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August 2001

Volume 70
Number 8
United States
Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC 20535-0001

Contributors' opinions and statements
should not be considered an
endorsement by the FBI for any policy,
program, or service.
Subtle Skills for Investigators can employ Neuro-
The Attorney General has determined
that the publication of this periodical is
Building Rapport 1 Linguistic Programming techniques
during interviews to help them build
necessary in the transaction of the By Vincent A. Sandoval rapport .
public business required by law. Use
of funds for printing this periodical has and Susan H. Adams
been approved by the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget.
Making Computer Law enforcement must build an internal
The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
(ISSN-0014-5688) is published
monthly by the Federal Bureau of
Crime Count 10 capacity to define, track, and analyze
computer crime.
Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania By Marc Goodman
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
20535-0001. Periodicals postage paid Communities can help reduce the
at Washington, D.C., and additional Addressing
mailing offices. Postmaster: Send
address changes to Editor, FBI Law
School Violence 18 impact of school violence by following
three simple steps.
Enforcement Bulletin, FBI Academy, By Francis Q. Hoang
Madison Building, Room 209,
Quantico, VA 22135.
Miranda Revisited In view of the decision in Dickerson

By Thomas D. Petrowski 25 v. United States, agencies should
reevaluate their policies regarding
John E. Ott Miranda.
Associate Editors
Glen Bartolomei
Cynthia L. Lewis
Bunny S. Morris
Art Director
Denise Bennett Smith Departments
Staff Assistant
Linda W. Szumilo
6 Focus on Technology 24 Book Review
This publication is produced by
members of the Law Enforcement Law Enforcement The Loss of Innocents
Communication Unit, Web Sites
William T. Guyton, Chief.

Internet Address

Cover Photo
© Adobe Image Library

Send article submissions to Editor,

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, FBI
Academy, Madison Building, Room
209, Quantico, VA 22135.

ISSN 0014-5688 USPS 383-310

Subtle Skills for Building Rapport
Using Neuro-Linguistic Programming
in the Interview Room

etective Hamilton is using her paralanguage (speech rate, vol-
Mark Hamilton, a seasoned techniques from Neuro- ume, and pitch). In so doing, Detec-
detective, slowly opens the door Linguistic Programming, a tive Hamilton builds rapport with
to the interview room. The communication model with a name the witness and, hence, increases
witness to the drive-by shooting
he might not even recognize. Yet, his chances of gathering pertinent
sits leaning forward in a chair
with her head in her hands. his years of interviewing have information during the interview.
Normally, Mark bellows out taught him the techniques. To estab- Detective Hamilton and other
his introduction to establish lish rapport with this witness, De- experienced investigators recog-
immediate control, but not tective Hamilton knows that he nize the crucial role that rapport
this time. He enters the room needs to match her nonverbal be- plays in an interview. Derived from
without speaking, pulls a chair havior, or kinesics, by sitting down the French verb rapporter meaning
close to the witness, leans and leaning forward. When the “to bring back,” the English word
forward, and, in a barely audible witness begins to talk, Detective rapport refers to a relationship
voice, slowly begins, “I’m
Hamilton listens carefully to her or communication characterized
Detective Mark Hamilton....”
words and intentionally uses similar by harmony.1 With this in mind,
language. He also pays close atten- the need for rapport applies to all
tion to how she talks and matches interviews, but especially to those

August 2001 / 1
involving a victim or witness who others through a model now known these differences correspond to in-
has experienced physical or psy- as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, dividual programming or process-
chological abuse. The interviewer’s or NLP.3 ing systems. People use their senses
task is similar to that of the clinical Neuro-Linguistic Programming outwardly to perceive the world and
psychologist, who must initially embraces three simple concepts. inwardly to “re-present” this expe-
develop a personal bond with his First, the neuro part of NLP recog- rience to themselves. In NLP, repre-
client before intimate feelings are nizes the fundamental idea that all sentational systems denote ways
shared. 2 Thus, investigators can human behavior originates from people take in, store, and code in-
enhance their rapport-building neurological processes, which in- formation in their minds.6 These
skills by examining some practical clude seeing, hearing, smelling, systems pertain to the principal hu-
recommendations derived from tasting, and feeling. In essence, man senses—seeing (visual), hear-
the behavior modification tech- people experience the world ing (auditory), and feeling (kines-
nique known as Neuro-Linguistic through their senses. Second, they thetic). To a lesser degree, they
Programming. communicate their experiences ver- involve tasting (gustatory) and
bally, through language;4 therefore, smelling (olfactory). People con-
UNDERSTANDING the linguistic part of NLP refers to stantly see, hear, and feel whatever
NEURO-LINGUISTIC this use of language to communi- transpires around them. When
PROGRAMMING cate thoughts. Finally, the program- individuals relate these experiences
In the early 1970s, John ming aspect of NLP recognizes that to others, they mentally access
Grinder, an assistant professor of individuals choose to organize their the sights, sounds, or feelings
linguistics at the University of Cali- ideas and actions to produce results. associated with these experiences
fornia in Santa Cruz, and Richard Each person also decides how to and communicate them through
Bandler, a student of psychology, organize these ideas in a specific their predominant representational
identified patterns used by success- manner.5 system.7
ful therapists. They packaged them The NLP founders theorize that
in a way that could be passed on to people think differently and that BUILDING RAPPORT
Enhancing communication and,
hence, building rapport represents
the most applicable aspect of NLP
to investigators. The ability to com-
municate effectively and build rap-
port stands as one of the major con-
tributors to a police officer’s
success in dealing with the public.8
In an interview setting, effective
communication involves the
interviewer’s skill in establishing
rapport through specific actions and
words, thereby building trust and
encouraging the interviewee to pro-
vide information.
Special Agent Sandoval is Special Agent Adams is Others besides successful law
an instructor in the Law an instructor in the Law enforcement interviewers have
Enforcement Communication Enforcement Communication found NLP techniques helpful in
Unit at the FBI Academy. Unit at the FBI Academy. rapport building. For example,

2 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

some medical hypnotists use the gestures. For example, individuals Hamilton matches her behavior,
concept of “matching” with highly conversing together often adopt the thereby lending credence to the
resistant clients.9 By simply con- same posture. Like partners in a belief that the deeper the rapport
forming their nonverbal behavior to dance, they respond and mirror each has been built between two people,
that of each client, by using lan- other’s movements with move- the closer the matching of body
guage from the client’s preferred ments of their own, engaging in language.
representational system (visual, au- mutual responsive actions.12
ditory, or kinesthetic), and by Detective Hamilton employs Building Rapport by
matching the client’s volume, tone, the kinesics aspect of NLP in his Matching Language
and rate of speech (paralanguage), interview. When he enters the inter- Because people use language to
they often can overcome the client’s view room, he immediately notices communicate thoughts, the words
reluctance to communicate. the witness’ posture and the posi- they choose reflect the way they
When interviewers intention- tion of her hands. He notes that she think. When relating experiences,
ally align themselves with a witness is leaning forward with her head an individual uses the visual, audi-
or suspect through these matching down. Her posture and the position tory, or kinesthetic representational
or mirroring techniques, the inter- of her head speak volumes. system to identify these experiences
viewee is more inclined to respond and communicate them to others.
to the interviewer and subsequently For example, a person whose pre-

provide information. As one re- dominant representational system is
searcher points out, “people like visual will say phrases, such as “I
people who are like themselves.”10 Once interviewers see what you mean,” “that looks
Once interviewers establish rap- establish rapport, good to me,” “we see eye to eye,” or
port, barriers disappear, trust barriers disappear, “I get the picture.” On the other
grows, and an exchange of informa- trust grows, and hand, a person whose preference is
tion follows. To achieve these re- auditory will use language, such as
sults, interviewers should match or
an exchange of “something tells me...,” “that rings
“mirror” the interviewee’s kinesics, information follows. a bell,” “we’re on the same wave

language, and paralanguage. length,” or “that sounds okay to
me.” Finally, a person who is kines-
Building Rapport thetic or “feeling” oriented will
by Matching Kinesics As Detective Hamilton intro- make statements, such as “I’ll get in
Matching another person’s duces himself, he pulls his chair touch with you,” “how does that
body language or kinesics probably close to the witness and, just like grab you?,” “you don’t have to get
is the easiest and most obvious tech- her, leans forward in his chair with pushy,” or “how do you think I
nique. Kinesic behavior typically his hands in front of him. As the feel?”13
includes gestures, posture, and witness begins to open up and speak Successful investigators listen
movements of the body, such as the about what she has seen, her non- closely to the choice of words wit-
hands, arms, feet, and legs.11 How- verbal behavior gradually follows nesses and suspects use. Then, they
ever, a difference exists between suit, as she opens herself up by sit- conform their language to match the
mimicry and matching. Interview- ting back. Eventually, as her trust in interviewee, using similar visual,
ers should match another person’s Detective Hamilton grows, she auditory, or kinesthetic phrases.
body language with subtlety and feels comfortable enough to relax. When Detective Hamilton’s
caution; otherwise, the person eas- She realigns her posture by sitting drive-by shooting witness finally
ily could become offended. People up and facing Detective Hamilton. begins to talk, she describes her
who have developed rapport tend to Through each succeeding change situation with phrases, such as “tre-
match each other in posture and in her body language, Detective mendous pressure,” “I feel like I’m

August 2001 / 3
going to pieces,” and “I can’t come If an investigator observes that feelings or emotions, such as “how
to grips with what’s happening.” a witness consistently looks up at an did all of this feel to you?” or “can
The detective responds to the wit- angle, particularly when responding you get a handle on what took
ness’ account by matching her to questions that require recall, the place?” By closely monitoring the
words. When she speaks of the interviewer can conclude, with a movements of a person’s eyes and
“tremendous pressure,” he explains measurable degree of confidence, aligning questions in accordance
ways to relieve the “pressure.” that the person is “seeing” a picture with the interviewee’s observed
He continues to use kinesthetic while remembering information. In preferences, investigators can build
phrases, such as “take this load off NLP terms, this individual’s pre- rapport, thereby enhancing commu-
your shoulders,” to communicate ferred representational system is vi- nication between themselves and
in her preferred representational sual. The investigator can facilitate the people they interview. While
system. the witness’ recollection of events NLP practitioners cite a direct neu-
Because individuals process in- rological connection between eye
formation in different ways, movements and representational
through distinct representational systems,17 other researchers recog-
systems, the investigator often ac- nize the need for additional
quires valuable insight into the empirical studies.18 Currently, in-


interviewee’s personal preference vestigators use interviewees’ eye

by paying close attention to the movements as another possible in-


interviewee’s eye movements. Ac- dicator of their preferred manner of


cording to NLP, eye movements, communicating.
referred to as “eye-accessing
cues,”14 reflect the manner in which with NLP Building Rapport by
an individual processes data. There- Matching Paralanguage
fore, the eyes move in specified di- Matching another person’s
rections, depending upon the Kinesics speech patterns, or paralanguage,
person’s preferred mode of think- constitutes the final, and perhaps
ing. The founders of NLP con- most effective, way to establish rap-
cluded that eye movements reflect by encouraging this visual recall port. Paralanguage involves how a
whether the person has a visual through such phrases as “how did it person says something or the rate,
preference (thinks in terms of pic- look to you?” or “show me what you volume, and pitch of a person’s
tures), an auditory preference mean.” If the witness looks to the speech. One researcher goes so far
(“hears” sounds), or a kinesthetic side when asked a question con- as to say that matching the other
preference (feels or experiences cerning what the person saw, the person’s voice tone or tempo is the
emotion) to process information.15 investigator can encourage the wit- best way to establish rapport in the
Typically, individuals move ness to remember by using ques- business world.19 What may hold
their eyes up at an angle as they tions designed to stimulate auditory true in the business realm applies in
remember a picture. Some people recall, such as “tell me what you the interview setting as well. Indi-
look directly to the side, which indi- heard” or “how did it sound to viduals can speak fast or slow, with
cates that they are using the audi- you?” Finally, if the witness looks or without pauses. They can talk in
tory mode to recall something that down at an angle when asked a a loud or soft volume and in a high
they probably heard before. Finally, question by the investigator, this or low pitch. However, most people
individuals who look down at an could indicate that the person has a are unaware of their own speech
angle appeal to kinesthetic sensa- kinesthetic preference. Therefore, rate or vocal tones. In fact, investi-
tions as they recollect what they felt the investigator can choose phrases gators do not have to match a
or experienced.16 that underscore the witness’ person’s voice exactly, just close

