely that our community members be involved in these vehicular types of cases, thus it requires more law enforcement manpower to ensure that the public is educated on the risks and to respond to and investigate these incidents.
This session’s instructor is John Schultz of the Florida Highway Patrol. He serves as a Master Corporal with the Florida Highway Patrol’s Traffic Homicide Advanced Investigation & Reconstruction Team where he utilizes scientific advancements in policing to ensure proper dispositions of investigations. He’s held different leadership roles in his 28-year law enforcement career.
Points he discussed on this webinar are:
- The basics of investigative philosophy that emphasize the investigator’s accountability and role in finding the answers to questions surrounding a vehicular crash incident.
- The legal boundaries in terms of laws, policies, and processes that investigators operate by.
- The complex and challenging nature of vehicular type investigations and misconceptions surrounding the frequency of these cases.
- The investigator’s role in writing the last chapter of a crash victim’s life based on the outcomes of the investigation.
- The five Ps that guide investigators working in vehicular cases.
- People – establishing collaborative relationships with partner agencies, LE units that support investigations and resource providers, and working with victims, witnesses and suspects.
- Purpose – to be guided by a sense of purpose and passion to bring justice and provide answers to victims and their families.
- Plan – using tools and strategies to organize the investigative approach and ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently.
- Progress – embracing innovations in technology and processes that can assist investigations and adapting to changes be it with the people, processes, and policies or statutes.
- Presumptions – practicing awareness of bias that may influence perspectives and keeping an open mind to any information from witnesses.
- The most common on-scene distractions that investigators encounter and must mitigate.
- Internal distractions in the form of developments that impact the profession, lack of organization or process plan, and personal issues that impact one’s performance.
- External distractions as inclement weather that makes investigation challenging, family members of those involved in the crash showing up, and secondary crashes that result from the initial incident.
- Factors to take into account for effective investigation
- Think criminal and conduct due diligence.
- Rule out typical impairment issues and document these immediately.
- Avoid tunnel vision by using guides to help with the investigation.
- Stay organized by utilizing tools for evidence collection, documentation, and other investigative processes.
- How the evidence funnel can make or break a case, the importance of being as thorough as possible, ensuring the integrity of evidence, and leveraging all means available to look for evidence overlap.
- A brief look into the investigation strategy.
- Differentiating interviews from interrogation and guidelines on conducting investigative interviews effectively.
- Case examples were provided demonstrating how video and supplementary evidence in vehicular cases were able to build a robust case that ended up in convictions
- Questions from the audience were about Electronic Data Recorders (EDR), its presence in specific vehicles, and using it as a source of evidence.
This webinar is part of a series:
- Part 1: On-Scene Investigation (this webinar)
- Part 2: Forensics is Our Friend
- Dec 2: The Prosecution Rests
Resources and Handouts
- “10!! Outstanding presentation John. Learned alot, wish we had more time to go through the cases. Looking forward to Parts 2 and 3!!” — Barbara
- “I value the individual perspectives of investigators. The tips learned from each investigation.” — Christopher
- “I like the simplified Stages of Investigation presented.” — Jonathan
- “A very methodical approach that provided an excellent foundation for this type of investigation.” — Lauchlin
- “I really liked the interaction and it was easy to follow along with the presenter.” — Sam