December 6, 2018 | Barb Carr

Evidence Collection & Interviewing Tip: 4 Characteristics of an Expert Investigator

Choosing professionals who have the characteristics of an expert investigator is important to a successful investigation. To become skilled at evidence collection and interviewing, certain traits are needed as a foundation. Here are four of those foundational characteristics.

  1. Curiosity. A strong desire to learn about the incident and collect evidence necessary to answer the question, “what happened?” Note, the question isn’t, “why did it happen?” An investigator should be curious enough to wonder about and investigate the “what” without jumping to the “why.”
  2. Integrity. Collecting evidence to support facts requires a focus on truth. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for evidence that supports our theories and discount evidence that doesn’t. However, biased evidence leads to fault finding and won’t prevent future incidents.
  3. Perseverance. Are the witnesses telling different stories? Are the witnesses telling stories that seem a little too rehearsed? Was the scene cleaned up before any photos or evidence could be collected? Does the paperwork collected look a little too perfect? The task of evidence collection can be tedious and things don’t always line up with the sequence of events. Perseverance is key.
  4. Humility. A good investigator isn’t a know-it-all. He or she is someone who knows when to ask another for expertise, and to defer to another who is offering a credible observation that may be conflicting with his/her own.

These are just four characteristics to look for. Can you think of any more and why they would be important? Leave your comments below.

To learn more about improving your evidence collection skills, register for our Pre-Summit course, “TapRooT® Evidence Collection and Interviewing Techniques to Sharpen Investigation Skills,” March 11-12, 2019. We also can come to your facility and teach this course as a 1-day course. Contact us to learn more.

Categories
Interviewing & Evidence Collection, Investigations
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