4 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

enough to encourage that individual understanding from the interviewer, to their advantage. By matching
to feel understood.20 who continues to match her kine- interviewees’ nonverbal behavior,
In the interview setting, slow- sics, language, and paralanguage. the manner in which they say some-
ing the rate of speech to correspond When he sees her consistently look- thing, and even their choice of
with the pace of a halting witness ing down to her right, he realizes words, interviewers can increase
allows for recall and communica- that she may be processing informa- rapport and enhance communica-
tion at that person’s pace. By the tion on the kinesthetic level and en- tion. As a result, the potential for
same token, if a witness speaks with courages her to talk about her feel- gaining crucial information needed
more volume and at a quick rate, the ings. Slowly, she begins to trust to help resolve investigations im-
investigator should try to match the Detective Hamilton. proves significantly.
person’s animated and expressive Unbeknown to the witness, De-
manner of speech. By listening tective Hamilton had been matching Endnotes
carefully and paying close attention her in specified ways until she fi- 1
Genie Z. Laborde, Influencing with
to how people speak, investigators nally felt secure enough to provide Integrity (Palo Alto, CA: Syntony Publishing,
can, in NLP terms, get “in sync” full details of the drive-by shooter 1987), 27.
with people by matching their and his vehicle. As a result, the wit- Ronald P. Fisher and Edward R.
Geiselman, Memory-Enhancing Techniques for
paralanguage. ness’ emotional need was met and, Investigative Interviewing, (Springfield, IL:
Experienced investigators con- from Detective Hamilton’s perspec- Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1992), 22.
tinually employ this technique, usu- tive, the interview was a success. 3
John O’Connor and John Seymour,
ally without even thinking about the Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming
(London, England: Harper Collins Publishers,
mechanics or the process involved.

1990), 2.
Detective Hamilton also uses this 4
Ibid., 3.
aspect of NLP in his interview. 5
Ibid., 3.
The drive-by shooting witness Successful 6
Ibid., 26.
speaks slowly, as if searching for investigators listen 7
Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Frogs
Into Princes (Moab, UT: Real People Press,
the right words. Detective Hamilton closely to the 1979), 5.
slows the rate of his speech, giving choice of words 8
P.B. Kincade, “Are You Both Talking the
ample time for the witness to get her Same Language?” Journal of California Law
witnesses and Enforcement 20: 81.
point across without feeling rushed. suspects use. 9
Ibid., 19.
He lowers his voice to match her 10
Jerry Richardson, The Magic of Rapport,

soft volume and refrains from the How You Can Gain Personal Power in Any
urge to interrupt her. As the witness Situation (Cupertine, CA: Meta Publications,
1987), 21.
becomes more excitable, speeding 11
Judith A. Hall and Mark L. Knapp,
up her speech rate and increasing This scenario illustrates the Nonverbal Communication in Human
her volume, Detective Hamilton in- importance of carefully observ- Interaction (Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace
creases his rate and volume as he ing how witnesses and suspects Jovanovich College Publishers, 1992), 14.
Supra note 3, 19.
attempts to mirror her. In so doing, communicate through nonverbal, 13
Supra note 7, 83.
he demonstrates to the witness that verbal, and vocal means. Neuro- 14
Supra note 7, 35.
he is interested in her as an indi- Linguistic Programming is not a 15
Supra note 7, 25.
vidual, and this allows her to com- new concept nor used rarely. In 16

Supra note 7, 25.
Supra note 7.
municate what she experienced in a fact, most successful interviewers 18
Aldert Vrij and Shara K. Lochun,
way that is comfortable for her. employ some variation of it to “Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the
gain rapport. However, by being Police: Worthwhile or Not?” Journal of Police
CONCLUSION conscious of the process and the and Criminal Psychology 12, no. 1 (1997).
Detective Mark Hamilton’s Supra note 1, 30.
benefits associated with NLP, inter- 20
Supra note 1, 31.
witness begins to feel support and viewers can use these techniques

August 2001 / 5
Focus on Technology

Law Enforcement Web Sites

New Utility for a New Era
By Clyde B. Eisenberg, M.S., and Brandon Porter

I f law enforcement administrators were asked 10

years ago what role they thought the Internet
would play in their agency’s operation in the future,
television, in newspaper articles, at displays at local
fairs and expos, and in an agency’s annual report.
With the advent of the law enforcement Web site,
the response may have been “what’s the Internet?” agencies now can add a valuable information resource
This once obscure medium, originally designed for and public relations tool to that list. Even those indi-
researchers to communicate more effectively, has viduals who do not own a computer or have Internet
evolved into a communications staple for households service usually can get access at their workplace,
and businesses. Recent surveys indicate that more local libraries, or other nonprofit public resources. In
than 153 million Americans currently use the addition to the public relations benefits, agencies can
Internet.1 garner widespread utility from a well-crafted Web
site, which now can include information ranging from
The Law Enforcement Web Site Evolves crime statistics to employment opportunities.
While most historians measure time in decades or
centuries, the evolution of law enforcement’s involve- Going On-line with a Web Site
ment with the Internet is only a few years old. One Regardless of an agency’s size, it must follow
part of a police department’s role in society is to pro- several basic steps when creating a Web site. First, an
vide various types of information to its citizens. For agency must identify and understand what resources
many years, law enforcement agencies have relied on are available to it in the process. When developing
traditional means of disseminating information. These new sites, agencies should remember that they
standard proven methods include public service spots should custom design their Web pages to meet their
that appear on network and public access cable specific requirements. An agency must select a host

6 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

server and register a domain name—essentially can maintain the agency’s site. Agencies do not
the Internet address of the organization (e.g., require special software for basic Web site creations Agencies can register their because most popular browsers, and even some word
domain names with the Internet Corporation for processing software, include a composer to create
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit basic Web pages. However, to produce more
organization that coordinates the assignment of advanced Web sites, agencies usually will need
Internet domain names. Agencies interested in specialized software.
registering a domain name or seeking Web site Web sites requiring such specialized software
hosting arrangements can review a list of companies may offer interactive services that derive information
qualified to register domain names and provide Web from the agency’s computer databases. This software,
site registration services within referred to as Internet Commerce
the ICANN Web site. Registering Enabler (ICE) software, serves
a domain name costs approxi- two major purposes. First, it acts
mately $50 for a 2-year registra-
tion, but many packages or
service bundles are available
through ICANN-accredited
“ A Web site can be
as simple as a single
page, or it may contain
as a firewall, allowing only certain
information to enter into the site
and restricting what information
users can retrieve. Due to recent
domain name registrars. several hundred publicized hackings into well-
A host is an Internet Service pages, depending known Web sites and the potential
Provider (ISP), either publicly or on the scope of the damage such an intrusion can
privately owned, which provides information offered. cause, this product becomes
a link between an agency’s Web essential when managing public

site and the Internet for little or no access to an agency’s data. ICE
fee. The cost of using a private also converts information from
host can range from as little as an agency’s database into Hyper
$20 to as much as several thousand dollars per month, Text Markup Language, commonly referred to as
based on the size of the Web site and the amount of HTML.2
traffic it transmits and receives. In Florida, the State’s
Attorney General’s Office provides free hosting to One Agency’s Experience
the Internet for law enforcement agencies. In 1994, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
A Web site can be as simple as a single page, (HCSO) in Tampa, Florida, launched its first Web
or it may contain several hundred pages, depending site. At its inception, the site consisted of only a few
on the scope of the information offered. When first pages, limited pictures, and some information about
creating a Web site, an agency must decide the the agency. The first venture into this new medium
purpose of the site. Will they use it simply as a public proved a learning experience for the HCSO; however,
relations tool, merely highlighting various facets of neither the agency nor the public gleaned much utility
the agency? Will it be self-contained or offer addi- from this site. In 1998, HCSO management realized
tional resource links? Will it provide interactive that having a Web site provided great potential, which
services to its visitors? led the way to a revision of the old site. HCSO
For those agencies that need outside assistance to wanted to furnish timely information about how the
develop and create a Web site, a plethora of compa- agency serves the public (e.g., various programs,
nies exist that offer these services for a fee, which agency organizational charts, location of departments)
can range from several hundred to several thousand and to provide a utility for the agency and the Web
dollars, depending on the size of the site and the site visitors (e.g., crime statistics, history, on-line
various options selected. However, because small forms).
Web sites are relatively easy to create, in-house Additionally, the update added state-of-the-art
personnel with above-average computer skills often features to the site, allowing greater access and ease

August 2001 / 7
of use. For example, the HCSO Detention Department reducing the number of walk-in requests. Addition-
receives hundreds of calls every day inquiring about ally, those individuals or businesses seeking informa-
the status of the inmates housed in the county correc- tion benefit by receiving more timely, convenient
tional system. The new Web site now interfaces with information.
the HCSO’s mainframe computer and, because the Law enforcement public information officers
arrest data is public information, anyone can access (PIOs) often spend a great deal of their time working
the information by querying either a name or a with reporters. A large agency typically will have one
booking number. or two full-time PIOs. The HCSO Public Information
Other law enforcement agencies also have gone Office handles approximately 1,200 requests from
on-line with inmate information. In March 2000, the the media and the public per month. By placing news-
Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department worthy press releases on a continually updated special
(LASD) went on-line allowing anyone with Internet press release Web page, the HCSO has significantly
access to search the department’s database of arrest reduced the telephone inquiries to its public informa-
records, including the names and dates of births of tion office. Additionally, this special Web page
individuals arrested in the last 30 days, along with the provides timely information to some smaller news
charges, bail amounts, and court dates. Additionally, agencies that may not have full-time reporters. At the
the LASD database includes information on the HCSO, most calls from the news media regard traffic
20,000 inmates in custody and the 2,400 inmates in conditions, particularly during the morning and
community-based programs.3 afternoon rush hours, which represent some of the
The HCSO warrants section currently has more busiest times in the communications section that
than 90,000 active warrants, which also are public handles those inquiries. To address this problem, the
information and accessible via the Web site. Previ- HCSO Web site has interfaced a traffic advisory Web
ously, the agency handled only wanted-person inquir- page with its computer-aided dispatch system. Tele-
ies from citizens, private investigators, or businesses vision and radio stations, citizens, and any other
conducting pre-employment screening in person at interested parties can visit that page to view real-time
the records section of the agency. These advances in dispatch information regarding vehicular accidents,
the HCSO site have proved useful to the agency by detours, and road obstructions. The display indicates

Web Site Resources

• Nielsen Net ratings, available at, offers information on Internet
usage in the United States and worldwide.
• The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, available at, is
one of the technical coordinating bodies for the assigning of domain names and numbers for
the Internet.
•, available at, provides a comprehensive, alphabetized list of law
enforcement agency Web sites.
• Hillsborough County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, available at
• Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department, available at
• Riverside County, California, Sheriff’s Department, available at

