Policing 101 teaches us that when it comes to the management of witnesses, it is a best practice to keep them separated until each has had an opportunity to speak with investigators. Sound logic in a lot of cases as it avoids the potential for contamination of their statements, their evidence. In many cases police witnesses do not have to be eye witnesses. In homicide cases, most people who provide information are actually providing evidence of the back story. Witnesses may have information around the last time they saw the victim alive or the circumstances in the victim’s life like problems they may have been having with people or criminality they may have been involved in. With that said, what happens when several of our witnesses are also victims of the crime? Should the rules learned in Policing 101 still hold true?
How do we know we made the right decision? Imagine the outcome if discretion wasn’t applied or picture the headline in tomorrow’s news. In this same scenario, each child after being told the awful truth was left to deal with it on their own in a room sobbing and wailing with a stranger they had never met before.
Does the use of discretion this way affect the investigation in the short term? It does. But regardless of this fact, in this case and those like it, putting others before ourselves trumps everything and I am blessed to work with a group of people that see it that way too.
Thanks for checking back in. We’ll have another post next week.