8 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

the location of the problem and advises when an The FBI National Executive Institute Associates
HCSO unit is en route or arrives at the scene. The recently conducted a survey of agencies with more
HCSO Web site also allows citizens to view pictures than 500 officers that had Web sites. The results of
of wanted individuals, crime statistics, and upcoming this survey yielded valuable information regarding a
events involving the office. Additionally, the HCSO variety of Web site uses by law enforcement. Of the
Community-Oriented Policing Program provides 68 agencies that responded to the survey, 27 percent
residents with up-to-date information on particular provided sexual offender information, 9 percent
activities in their community. offered accident report information, and 18 percent
Currently, the HCSO Web site contains 800 allowed individuals to file reports on-line.4 These
linked pages and receives a daily average of 40,000 results reveal only a small percentage of the effective
hits. Visitors also can e-mail comments or questions uses of Web sites for law enforcement.
on the site to the HCSO Web site administrator, who
responds to all legitimate e-mails in a timely manner. Conclusion
The HCSO started an on-line store offering Web site technology has advanced both exten-
T-shirts and hats for sale. Further, HCSO has created sively and rapidly. Daily improvements to capabili-
a special secure section, accessed ties, such as video, audio, and
by a password, which allows its general accessibility, significantly
employees access to information, increase the potential uses a Web
such as the list of available off-duty
employment jobs and recent
departmentwide memos and
training bulletins.
personnel with
site can offer law enforcement. As
this technology continues to
advance, the future utility of a Web
site virtually is unlimited, given the
computer skills collective imagination of an
Advanced Utility to an Agency often can maintain agency’s members, and the vital
As the information technology the agency’s site. input of the public it serves.
field grows, law enforcement By developing and maintaining

agencies will continue to find new an informative Web site, an agen-
ways to integrate their mission with cy, as well as the public it serves,
the Internet. For the last several can benefit by conserving time and
years, the Riverside County, California, Sheriff’s resources. More important, numerous categories of
Office has allowed citizens to file reports on-line. users would gain valuable, free information quickly
To file a report on-line with the Riverside County and with minimal cost to the community.
Sheriff’s Office, a complainant can access the River-
side Sheriff’s Office Web site, click on “Crime Endnotes
Report Form,” and complete the basic information on 1
See,; accessed January 23, 2001.
a user-friendly form. The complainant will receive an HTML is the computer language of the Internet-recognized Web
acknowledgment within 3 days, via e-mail, and the 3
“Los Angeles Sheriff Puts Inmate Information On-line,” Government
assigned case number. The department has limited Technology vol. 13, no. 8 (June 2000): 11.
such on-line reporting to property crimes and miscel- 4
E. Tully, “ The Present and Future Use of the Internet by Law
laneous occurrences and does not allow a complainant Enforcement-Part One,” National Executive Institute Associates Research
Projects On-line, June 2000;; accessed January
to file on-line if the crime involved known suspects, 22, 2001.
violence of any kind, or if it required officers to
collect physical evidence at the scene. Although this Sergeant Eisenberg serves with the Hillsborough County,
agency characterized the practice as a good learning Florida, Sheriff’s Office.
experience, they consistently have received only a Mr. Porter is a software specialist in the Data Operations
few on-line reports per month. Bureau of the Hillsborough County, Florida, Sheriff's Office.

August 2001 / 9
Making Computer
Crime Count

© Adobe Image Library

Electronic Pearl Harbor,”1 “Internet

D oes computer crime pose a organizations from accurately as-

serious threat to America’s Paralyzed by Hackers,”2 “Computer sessing the nature and scope of the
national security? Recent Crime Costs Billions,” 3 have problem.
highly publicized computer virus become common. Law enforcement Internationally, legislative bod-
attacks have shown that computer organizations cannot determine ex- ies define criminal offenses in penal
crime has become an increasing actly how many computer crimes codes. Crimes, such as murder,
problem. Unfortunately, the ab- occur each year. No agreed-upon rape, and aggravated assault, all
sence of a standard definition for national or international definition suggest similar meanings to law en-
computer crime, a lack of reliable of terms, such as computer crime, forcement professionals around the
criminal statistics on the problem, high-tech crime, or information world. But what constitutes a
and significant underreporting of technology crime, exists. Thus, as computer crime? The term covers a
the threat pose vexing challenges a class of criminal activities, com- wide range of offenses. For ex-
for police agencies. puter crime is unique in its posi- ample, if a commercial burglary oc-
Sensational headlines, such as tion as a crime without a defi- curs and a thief steals a computer,
“Nation Faces Grave Danger of nition, which prevents police does this indicate a computer crime

10 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

or merely another burglary? Does
copying a friend’s program disks
constitute a computer crime?
The answer to each of these
questions may depend on various
“ To decrease the
incidence of
computer crime,
law enforcement
The United States Department
of Justice (DOJ) has defined com-
agencies must
puter crime as “any violation of work with private
criminal law that involved the organizations....
knowledge of computer technology
for its perpetration, investigation, or
prosecution.”5 Some experts have
suggested that DOJ’s definition
could encompass a series of crimes
that have nothing to do with com-

Mr. Goodman, former head of the Los Angeles, California,
Police Department’s Internet Unit, also has served as a law
enforcement policy advisor in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

puters. For example, if an auto theft

investigation required a detective to
use “knowledge of computer tech- access to a computer system” and adding more rape investigators, ex-
nology” to investigate a vehicle’s “computer sabotage,” neither Title tra patrol in the specific area, and
identification number (VIN) in a 18 nor any of the state penal codes increased community awareness
states’s department of motor ve- provide a definition for the term projects. The aggregation of crime
hicle database, under DOJ guide- computer crime. data allows police to formulate a
lines, auto theft could be classified Defining criminal phenomena response to a problem. Anecdotal
as a computer crime. While the ex- is important because it allows po- evidence suggests that computer
ample may stretch the boundaries of lice officers, detectives, prosecu- crime presents a growing problem
logic, it demonstrates the difficul- tors, and judges to speak intelli- for the public, police, and govern-
ties inherent in attempting to gently about a given criminal ments, all who rely on crime statis-
describe and classify computer offense. Furthermore, generally ac- tics for the development of their
criminality. cepted definitions facilitate the ag- criminal justice policies and the
Over the past 15 years, several gregation of statistics, which law allocation of extremely limited re-
international organizations, such as enforcement can analyze to reveal sources. For police to respond suc-
the United Nations, the Organiza- previously undiscovered criminal cessfully to these crimes in the fu-
tion of Economic Cooperation and threats and patterns. ture, they must increase the
Development (OECD), the Council resources their departments cur-
of Europe, the G-8,6 and Interpol, Benefits of Reporting rently dedicate to the problem—a
all have worked to combat the prob- Computer Crime Statistics difficult task.
lem of computer crime.7 These or- Crime statistics serve an impor- Agencies must justify training,
ganizations have provided guidance tant role in law enforcement. First, equipment, and personnel costs
in understanding this problem. Yet, they allow for the appropriate allo- necessary to create a computer-
despite their efforts, no single defi- cation of very limited resources. competent police force. How can
nition of computer crime has For example, if a community suf- law enforcement managers justify
emerged that the majority of crimi- fered a 73 percent increase in the these costs to community leaders
nal justice professionals use. Al- number of sexual assaults, police without appropriate data to substan-
though many state and federal laws administrators immediately would tiate their claims? Police must
define terms, such as “unauthorized take steps to address the problem by document the problem with factual

August 2001 / 11
data not information based on me- information for communities in the officers and detectives use this data
dia sensationalism or a few notori- “real world,” the same is true in to prevent future crimes and to ap-
ous attacks. cyberspace. For individuals and or- prehend offenders. Therefore, to
Second, accurate statistics on ganizations to intelligently assess count computer crime, a general
computer crime are important for their level of risk, agencies must agreement on what constitutes a
public safety reasons. Computer provide accurate data about crimi- computer crime must exist.
crimes not only affect corporations nal threats. Access to reliable and In many police departments,
but hospitals, airports, and emer- timely computer crime statistics detectives often compile and report
gency dispatch systems as well. allows individuals to determine crime data. Thus, homicide detec-
Furthermore, surveys have indi- their own probability of victimiza- tives count the number of murders,
cated that many individuals fear tion and the threat level they face sexual assault investigators exam-
for their safety in the on-line and helps them begin to estimate ine the number of rapes, and auto
world and worry about criminal probable recovery costs.9 Law en- detectives count car thefts. Com-
victimization.8 forcement organizations tradition- puter crime, on the other hand,
Businesses and individuals rely ally have taken a leading role in comprises such an ill-defined list of
on law enforcement crime statistics providing crime data and crime pre- offenses that various units within a
when making important decisions vention education to the public, police department usually keep the
about their safety. Many citizens which now should be updated to related data separately, if they keep
contact a local police station prior include duties in cyberspace. them at all. For example, the child
to the purchase of a home in a Crime statistics facilitate abuse unit likely would maintain
particular neighborhood to inquire benchmarking and analysis of crime child pornography arrest data and
about the number of burglaries trends. Crime analysts use criminal identify the crime as the sexual ex-
and violent crimes in the area. Just statistics to spot emerging trends ploitation of a minor. A police
as these data provide important and unique modi operandi. Patrol department’s economic crimes unit
might recap an Internet fraud scam
as a simple fraud, and an agency’s
assault unit might count an on-line
stalking case as a criminal threat.
Attacks against DOD Computers (1992-1995) Because most police organizations
do not have a cohesive entity that
38,000 Attacks measures offenses where criminals
either criminally target a computer
13,300 Blocked (35%) or use one to perpetrate a crime,
accurate statistics remain difficult
Protection to obtain.
24,700 Succeeded (65%)
The Underreporting Problem
988 Detected (4%) 23,712 Undetected (96%) Generally, crime statistics can
provide approximations for crimi-
nal activity. Usually, people accu-
267 Reported (27%) 721 Not Reporter (73%) rately report serious crimes, such as
homicide, armed robbery, vehicle
theft, and major assaults. Many
Source: U.S. Department of Defense's Defense
other criminal offenses, however,
Information Systems Agency remain significantly underreported.
Police always have dealt with
some underreporting of crime. But,

12 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

new evidence suggests that com- facing law enforcement agencies. see their stock prices fall.12 Further-
puter crime may be the most Surprisingly, many individuals, net- more, in recent denial of service at-
underreported form of criminal be- work administrators, and corporate tacks, for example, the Yankee Re-
havior because the victim of a com- managers do not realize that attacks search Group estimated that direct
puter crime often remains unaware against their networks constitute a revenue losses due to blocked on-
that an offense has even taken crime. Worse, many victims who line transactions and the need for
place. Sophisticated technologies, understand that a crime has taken security infrastructure upgrades ex-
the immense size and storage ca- place may deliberately keep these ceed $1 billion.13 Because of the
pacities of computer networks, and facts from the police. Victims may high price of victimization, most
the often global distribution of an have serious doubts about the ca- companies would not want to in-
organization’s information assets pacity of the police to handle volve law enforcement and risk a
increase the difficulty of detecting computer crime incidents in an very public arrest or trial attesting
computer crime. Thus, the vast ma- efficient, timely, and confidential to the organization’s security and
jority of individuals and organiza- manner. 10 These concerns are true business failings.
tions do not realize when they have particularly among large corpora- The difficulties in computer
suffered a computer intrusion or re- tions who fear damage to their repu- crime detection and the challenges
lated loss at the hands of a criminal tation or, worse, their bottom line. posed by the reluctance of busi-
hacker. nesses to admit victimization might
The U.S. Department of demonstrate the underestimation of

Defense’s (DoD) Defense Informa- all statistics related to cybercrimes.
tion Systems Agency (DISA) has However, some less reputable com-
completed in-depth research on ...accurate puter security consulting compa-
computer crime. From 1992 to nies may overestimate computer
1995, DISA attacked their own
statistics on crime and security problems to
DoD computer systems using soft- computer crime scare business leaders who, they
ware available on the Internet. Sys- are important for hope, will turn to these organiza-
tem administrators did not detect public safety tions for consulting services and
the majority of attacks against DoD reasons. support.
computers. Of the 38,000 attacks An annual report compiled by

perpetrated, 96 percent of the the Computer Security Institute in
successful attacks went unde- San Francisco, California, and the
tected. Furthermore, of the detected FBI provides a variety of statistics
attacks, only 27 percent were In banking and financial sectors, on computer crime by surveying
reported. Thus, approximately 1 in reputation is everything. Informa- computer security practitioners in
140 attacks were both detected and tion that a criminal has infiltrated a both the private and public sec-
reported, representing only 0.7 per- bank’s computers and accounts po- tors.14 The anonymity offered to
cent of the total. If the detection and tentially could drive thousands of survey respondents may contribute
reporting of computer crime is less customers to its competitors. to the accuracy of their data. How-
than 1 percent in the nation’s mili- Businesses suffer a variety of ever, the report does not directly
tary systems, how often might these losses, both tangible and intangible poll law enforcement organizations
crimes go unreported when the in- when hackers attack them. They can about the number of computer
tended victim is an individual or a lose hundreds of millions of dollars crimes reported to police. Many ex-
small business owner? of value, brand equity, and corpo- perts believe that such a task should
Convincing victims who have rate reputation when a business be carried out by the government,
suffered a loss to report the crime to falls prey to a hacker.11 Most of the but to date, no single governmental
police constitutes another hurdle companies that suffer Web attacks body maintains responsibility for

August 2001 / 13
asking police forces about the impairment, or modification of These three types of crimes
prevalence of computer crimes re- computer information or equipment should form the basis for an interna-
ported and investigated. constitutes an attack against the in- tionally agreed-upon definition of
tegrity of that information. Many of computer crime. In reality, they al-
The Development of a Definition the malicious hacking activities, ready are becoming the definition
The development of a simple, such as computer viruses, worms, of computer crime because each
widely agreed-upon definition of and Trojan horses, fall within this state has some law that prohibits
computer crime among law en- category. The same is true for indi- these offenses. Furthermore, an
forcement may form the first step in viduals who purposefully change or analysis of penal legislation
counting computer crimes. This manipulate data either for profit or in nearly 50 nations suggests that
definition would help police to some other motivation, such as re- at least one-half of those countries
communicate more effectively venge, politics, terrorism, or merely surveyed—including most industri-
about these offenses and begin to for the challenge. alized nations—had laws in place or
accurately assess the prevalence of legislation pending that prohibited
criminal victimization. crimes affecting the confidentiality,

The earliest work in computer integrity, and availability of a com-
security provides a good foundation puter.16 A variety of international
upon which police can build such a crime organizations also support legisla-
definition. Traditionally, all com- has become tive efforts prohibiting pure-play
puter security efforts have sought to an increasing computer crimes. Groups, such as
protect the confidentiality, integ- problem. the United Nations, the G8, the
rity, and availability of information Council of Europe, the OECD, and

systems.15 Interpol, each have delineated con-
Confidentiality in computer fidentiality, integrity, and availabil-
systems prevents the disclosure of ity offenses as forming the mini-
information to unauthorized per- Availability of computer data mum basis of proscribed computer
sons. Individuals who trespass into indicates the accessibility of the criminal behavior. The Council of
another person’s computer system information and that its associated Europe, the 41-nation body of
or exceed their own authority in ac- programs remain functional when which the United States is an ob-
cessing certain information, violate needed by the intended user com- server, has been working on a draft
the legitimate owner’s right to keep munity. A variety of attacks, such treaty on cybercrime for several
private information secret. Crimes as the often-cited denial of ser- years. If adopted as currently
that violate the confidentiality of vice incidents, constitute a set of drafted, the treaty would ensure that
computer systems include “unau- criminal activities that interferes confidentiality, integrity, and avail-
thorized access crimes” as defined with the availability of computer ability offenses were outlawed in all
by Title 18, U.S.C. Section information. signatory nations to the treaty, an
1030(a)(2). Because breaking into a Together, computer crime inci- extremely significant step forward
computer begins with unauthorized dents that attack the confidentiality, in policing these crimes.17
access to an information system, integrity, or availability of digital
many believe this represents information or services constitute Computer-Mediated Offenses
the foundational computer crime an extremely precise and easily un- Defined broadly, the term com-
offense. derstood foundational definition of puter crime or even the more
Integrity of electronically computer crime. In effect, these of- common “computer-related crime”
stored information ensures that no fenses might represent “pure-play” has described a wide variety of
one has tampered with it or modi- computer crimes because they offenses. Traditional crimes, such
fied it without authorization. Thus, involve a computer system as the as fraud, counterfeiting, embezzle-
any nonsanctioned corruption, direct target of the attack. ment, telecommunications theft,

14 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

prostitution, gambling, money laun- crimes pose many of the same in- a computer crime or as a computer-
dering, child pornography, fencing vestigative difficulties as pure-play related crime.
operations, narcotics sales, and computer crimes, documenting
even stalking, all could be computer these criminal offenses proves use- Law Enforcement’s Response
related. Computer technology could ful. Once captured, these data can How can agencies capture,
facilitate or perpetrate each of these help police to further refine their analyze, and report data on these
offenses. allocation of resources and deter- offenses in an efficient manner?
These crimes, which represent mine relevant crime trends for com- In 1930, the U.S. Congress required
traditional offenses perpetrated in puter-mediated illegal activities. the Attorney General to produce
new and, perhaps, more effective Offenses where a computer is data on the incidence of crime in
ways, differ from pure-play com- completely incidental to the crime America. In turn, the Attorney Gen-
puter crimes, which involve a represents the third type of criminal eral designated the FBI to serve as
computer system as the direct target activity with possible computer in- the national clearinghouse for the
of attack. Additionally, these volvement. In these cases, although statistics collected. Since that time,
crimes, as a group, demonstrate that a criminal might have used a com- the FBI has administered the
offenders can use a computer as a puter before, during, or after the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)
tool to commit the crime. The fact crime, it was not related directly to Program, which obtains data based
that a computer is not necessary to on uniform classifications and
© Digital Stock
commit the crime sets these of- procedures for reporting from the
fenses apart from the pure-play nation’s law enforcement agencies
computer crimes. Prostitution, and presents this information in the
counterfeiting, and frauds have annual Crime in the United States
taken place for hundreds of years publication.18 While the traditional
without any computer connection. UCR Summary Reporting System19
The computer-mediated forms of tracks only eight criminal offenses
these crimes pose problems for law (murder and nonnegligent man-
enforcement as well. slaughter, forcible rape, robbery,
A traditional crime perpetrated aggravated assault, burglary, lar-
with a new, high-tech twist raises ceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and
the same investigative and legal arson), the new UCR National Inci-
challenges for police as pure-play dent Based Reporting System20
computer offenses. The unique na- (NIBRS) tracks 46 criminal of-
ture of information technology and fenses in 22 categories, including
computer networks moving at the offending criminal activity. For crimes perpetrated using comput-
Internet speed often are highly in- example, a man who murders his ers.21 However, because the transi-
compatible with traditional legal wife and confesses 3 weeks later tion from the traditional system to
models of policing. Crimes involv- in an electronic document has not NIBRS will take considerable time,
ing high technology cross multiple committed a computer crime—he law enforcement executives proac-
jurisdictions, are not covered by a has committed a homicide. Leaving tively should review their internal
single cohesive international law, behind computer-related evidence procedures to ensure that they have
become harder to track because of that will require specialized foren- appropriate policies in place to
anonymity, result in expensive in- sic methods does not turn murder track and recap pure-play computer
vestigations, complicate efforts in into “cyber-homicide.” For this rea- crimes.
obtaining forensic evidence, and re- son, police should not count of- Agencies should consider add-
quire police to have specialized fenses that generate computer- ing the following question to crime
knowledge for a successful investi- related evidence incidental to the and arrest reports: “Was a computer
gation. Because computer-related perpetration of the offense as either used in the perpetration of this

August 2001 / 15
offense?” Many agencies already sophisticated and well-developed police sensitivity about businesses’
include similar questions about the system to count computer crime, concerns, will help increase the
use of firearms or the occurrence of agencies still must overcome the number of these offenses brought to
hate crimes on their internal reports. public’s underreporting problem. the attention of the police.
In fact, hate crimes may provide a Underreporting these crimes results Most police agencies do not
useful lens through which to exam- from a failure on the part of the have the staff or funding to deal
ine computer-related crime. Hate victim to realize a crime has taken adequately with computer crime.
crimes often involve other crimes, place and an unwillingness to report Though the recent series of virus
such as assault, vandalism, and discovered incidents to police. and denial of service attacks have
even murder. But, knowing what To decrease the incidence of increased public awareness of the
percentage hate actually motivates computer crime, law enforce- problem, law enforcement organi-
vandalism becomes a useful tool for ment agencies must work with pri- zations must prepare for offenses by
police administrators attempting to vate organizations to ensure that developing a strategic and preventa-
understand and address community businesses become aware of poten- tive approach to deal with this
disorder problems. tial threats they face from computer problem.
Several efforts have begun to Law enforcement managers
promote law enforcement’s under- must ensure that they remain

standing of the prevalence and ef- capable of responding to the
fects of computer crime. The FBI changing faces of criminal activity
and the National White Collar Several efforts have in the 21st century. When compared
Crime Center recently took a big to murder, rape, or violent assaults,
step forward in counting computer-
begun to promote law computer crime may seem trivial.
related fraud. In 2000, these organi- enforcement’s But, a person who asks an executive
zations established the Internet understanding of the who loses his life savings due to the
Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)22 prevalence and effects theft of intellectual property from
to create a national reporting of computer crime. his computer hard drive will get a
mechanism for tracking fraud on different answer. The teacher who

the Internet. The center will track receives daily calls from credit
statistics on the number and type of agencies because she was the victim
complaints and forward reported in- of on-line identity theft understands
cidents to the appropriate law en- crime. These partnerships could the importance of policing com-
forcement agency. While IFCC will include working with technical puter related crime as well. Simi-
prove helpful in tracking Internet experts from within and outside the larly, so does the AIDS researcher
fraud data, it does not deal directly government to develop solutions who has 5 years of work destroyed
with pure-play computer crimes that improve the prevention and de- by a computer virus. The mother of
that violate the confidentiality, in- tection of computer crimes. Of the 13-year-old girl who was lured
tegrity, and availability of data. course, even after detecting these across state lines by a pedophile
Therefore, federal, state, and local crimes, police still must convince will certainly demand a computer-
criminal justice agencies must take victims to report them. competent police force capable of
a more comprehensive approach. Police agencies must work with helping her. Each of these com-
the business community to gain puter or computer-related crimes
Conclusion trust. Many community and prob- and their victims are real. Law en-
To combat computer crime, law lem-oriented policing techniques forcement agencies have a responsi-
enforcement must build an internal can help law enforcement as they bility to protect and serve the pub-
capacity to define, track, and ana- deal increasingly with computer lic, regardless of advances in
lyze these criminal offenses. Even crime investigations. Government technology—a role that cannot be
if law enforcement has a highly and industry partnerships, and abdicated.

16 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Defining the problem, gather- Nations Crime and Justice Information Network 16
Based upon research conducted by the
ing crime data, and analyzing the Vienna: United Nations, 1994. author.
8 17
Tina Kelley, “Security Fears Still Plague For further information, see http://
nature and scope of the threat repre- Cybershopping,” The New York Times, July 30,
sent natural steps in any problem- 1998, G5; Michael Stroh, “Online Dangers, cadreprojets.htm.
oriented policing approach. New Offspring Protection; Security: Parents Can 18
U.S. Department of Justice, Federal
forms of criminality do not differ— Find Allies on the Family Computer to Protect Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United
their Children from Harm on the Internet,” The States (Washington, DC, 1999).
a lesson law enforcement agencies Baltimore Sun, May 10, 1999, 1C. 19
In the summary program, law enforcement
must learn to make computer crime 9
M.E. Kabay, “ISCA White Paper on agencies tally the number of occurrences of the
count. Computer Crime Statistics,” International offenses, as well as arrest data, and submit
Computer Security Association (1998), http:// aggregate counts of the collected data in monthly summary reports either directly to the
Endnotes index.shtml; accessed November 8, 2000. FBI or indirectly through state UCR programs.
10 20
Andrew Glass, “Warding Off Cyber P.A. Collier and B.J. Spaul, “Problems In NIBRS, law enforcement agencies
Threat: “Electronic Pearl Harbor Feared,” The in Policing Computer Crime,” Policing and collect detailed data regarding individual crime
Atlanta Journal and Constitution, June 25, Society 307, no. 2 (1992). incidents and arrests and submit them in
1998. Larry Kamer, “Crisis Mode: It’s About separate reports using prescribed data elements
Anick Jesdanun, “Internet Attacks Raise Values,” The San Francisco Examiner, and data values to describe each incident and
Concerns About Risks of Growth,” San February 23, 2000, A15. arrest.
12 21
Francisco Examiner, February 14, 2000. Carri Kirbie, “Hunting for the Hackers: NIBRS provides the capability to indicate
Michael Zuckerman, “Love Bug Stole Reno Opens Probe Into Attacks That Disabled whether a computer was the object of the crime
Computer Passwords,” USA Today, May 10, Top Web Sites,” The San Francisco Chronicle, and to indicate whether the offenders used
2000. February 10, 2000, A1. computer equipment to perpetrate a crime. This
Jodi Mardesich, “Laws Across the Country “7 Days: Web Attacks Raise Security ensures the continuance of the traditional crime
Become Relevant in Connected World: Awareness,” Computing, February 17, 2000, 17. statistics and, at the same time, “flags”
Jurisdiction at Issue in Net Legal Cases,” San R. Power, “2000 CSI/FBI Computer incidents involving computer crime. For
Jose Mercury News, October 8, 1996, 1E. Crime and Security Survey,” Computer Secu- additional information on NIBRS, contact the
Catherine H. Conly, Organizing for rity Issues and Trends 6, No. 1, Spring 2000. NIBRS Program Coordinator, Criminal Justice
Computer Crime Investigation and Prosecu- These three themes provide the basis for Information Services, 1-888-827-6427.
tion, National Institute of Justice, July 1989, 6. the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Jerry Seper, “Justice Sets Up Web Site
These countries, several major industrial Development’s (OECD) Guidelines for the to Combat Internet Crimes,” The Washington
nations in the world, include the United States, Security of Information Systems and are Times, May 9, 2000, A6,;
the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, included in most textbooks, legislative acts, and accessed November 8, 2000.
Canada, Italy, and Russia. media articles on computer crime. The OECD
For further information regarding
“International Review of Criminal Policy: document is available at computer crime, contact the author at
United Nations Manual on the Prevention and dsti/sti/it/secur/prod/reg97-2.htm; accessed
Control of Computer-Related Crime,” United November 8, 2000.


T he article,“Police Pursuits and Civil Liability,” which

appeared in the July 2001 issue, contained an error. The
last sentence of the third paragraph on page 19 should read as
The majority, however, concluded that the police conduct
in this case did not “shock the conscience” and ruled in
favor of the police.

August 2001 / 17
Addressing School Violence
Prevention, Planning, and Practice

communities plan for handling

ith these words, for-
“It is imperative that, community mer FBI director Louis school violence when it does occur?
by community, we find the ways Freeh captured the es- Should law enforcement include
to protect our children and exercises and training as a part of
sence of the challenge that commu-
secure for them the safe places
they need to learn the hard
nities face in addressing school vio- these preparations?
business of growing up, to learn lence. Recent high profile school
shootings have led to an atmo- DEFINING SCHOOL
right from wrong, to learn to be
good citizens.” 1 sphere of fear and apprehension VIOLENCE
among many communities about To address school violence,
the safety of their schools. While communities first must understand
statistics show that schools, in gen- what it is and who is involved.2 The
eral, remain safer than their sur- definition of school violence, an
rounding neighborhoods, every unacceptable social behavior rang-
community must take steps to ad- ing from aggression to violence that
dress school violence. In doing so, threatens or harms others, goes be-
many questions may arise. Where yond highly publicized incidents of
does a community begin the pro- mass bloodshed to include acts,
cess of addressing school vio- such as bullying, threats, and extor-
lence? How can schools prevent or tion. Therefore, school violence
reduce school violence? How can spans a broad range of antisocial

18 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

behavior that law enforcement must
While not every
school may have
SCHOOL VIOLENCE to deal with a
Historically, individuals who
violent shooter,
commit school violence fall into nearly every
one of two groups. The first group, school experiences
“insiders” (e.g., students), usually violent threats.

can be divided into two broader cat-
egories—sociopaths (e.g., bullies
who instigate fights and manipulate
Mr. Hoang, former deputy chief of police for the Fort Leavenworth,
others) and psychopaths (e.g., so- Kansas, Police Department currently serves as an advisor
cially inept loners who have the po- to the Rockland County, New York, Police Academy.
tential for great violence).3 The sec-
ond group involves visiting
“outsiders,” such as students from violence prevention programs and results) for their school violence
other schools or former students. offer various steps communities can prevention efforts.
Communities must prepare for take to help prevent violence in Last, communities should iden-
potential school violence from ei- their schools.4 First, communities tify appropriate research-based pro-
ther of these groups. No standard should establish partnerships be- grams and strategies. The key to
profile of a school violent offender tween schools and other public preventing and reducing school vio-
currently exists. At best, certain agencies. Because school violence lence combines long-term strategies
warning signs may indicate poten- remains a community problem, it with short-term interventions.
tial violence and specific factors requires collaboration from all resi- Community leaders and school ad-
may denote a greater likelihood of dents, agencies, and businesses. ministrators should research and
an individual carrying out violence. Schools, police, business leaders, examine various school violence
and elected officials all must coop- prevention options and select tech-
ADDRESSING SCHOOL erate to address school violence. niques most appropriate for their
VIOLENCE Next, communities should schools. Such options fall into three
Primarily, communities can ad- identify and measure the problem. broad categories.5
dress school violence through three School officials, working with law The first category involves en-
simple steps—prevention, plan- enforcement and other community vironmental modifications and sug-
ning, and practice. Prevention re- agencies, should collect informa- gests that police, trained in crime
fers to taking actions to reduce or tion that shows the size and scope prevention through environmental
prevent school violence from occur- of violence in their schools. This design, or school security manag-
ring, planning determines what ac- important step ensures that pre- ers, who have attended specialized
tions to take if school violence does vention efforts revolve around the courses in physical security, audit
occur, and practice entails rehears- community’s specific problems. or survey each school. These
ing plans and modifying them when Communities also should set personnel should examine a
needed. goals and measurable objectives. school’s physical environment and
School officials, collaborating with recommend modifications to pre-
Prevention parents and students, should set vent or reduce violence.
Various publications provide a goals (with broad results) and spe- The second category includes
comprehensive overview of school cific objectives (with measurable options for preventing and

August 2001 / 19
controlling violence based on instituting community-oriented safety efforts. These programs help
school management. For example, policing crime prevention efforts. prevent school violence by educat-
this may entail establishing behav- After reviewing the various op- ing parents, teachers, and students
ior and discipline codes, the use of tions, administrators should work about the signs of potential violence
criminal penalties against selected with the entire community to care- and, ultimately, allow the troubled
students, or the placement of prob- fully implement the selected pre- student to receive help before vio-
lem students into alternative educa- vention measures. Some preventive lence occurs.6
tional institutions. techniques may require additional Another critical element of a
The final category, education resources, outside approval, or school safety program involves a
and curriculum-based prevention long-term planning to prove threat management plan. While
techniques, could include teaching successful. not every school may have to deal
conflict resolution courses, estab- Every community should in- with a violent shooter, nearly
lishing mentoring programs, devel- clude an early identification and every school experiences violent
oping self-esteem initiatives, or intervention program in their school threats. Communities and school

School Violence Prevention Options

Possible Environmental Modifications

• Installing metal detectors and video
School Management-Based
• Hiring security guards Strategies
• Adopting dress codes • Establishing behavior and discipline codes
• Removing lockers • Using criminal penalties against selected
• Controlling access into buildings students
• Identifying all campus visitors • Placing students into alternative educational
• Placing adults in hallways institutions
• Monitoring entrances • Conducting lawful and necessary searches
• Increasing lighting • Establishing community information-sharing

Education- and Curriculum-Based

Prevention Techniques See the OJJDP Annual Report on School
Safety for a listing of model programs and
• Teaching individuals conflict resolution additional resources (
• Establishing mentoring programs
• Creating self-esteem initiatives
• Developing community-oriented policing
and crime prevention efforts

20 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

administrations must prepare to emergencies, including various environment. The plans should
assess threats they receive and how school violence incidents. An easily include how to integrate tactical
to respond appropriately to them.7 accessible checklist that includes teams with police already on the
After implementation, adminis- how and when to notify emergency scene and how to deploy multiple
trators should, at regular intervals, services can prove most beneficial. teams in the event of a long-term or
evaluate the school violence pre- Law enforcement and school offi- large-scale situation.
vention plan against the goals and cials should work together to de- A large-scale school violence
objectives previously set. Adminis- velop procedures that cover such incident often requires more re-
trators must prepare to revise the emergencies as anthrax scares, sources than one agency can pro-
plan based on the results of the bomb threats, fires, severe inclem- vide and requires a joint response of
evaluation. ent weather, bus accidents, and many different organizations. Po-
shootings. lice administrators should develop
Planning an emergency management plan
Even with the best prevention that outlines command, control, and

plan in place, communities still communication procedures for a
must prepare for school violence in- multiagency response, as well as
cidents. Planning how to respond in general areas of responsibility for
the event of school violence re- Communities each agency.
quires a communitywide effort and must prepare for Because school violence inci-
includes numerous tasks. potential school dents generate media interest, agen-
Law enforcement should con- violence.... cies must develop a plan for han-
duct a tactical survey of schools.8 dling the media prior to an incident.

While the security audit serves to Police and schools should prepare
reduce or prevent school violence, to assist the media by providing
the tactical survey gathers informa- timely briefings, designating a me-
tion for use in planning a response. Developing first responder and dia representative for updates, and
The survey forms the foundation for immediate action drills also will establishing areas safe for filming,
all other planning efforts and should prove beneficial. Past incidents interviews, and other media
be accomplished before planning have shown the need for rapid, co- activities.
begins. Law enforcement, working ordinated response by the first of- School officials should develop
with school administrators, should ficers arriving at a school violence lock-down procedures to secure stu-
prepare and distribute tactical sur- incident. Patrol officers should es- dents and faculty in a school vio-
veys that include elements, such as tablish a perimeter, gather informa- lence situation. They also should
local maps, aerial photographs, tion, resolve disputes, and, depend- have procedures for evacuating stu-
property diagrams and floor plans, ing on the situation, locate and dents and faculty to safe areas, es-
and interior and exterior photo- neutralize shooters. Local police tablishing accountability, conduct-
graphs of the school. agencies should establish and ing immediate counseling or
School administrators should rehearse a mutual aid plan to ensure debriefings (if required), and coor-
develop emergency response plans. the use of the same response dinating the pickup of students by
Because faculty are often the first procedures. parents. Schools should work with
to respond to calls of school vio- Many school violence incidents police in developing these plans be-
lence, their initial actions can have do not require a tactical presence or cause tactical and investigative con-
tremendous impact on how safely may end before police tactical siderations may impact the evacua-
and quickly a situation is resolved. teams can deploy. However, tacti- tion or release of students.
Each school should have proce- cal teams still should develop pro- In a worst-case scenario, school
dures in place to handle different cedures for operating in a school violence can result in bloodshed—a

August 2001 / 21
Keys To Successful Exercises FACING CHALLENGES
• Identify clear training objectives In addressing school violence,
• Conduct coordination before the exercises communities face several key chal-
lenges. They must learn how to bal-
• Hold exercises after developing plans and completing training ance the need for a secure environ-
• Start with simple tasks and work progressively toward more ment with that of a learning
difficult ones environment. While many parents
• Conduct after-action reviews and schools welcome the increased
emphasis on security, others worry
• Link future training to results from past exercises that schools have become fortresses
that hamper learning. Communities
must examine their approach care-
fully and strike the right balance for
their students.
reality that officials must prepare to than justify the cost. Communities Communities must decide how
handle. School, police, and emer- that make planning a priority will to balance student and parental
gency response personnel should become prepared not only for rights with a community’s compel-
work together to develop a plan to school violence but also for lesser ling interest in safety. Many of the
triage, treat, and evacuate those in- situations that may require a coordi- techniques proposed to prevent
jured in a school violence situation. nated response. school violence may infringe upon
Even after the successful reso- student or parental rights. At the
lution of a school violence incident, Practice same time, administrators have a re-
much work remains. Communities The best-developed plans be- sponsibility to maintain safe
should develop a plan to provide come useless if they are never re- schools and must balance these
counseling and assistance to stu- hearsed or if no one knows they competing interests when develop-
dents, faculty, and emergency per- exist. Practice validates plans and ing a school safety plan.
sonnel. Police need to develop an identifies needed changes. It famil- Additionally, communities
investigative plan, establish evi- iarizes personnel with plans and must consider how to weigh the
dence recovery methods, and deter- partners, increases the confidence needs of many students against the
mine when they will return control of personnel involved, and gives the needs of a few students. Many
of the building to school officials. community a sense of security. teachers and parents applaud recent
School administrators should pre- Additionally, conducting drills can efforts at getting help for at-risk
pare to find an alternate location to help identify areas for future youth before violence erupts, yet
hold classes while police conduct training. Practice remains a critical some individuals criticize these ef-
their investigation. step in preparing for school vio- forts as putting the needs of a few
Due to the size and complexity lence and should include rehears- students ahead of the needs of the
of a school violence response, the ing school emergency response majority of the students. Communi-
various agencies involved should plans, first-responder action drills, ties must decide how far they
develop and sign mutual aid and tactical team actions, post-incident should go to address some students’
notification agreements. These command exercises, media plans, special needs and consider the
agreements should specify roles mass casualty plans, multiagency impact on other students.
and responsibilities for each exercises, and field exercises. Be-
agency. cause no substitute for practice CONCLUSION
School violence planning re- exists, this step remains critical Because every community is
quires a large investment of time, in addressing school violence and unique, individual approaches to
personnel, and resources. How- requires a strong commitment by addressing school violence should
ever, the possible benefits more communities. be slightly different. Communities

22 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

should seek the advice and help help them make informed decisions Dale Yeager, quoted in R. Kanable,
“Patrolling the Schools,” Law Enforcement
of other communities that have ad- about school violence. Technology, September 1999.
dressed similar problems, adapt Finally, and perhaps most im- 4
See, for example, U.S. Department of
these solutions, and tailor their ap- portant, communities must take a Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and
proach to their specific situations. proactive approach when address- Delinquency Prevention, “The Annual Report
on School Safety,” (Washington, DC); http://
Communities must take a team ing school violence. As previous; accessed
approach to addressing school tragic events have shown, no February 23, 2001.
violence. Addressing specific is- amount of preparation can ever 5
Alexander Volokh and Lisa Snell, “School
sues requires cooperation among eliminate school violence, but Violence Prevention: Strategies to Keep Schools
Safe,” Reason Public Policy Institute, January
schools, families, police, and other proper preparation can help 1998;
community members. If school vio- reduce its impact on American ps234.html; accessed February 23, 2001.
lence should occur, a community communities. 6
The U.S. Department of Education has
will rely on many agencies to published “Early Warning, Timely Response: A
Guide to Safe Schools,” which describes how to
respond. No one agency holds Endnotes develop and implement an early identification
the key; rather, teamwork stands as 1
and intervention program;
the definitive method of acheiving U.S. Department of Justice, Federal
offices/OSERS/OSEP/earlywrn.html; accessed
Bureau of Investigation, “The School Shooter:
success. A Threat Assessment Perspective, 2000,”
March 15, 2001.
For additional information, see, supra
Remaining well informed rep- (Washington, DC, 2000);;
note 1.
resents the best approach when accessed March 14, 2001.
For additional information, see F. Hoang,
addressing school violence. Com- For additional information on school
“Preplanning for School Violence,” Law and
violence, see S. Band and J. Harpold, “School
munity officials should refer to the Violence: Lessons Learned,” FBI Law
Order, December 2000, 107-109.
plethora of resources available to Enforcement Bulletin, September 1999, 9-15.

The Bulletin’s
E-mail Address

T he FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin staff invites

you to communicate with us via e-mail. Our
Internet address is
We would like to know your thoughts on
contemporary law enforcement issues. We
welcome your comments, questions, and
suggestions about the magazine. Please
include your name, title, and agency
on all e-mail messages.
Also, the Bulletin is available
for viewing or downloading on a
number of computer services,
as well as the FBI’s home page.
The home page address is

August 2001 / 23
Book Review

Several case summaries on females as mass

murderers and serial killers of children and adults
placed emphasis on agencies revisiting their for-
mal and accepted definitions of child killers. The
author further established that the male killer of
children specialized in a pattern involving target-
ed strangers, certain sex and age groups, or physi-
cal appearance with sexual motivations, while the
females studied killed children they knew.
Research tables, in matrix form, present
the data for the reader to analyze and compare.
Identification of significant research problems
and causal explanations supported by discussion
of key factors surrounding child killers and
victims comprise a vital chapter resulting from
the author’s efforts. Also, the author includes an
The Loss of Innocents: Child Killers and interesting topology grouping of multiple child
Their Victims by Cara E. Richards, Scholarly killers into five categories—disciple killer, family
Resource, Inc., Publishing, Wilmington, annihilator, pseudo-commando, disgruntled
Delaware, 2000. employee, and set-and-run killer.
The Loss of Innocents: Child Killers and The last section of the book contains 17 sig-
Their Victims presents a compilation of profes- nificant recommendations of the study for mul-
sional research efforts from 1983 through the tiple jurisdictions to assess for reducing violence
1990s that provides an assessment of over 200 against children. They range from clarifying,
cases of children and adults who participated in simplifying, and standardizing definitions to using
multiple murders. It supplements other research child killer case reviews for learning more about
on homicide and violence, including those perpetrator and victim patterns of killings to
research and publication efforts conducted by increase gun safety education and legislation
the U.S. Department of Justice. for adults and children.
In view of the confidential sensitivity and The Loss of Innocents: Child Killers and
protection afforded juveniles, the author’s use of Their Victims is well documented, correlated, and
data extracted from newspapers of several major presented for those having no prior experience or
U.S. cities proved notable. The author identified knowledge of the subject to such professionals as
and analyzed demographic information in terms juvenile and adult court judges and probation
of the perpetrators’ patterns, random and selected officers, prosecutors, and state legislators. It also
victims, relationship with each other, rationale will interest experienced and newly appointed
for killing, and methods used. Data ranged from law enforcement officers, homicide investigators,
children as the perpetrators or victims of mass social workers and service agencies, emergency
and serial murdering to children as the victims of room medical personnel, prosecutors, and investi-
unintended and unfortunate cases of being in the gative media reporters.
wrong place at the wrong time. Those victims of
bad decisions—illicit drugs in the home, animal Reviewed by Larry R. Moore
attacks, home accidents, and drive-by shootings— Certified Emergency Manager
represent the result of placing children at high International Association of Emergency Managers
risk, which cost them their lives. Knoxville, Tennessee

24 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Legal Digest

Dickerson v.
United States

T he Fifth Amendment of the

U.S. Constitution states, in
part, that “ person shall
be compelled in any criminal case
to be a witness against himself.”
Like other Constitutional provi-
sions, this requirement has “both
the virtue of brevity and the vice of
ambiguity.”1 This Fifth Amend-
ment provision formed the basis of
the Supreme Court’s decision
in Miranda v. Arizona.2 Recently,
in Dickerson v. United States,3 the
Supreme Court further defined the
impact of the Miranda decision on
the law of interrogations. This
article examines the Dickerson de- © Mark C. Ide
cision and its implications for law
enforcement. the U.S. Supreme Court specifically was “but a crystallization”10 of the
adopted the common law rule that a common law rule that only volun-
THE ADMISSIBILITY voluntary confession is presumed to tary confessions are admissible as
OF CONFESSIONS be reliable and, therefore, admis- evidence. Then, in 1936, the Su-
BEFORE MIRANDA sible. The Court held in Hopt that a preme Court in Brown v. Missis-
Prior to Miranda,4 the admissi- confession is voluntary if not in- sippi11 invoked the Due Process
bility of incriminating statements of duced by threat or promise.8 Clause as another constitutional ba-
a suspect was evaluated under a Subsequent decisions of the sis for its requirement that a confes-
voluntariness test, which developed U.S. Supreme Court recognized two sion be made voluntarily. Thereaf-
under early common law. Eventu- constitutional rationales for the ter, a confession was admissible
ally, courts began to recognize that voluntariness requirement: the Fifth only if voluntary within the mean-
certain confessions were not trust- Amendment right against self-in- ing of the Due Process Clause.12
worthy.5 Although different stan- crimination and the Due Process The Supreme Court cases that
dards were used to determine Clause of the Fourteenth Amend- followed Brown13 refined the test
whether a confession was trust- ment. In 1897, the Supreme Court into an inquiry that examined
worthy, a confession generally was first asserted in Bram v. United “whether a defendant’s will
considered to be reliable only if States9 that the Fifth Amendment was overborne” by the circum-
made voluntarily.6 In Hopt v. Utah,7 privilege against self-incrimination stances surrounding the giving of

August 2001 / 25
“ The Dickerson
decision did
not alter the
not prefaced by complete Miranda
warnings also may result in sup-
pression. For a statement to be ad-
missible under Miranda, it has to be
both voluntary and prefaced by
complete Miranda warnings, which
requirements are intelligently, knowingly, and
Miranda placed on voluntarily waived. The Court also
law enforcement. has held that once individuals in-
voke their right to counsel, officers
immediately must cease interroga-

Special Agent Petrowski is a legal

instructor at the FBI Academy. ” tion until counsel is present or the
suspects initiate further contact and
unequivocally communicate the de-
sire to proceed without counsel.18
Passage of 18 U.S.C. § 3501.
a confession and took into account of a suspect is presumed involun- In Miranda, the Court said that
“the totality of all the surrounding tary and, therefore, inadmissible “[w]e encourage Congress and the
circumstances—both the character- unless the police first provide the States to continue their laudable
istics of the accused and the details suspect with four specific warn- search for increasingly effective
of the interrogation.”14 The rule ings.16 The four warnings are—17 ways of protecting the rights of
governing the admissibility of con- 1) that the suspect has the the individual while promoting
fessions in federal court remained right to remain silent; efficient enforcement of our
the same for nearly 180 years: con- criminal laws. However, unless
2) that any statements he
fessions were admissible at trial if we are shown other procedures
makes can be used against
made voluntarily. which are at least as effective in
appraising accused persons of
THE MIRANDA DECISION 3) that he has the right to the
their right of silence and in assur-
presence of an attorney during
ing a continuous opportunity to ex-
A New Approach questioning; and
ercise it, the...safeguards must be
In 1966, the Supreme Court de- 4) that an attorney will be observed.”19
cided Miranda v. Arizona. In what appointed for him if he cannot In 1968, 2 years after Miranda
is arguably its most controversial afford one. was decided, Congress accepted the
criminal law decision,15 the Su- The Court did not eliminate the Court’s invitation to show “other
preme Court, in a 5-4 decision, voluntariness inquiry. Consequent- procedures” and enacted 18 U.S.C.
changed the focus of the inquiry to ly, an incriminating statement may § 3501 20 (hereafter § 3501).
determine the admissibility of sus- be prefaced by Miranda warnings Through § 3501, Congress at-
pects’ incriminating statements by but still be involuntary, which may tempted to overrule Miranda and
announcing a new approach. Spe- result in suppression of the state- reinstate the voluntariness test
cifically, the Court made the case- ment. That is, a law enforcement as the sole determinant for admissi-
by-case totality-of-the-circum- interrogator cannot physically bility of confessions in federal
stances voluntariness analysis a threaten or otherwise inappropri- court. The statute explicitly aban-
supplementary consideration and ately coerce a confession simply doned the requirement of pre-inter-
identified a new primary focus. The because the warnings have been rogation warnings in favor of an
Court held that any statement aris- given and waived. Likewise, a approach that considers such warn-
ing from the custodial interrogation clearly voluntary statement that was ings only one factor in determining

26 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

the voluntariness of a subject’s in- At the FBI field office, and (d), and on three counts of using
criminating statements. This left Dickerson was interviewed by an a firearm during, and in relation to,
law enforcement agencies in a FBI agent and a detective of the a crime of violence in violation of
quandary over which rule to follow. Alexandria Police Department. It is 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1).21
Despite the passage of § 3501, uncontested that at some point dur- At the inevitable evidence sup-
law enforcement agencies generally ing the interview, Dickerson appro- pression hearing, Dickerson testi-
followed the Miranda rule and ig- priately was given his Miranda fied that his confession was made
nored the statute. This is most likely warnings and that he knowingly and before he received his Miranda
due to the common approach of law voluntarily waived his rights in warnings and, therefore, violated
enforcement agencies to take the writing. It also is uncontested that Miranda. The interviewing FBI
more conservative option when Dickerson confessed to the Alex- agent testified that Dickerson con-
such a conflict presents itself. The andria bank robbery and numer- fessed after receiving his Miranda
Department of Justice, through the ous others and identified an accom- warnings and voluntarily waiving
seven administrations between plice. During the interview of them. There was no question that
Miranda and Dickerson, refused to the confession was voluntary, but
argue § 3501 and also followed the only whether it was made before or

Miranda decision in confession after Dickerson was warned and
cases. waived his Miranda rights. The dis-
Departments must trict court judge suppressed his
THE DICKERSON CASE confession. The suppression of the
ensure that their
confession was appealed to the
The Facts officers do not U.S. Court of Appeals for the
On January 24, 1997, an indi- interrogate ‘outside Fourth Circuit.
vidual robbed the First Virginia Miranda,’ and The Fourth Circuit decided
Bank in Old Town, Alexandria, immediately abandon there was sufficient evidence in the
Virginia, of approximately $876. any condoned practice record to support the district court’s
An eyewitness saw the robber exit or policy of intentional finding that Dickerson had not been
the bank, run down the street, and given his Miranda rights prior to
get into a vehicle. Subsequent in-
violations of Miranda. confessing.22 However, the Fourth

vestigation into the bank robbery Circuit reversed the lower court’s
revealed that the getaway car was decision to suppress the confession,
registered to Charles T. Dickerson finding the lower court used the
of Takoma Park, Maryland. On Dickerson, the interviewing agents wrong standard to judge the
January 27, 1997, FBI agents and an made application for, and received, confession’s admissibility. The
Alexandria police detective trav- a telephonic search warrant for Fourth Circuit decided that by pass-
eled to Dickerson’s residence. The Dickerson’s apartment. The search ing § 3501, Congress had lawfully
agents knocked on Dickerson’s warrant was executed while the in- changed the test for the admission
door and identified themselves. terview continued. The agents con- of confessions in federal court from
After a short conversation, an ducting the search found substantial the stricter Miranda rule to the less
FBI agent asked Dickerson if he evidence implicating Dickerson in stringent totality-of-the-circum-
would accompany them to the several bank robberies. He was ar- stances test. Using that less strin-
FBI field office in Washington, rested and indicted on one count of gent standard, the Fourth Circuit
D.C. Dickerson agreed. While in conspiracy to commit bank robbery found that the government’s failure
Dickerson’s apartment, the agents in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, to give Miranda warnings was
saw evidence of the bank robbery in on three counts of bank robbery only one factor to be considered
plain view. in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) when judging voluntariness of the

August 2001 / 27
confession. Because the lower court and a disappointment to many.28 Section 1983 requires inten-
already had found Dickerson’s con- The decision clearly elevates the tional conduct or gross negligence
fession to be voluntary, the Fourth warning requirements of Miranda by the government employee. Mere
Circuit reversed. The U.S. Supreme to Constitutional proportions; the negligence is not actionable under
Court agreed to finally decide the single most significant practical im- §1983.33 For example, if an interro-
issue. pact of which is potential civil li- gator were to negligently give de-
ability of individual law enforce- fective warnings, this would not
The Decision ment officers and their departments result in §1983 liability.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued resulting from intentional viola- In addition to the individual of-
its opinion on Dickerson on June tions of the warning requirements ficer being exposed to §1983 liabil-
26, 2000. In a 7-2 decision, the court mandated in Miranda. ity, the agency or department also
held that Miranda is a Constitu- can be sued for Constitutional vio-
tional decision and, therefore, could lations arising from official policy

not be overruled by an Act of Con- or other customs or practices of the
gress.23 The Court not only affirmed entity.34 Inadequate training also
Miranda but also declared it a Con- ...the Court held may be the basis for liability if the
stitutional rule.24 Aside from elabo- that Miranda is failure to train amounts to a deliber-
rating in great detail as to why its a Constitutional ate indifference to rights of per-
finding that Miranda is Constitu- decision and, sons with whom police come in
tionally required was consistent therefore, could not contact.35
with its original decision and its Prior to the Supreme Court’s
progeny, the Court gave two other
be overruled by an decision in Dickerson, the clear ma-
noteworthy justifications. The Act of Congress. jority view among the federal cir-

Court found that “Miranda has be- cuits was that no cause of action for
come embedded in routine police money damages existed under
practice to the point where the §1983 where police officers alleg-
warnings have become part of our Title 42 U.S.C. § 198329 (here- edly violated Miranda principles by
national culture.”25 The Court also after §1983) provides a federal rem- either failing to give Miranda warn-
said “...experience suggests that the edy for deprivations of federal Con- ings or by continuing to question a
totality-of-the-circumstances test stitutional rights by authorizing defendant in custody after his re-
which § 3501 seeks to revive is suits against public officials and quest for an attorney.36 The ratio-
more difficult than Miranda for government entities.30 To recover nale prior to Dickerson was that the
law enforcement officers to con- under § 1983, a civil rights plaintiff U.S. Constitution did not guarantee
form to, and for courts to apply must prove two elements: 1) inten- the right to Miranda warnings.
in a consistent manner.”26 Thus, tional deprivation of a federally Dickerson only can be read to have
32 years after enactment, § 3501 protected right “secured by the changed this and to have created
has been ruled unconstitutional, and Constitution and the laws of the the requisite Constitutional right
the precustodial interrogation United States,” and 2) state action that satisfies the previously void
requirements of Miranda have under color of law.31 Section 1983 §1983 element. While the Court in
been given “a permanent place in was applied to federal law enforce- Dickerson did not expressly address
our jurisprudence.”27 ment agencies in Bivens v. Six Un- the issue of civil liability and may at
known Federal Narcotics Agents.32 some future time limit §1983 liabil-
PRACTICAL A host of individual state causes of ity exposure in the Miranda con-
IMPLICATIONS: action mirror §1983 suits that can text, the only prudent course for law
CIVIL LIABILITY result in liability to the department enforcement officers today is to
The Supreme Court’s decision and personal liability to the indi- proceed assuming that this §1983
in Dickerson was both a surprise vidual officer. cause of action is now viable.

28 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

In any §1983 civil action, the Stay “Inside” Miranda Departments must ensure that
issue of qualified immunity is al- In Supreme Court decisions their officers do not interrogate
ways present. Qualified immunity subsequent to Miranda, the Court “outside Miranda,” and immedi-
is available to defendants in a §1983 recognized legitimate uses for state- ately abandon any condoned prac-
suit if they can show the actions in ments taken in technical violation tice or policy of intentional viola-
question did not violate any clearly of the Miranda requirements but tions of Miranda. The clearest
established law of which they voluntarily made. 42 Such state- example of this is the continuation
should have been aware at the time; ments may be used to impeach a of questioning after a suspect un-
in other words, the actions were defendant’s trial testimony if the equivocally has invoked his right to
within the law and objectively rea- defendant takes the stand and testi- counsel. This also would include
sonable. 37 Because the issue of fies inconsistently with prior state- the practice of interrogating before
Miranda’s Constitutionality has ments43 or at a subsequent trial for the warnings are given (with a view
been squarely addressed by the Su- perjury resulting from the false trial toward having suspects make in-
preme Court—and thus “clearly es- © Mark C. Ide
criminating statements and then be
tablished”—it is unlikely that law given the warnings, which are likely
enforcement officers (or their de- to be waived because they already
partment) would be entitled to have incriminated themselves).
qualified immunity for intentional While it is likely that voluntary
violations of the Miranda require- statements made in technical viola-
ment.38 tion of Miranda will remain admis-
The potential for actual (com- sible for the limited purposes de-
pensatory) damages for such a law- scribed above, they clearly are
suit obviously would be limited. exposing interrogating officers and
But there is always the possibility of their departments to civil liability.
punitive damages39 and attorney’s Departments must avoid even the
fees,40 which make even minor vio- appearance of intentionally con-
lations a potential suit. As any expe- ducting interrogations not in strict
rienced law enforcement manager compliance with Miranda.
understands, there is no such thing
as an insignificant §1983 lawsuit. testimony. Witnesses identified in Do Not “Over-Mirandize”
Even suits that are ultimately won statements taken in technical viola- Law enforcement departments
are costly and substantially hinder tion of Miranda also may testify.44 must be mindful of another obvious
the mission of the department, thus These permissible uses of incrimi- trap for those who are unwary or
affecting public safety. In §1983 nating statements obtained in viola- lack confidence in the practical ap-
lawsuits, “the only true victory tion of Miranda have led to a prac- plications of Miranda: the tendency
is the avoidance of conflict tice in law enforcement of to repeatedly or unnecessarily give
completely.”41 intentionally questioning in viola- Miranda warnings. Any experi-
tion of Miranda. This practice is enced law enforcement interrogator
PRACTICAL GUIDANCE commonly referred to as question- has seen this in practice. In an effort
The Dickerson decision did not ing “outside Miranda.” In fact, nu- to guarantee absolute Miranda
alter the requirements Miranda merous law enforcement agencies compliance during a conversation
placed on law enforcement. It did, have encouraged and provided with a suspect, many law enforce-
however, establish liability expo- training in this practice, which has ment officers will give repeated
sure to law enforcement officers been impacted significantly by the warnings or, more commonly, pro-
and their departments for failure to Dickerson decision and now invites vide warnings when they obviously
comply with those requirements. § 1983 lawsuits. are not required.

August 2001 / 29
Repeated warnings usually prosecution must be able to estab- Constitutional violation. Aside
happen when an officer contacts a lish that the Miranda requirements from exposing officers and depart-
suspect who recently has been prop- were met. Law enforcement manag- ments to civil liability, this may ex-
erly warned, but gives the warnings ers should reevaluate their policies acerbate the problem of unnecessar-
again to ensure compliance with regarding the use of written waiver ily providing Miranda warnings.
Miranda. While no Supreme Court forms and the number of officers Law enforcement managers
decision addresses how “fresh” a present during a rights warning and should reevaluate their existing
warning has to be, the common ap- waiver. They should consider vid- training and policies that address
proach is to re-advise only after an eotaping at least the rights warning the practices of their personnel con-
extended break in interrogation has and waiver, if not the entire inter- ducting interviews and interroga-
occurred. Unnecessary warnings view. The facts in Dickerson dem- tions. Now, more important than
occur when law enforcement offic- onstrate how a lawful and docu- ever, intentional violations of
ers fail to realize that the suspect is mented advice of rights and waiver Miranda must cease.
not in custody and/or not being in- still can result in a confession being
terrogated.45 Either of these sce- suppressed. Endnotes
narios is most likely to happen 1
Jacob W. Landyski, Search and Seizure
when the investigation involves a

and the Supreme Court: A Study in Constitu-
serious crime or is for some other tional Interpretation (Baltimore, MD: The
reason a high profile matter.46 Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), 42, commenting
Both “over-Mirandizing” sce- ...the Court not only on the Fourth Amendment.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
narios were a problem prior to affirmed Miranda but 3
Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428
Dickerson.47 Now, in addition to also declared it a (2000).
apprehension about statements be- Constitutional rule. 4
Id. Also see generally United States v.
Dickerson, 166 F.3rd 667 (4th Cir. 1999).
ing suppressed, law enforcement

The King v. Rudd, 168 Eng. Rep. 160
officers will be further burdened (K.B.1783) (holding that “no credit ought to be
by the possibility of civil liability. given” to “a confession forced from the mind
The inevitable result will be an by the flattery of hope, or by the torture of
even greater tendency to “over- CONCLUSION fear”) and references thereto by the U.S. Court
The Dickerson decision el- of Appeals, Fourth Circuit in United States v.
Mirandize.” The answer for law Dickerson, 166 F.3rd 667 (4th Cir. 1999).
enforcement is more training. evated the warning requirements of 6
Regina v. Garner, 169 Eng. Rep. 267
Miranda to Constitutional propor- (Ct.Crim.App.1848); Regina v. Baldry, 169
The Need for Training tions. The decision has no practical Eng. Rep. 568 (Ct.Crim.App.1852) and
and Sound Policies impact on the requirements placed references thereto in United States v.
Dickerson, 166 F.3rd 667 (4th Cir. 1999).
A thorough understanding of all on law enforcement departments 7
110 U.S. 574 (1884).
aspects of Miranda by all members and agencies in complying with 8
Id. at 577 (citing Baldry, 169 Eng. Rep.
of a department is a substantial Miranda. The timing of the warn- 568 (Ct.Crim.App.1852)); see also Pierce v.
ings (i.e., before any interrogation United States, 160 U.S. 355, 357 (1896).
training task. That said, the only 9
168 U.S. 532 (1897).
way to minimize lost evidence and occurs of a subject who is in cus- 10
Id. at 542 (stating that whether a
potential civil liability caused by a tody) and the substance of the warn- confession is voluntary “is controlled by that
lack of understanding of Miranda is ings have remained unchanged. portion of the Fifth Amendment...commanding
The critical impact of the that no person ‘shall be compelled in any
training supported by solid depart-
criminal case to be a witness against himself’”
ment policies. Dickerson decision is that inten- (quoting the Fifth Amendment to the U.S.
Another aspect of interrogation tional violations of the require- Constitution)).
largely controlled by policy is the ments of Miranda, commonly 11
297 U.S. 278 (1936).
known as questioning “outside The Supreme Court first defined
documentation used to record
“compulsion” in Bram, stating that a confession
Miranda warnings and waivers. As Miranda,” now may provide the “must not be extracted by any sort of threat or
demonstrated in Dickerson, the basis for a lawsuit alleging a federal violence, nor obtained by any direct or implied

30 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

promises, however slight, nor by the exertion of evidence if it is voluntarily given. Before such conspiracy, bank robbery, and firearms charges)
any improper influence.” See, e.g., Haynes v. confession is received in evidence, the trial in Federal District Court, Alexandria, VA.
Washington, 373 U.S. 503 (1963); Ashcraft v. judge shall, out of the presence of the jury, For reasons not disclosed in the record,
Tennessee, 322 U.S. 143 (1944); Chambers v. determine any issue as to voluntariness. If the the government relied exclusively on the
Florida, 309 U.S. 227 (1940). trial judge determines that the confession was testimony of the interviewing FBI agent and did
The Supreme Court applied the due voluntarily made it shall be admitted in not use other evidence, such as the testimony of
process voluntariness test in “some 30 different evidence and the trial judge shall permit the an Alexandria Police Detective (who had been
cases decided during the era that intervened jury to hear relevant evidence on the issue of present for the entire interview) or a written
between Brown and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 voluntariness and shall instruct the jury to give statement of Dickerson that clearly demon-
U.S. 478 (1964).” Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, such weight to the confession as the jury feels it strated that he had received his Miranda
412 U.S. 218, at 226 (1973). See also, Haynes, deserves under all the circumstances. warnings prior to confessing. The Fourth
supra, at 513; Gallegos v. Colorado, 370 U.S. (b) The trial judge in determining the issue Circuit was unable to find as matter of law that
49, 55 (1962); Reck v. Pate, 367 U.S. 433, 440 of voluntariness shall take into consideration all the lower court erred in its factual findings
(1961) (“[A]ll the circumstances attendant upon the circumstances surrounding the giving of the supporting the suppression of Dickerson’s
the confession must be taken into account”); confession, including (1) the time elapsing statements. In reviewing the decision of the
Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 404 between arrest and arraignment of the defendant District Court in suppressing the statements, the
(1945). making the confession, if it was made after Fourth Circuit stated that:
Dickerson, 530 U.S. at 434, citing arrest and before arraignment, (2) whether such [The Alexandria police detective], who
Schneckloth, 412 U.S. at 223. defendant knew the nature of the offense with was in the interview room with Dickerson
The Miranda decision is clearly one of the which he was charged or of which he was at all times, stated in his affidavit that
Supreme Court’s most well-known and prolific “Dickerson was read his Miranda rights
© Mark C. Ide
cases. As of May 27, 2001, Westlaw reported before he made th[e] statements”
that Miranda had been cited in judicial implicating the First Virginia
decisions, treatises or other scholarly articles Bank robbery.... In fact, [the Alexandria
29,031 times. police detective] testified that when
It is critical for law enforcement officers Dickerson was read his Miranda rights he
to understand that this is a “bright-line” rule. still denied any involvement in the bank
There is no balancing test nor good faith robbery. According to [the Alexandria
exception. A completely voluntary statement by police detective], it was not until
a subject prompted by a law enforcement Dickerson was told that agents had found
interrogator with the best of intentions will be a bait bill from a bank robbery in his
suppressed if there is any material deviation apartment that he decided to confess.
from the Miranda requirements. This is
Attached to [the Alexandria police
contrary to the more familiar Fourth Amend-
detective]’s affidavit was a hand-written
ment search and seizure requirements (which
statement that Dickerson made while at
law enforcement officers typically spend far
the FBI field office in which he stated that
more time with than Fifth Amendment issues).
he “was read [his] rights [at a time clearly
Fourth Amendment analyses are grounded in a
before his confession and issuance of the
warrant]”.... Thus, according to his own
approach and balance the interests of the suspected at the time of making the confession, hand-written note, Dickerson was read
individual versus those of the public. The (3) whether or not such defendant was advised his Miranda warnings prior to implicat-
Supreme Court said in Graham v. Connor, 490 or knew that he was not required to make any ing the First Virginia Bank
U.S. 386, at 396 (1989) (quoting Bell v. statement and that any such statement could be
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979)) that “[t]he test of robbery.”
used against him, (4) whether or not such
reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is defendant had been advised prior to questioning U.S. v. Dickerson (4th Cir.) at 676-677
not capable of precise definition or mechanical of his right to the assistance of counsel, and (5) (emphasis added).
application....” But, the Court made clear in whether or not such defendant was without the An Act of Congress will not be enforced
Miranda that the test of voluntariness under assistance of counsel when questioned and by the courts if what it prescribes violates the
the Fifth Amendment is. when giving such confession. Constitution of the United States. Such judicial
Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444. The presence or absence of any of the review of the legislative branch was established
See generally Edwards v. Arizona, 451 above-mentioned factors to be taken into in Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L.Ed.
U.S. 477 (1981). consideration by the judge need not be 60 (1803).
19 24
Miranda, 384 U.S. at 467. conclusive on the issue of voluntariness of the Dickerson, 530 U.S. 444. “In sum, we
18 U.S.C. § 3501 provides, in relevant confession.” conclude that Miranda announced a constitu-
part: 21
On October 6, 2000, in the aftermath of tional rule that Congress may not supersede
“(a) In any criminal prosecution brought by the Supreme Court decision, Dickerson was legislatively...[and] we decline to overrule
the United States or by the District of found guilty after a jury trial of three of the Miranda ourselves.”
Columbia, a confession...shall be admissible in original seven counts (one count each of the Id.

August 2001 / 31
Dickerson, 530 U.S. 444. statutory or constitutional rights of which a and, thus, the witness’ trial testimony would not
Id., (dissent of Justice Scalia). While 32 reasonable person would have known.” Harlow be viewed as “fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree.”
years seems a long time for an Act of Congress v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). See Michigan v. Tucker, 417 U.S. 433 (1974).
to be held unconstitutional, it is not the record. also Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 A suspect must reasonably believe (from
Apparently, the longest such delay is the 122 (1987), in which the Court defined what the perspective of an objectively reasonable
years it took the Supreme Court to declare18 constitutes a clearly established right: innocent person) that he or she is in custody,
U.S.C. 474 (enacted in 1862) unconstitutional The contours of the right must be suffi- regardless of the intention of the interrogating
in Regan v. Time, Inc., 468 U.S. 641 (1984). ciently clear that a reasonable official would law enforcement officer. See Stansbury v.
To appreciate how controversial the understand that what he is doing violates that California, 114 S. Ct. 205 (1988). Also, there
Miranda through Dickerson line of cases are, right. This is not to say that an official action is must be interrogation. That is, questioning or its
one need look no further then the dissenting protected by qualified immunity unless the very “functional equivalent,” which is reasonably
opinion of Justice Scalia, with whom Justice action in question has previously been held likely to illicit incriminating information. See
Thomas joins, in Dickerson, 530 U.S. 444 unlawful,...but it is to say that in the light of Brewer v. Williams, 430 U.S. 387 (1977) and
Title 42 U.S.C. §1983 provides in pre-existing law the unlawfulness must be Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291 (1980). For
pertinent part: “Every person who, under color apparent. Miranda warnings to be legally required, both
of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or custody and interrogation must be present. If
usage, of any State...subjects, or causes to be a suspect is in custody, warnings need not be

subjected, any citizen of the United given until interrogation begins. Likewise, if
the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or a suspect is not in custody and is being
immunities secured by the Constitution and questioned by the police, warnings need not
laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an
...questioning ‘outside be given.
action at law, suit in equity, or other proper Miranda,’ now may 46
See Colorado v. Connelly, 107 S. Ct.
proceeding for redress.”
See Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167
provide the basis for 515 (1987) for an excellent example of this.
Connelly, who had brutally murdered a young
(1961). a lawsuit alleging a girl, walked up to a police officer on a street
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S.
922, 930 (1982) (quoting Flagg Brothers v.
federal Constitutional corner in Denver and began explaining to the
officer what he had done. Connelly was clearly
Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-56 (1978)). violation. neither in custody nor was the police officer

102 S.Ct. 2727 (1982). interrogating him. But as soon as the officer
Daniels v. Williams, 106 S. Ct. 662 understood this involved a possible murder he
(1986). See also Sacramento v. Lewis, 118 abruptly interrupted Connelly and gave
S.Ct.1708 (1998). Miranda warnings and continued to interrupt
Monell v. Department of Social Services 38
See Reser v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Connelly’s attempts at unburdening his
of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Police Department, 242 F.3rd 383, 2000 WL conscience to ascertain if Connelly was insane
City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 1585648 (9th Cir.(Nev.)) (October 20, 2000) or under the influence of something. The officer
378 (1989). where the court affirmed entitlement of was unwary as to the requirements of Miranda
Examples of federal circuit courts qualified immunity in a §1983 lawsuit to a and attempted to compensate by grossly
expressly finding no such (preDickerson) §1983 detective for actions occurring during an exceeding the requirements. See also Judge
liability include: Giuffre v. Bissell, 31 F.3d interrogation that occurred prior to the Harold J. Rothwax, Guilty - The Collapse of the
1241, 1256 (3d Cir.1994), Bennett v. Passic, Dickerson decision. The court explicitly said Criminal Justice System, (New York, NY:
545 F.2d 1260, 1263 (10th Cir.1976), Warren that because the interrogation occurred before Warner Books, 1997), 66-69, for poignant
v. City of Lincoln, Neb., 864 F.2d 1436, 1442 the Dickerson decision, the Constitutionality of commentary on this case.
(8th Cir.1989), and Thornton v. Buchmann, 392 Miranda warnings had not been clearly The Court in Dickerson, as noted above,
F.2d 870, 874 (7th Cir.1968). The only federal established at the time of the interrogation. opined that Miranda is easier for law enforce-
circuit that allowed such §1983 actions was the 39
42 U.S.C. §1983, at subsection LVII. ment officers to conform to, and for courts to
Ninth Circuit. See Cooper v. Dupnik, 963 F.2d 40
42 U.S.C. §1988(b). apply in a consistent manner, than the totality-
1220 (9th Cir.1992), and California Attorneys 41
Sun Tzu, The Art of War (Boston, MA: of-the-circumstances test. They make no
for Criminal Justice v. Butts, 195 F.3d 1039 Shambhala, 1991). This is a translation of an mention of countless incriminating statements
(9th Cir. 1999) (holding that not only was the ancient Chinese work of unknown original date. that were never made because of unnecessary or
§1983 action appropriate, but the police officers 42
Incriminating statements made involun- excessive Miranda warnings and the impact
involved were not entitled to qualified tarily under the Due Process Clause may never this has had on the legitimate interests of
immunity when they continued to question the be used for any purpose. Arizona v. criminal justice.
suspects/plaintiffs after they invoked their Fulminante, 499 U.S. 279 (1991).
Miranda rights). 43
Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222 (1971). Law enforcement officers of other than
The standard for qualified immunity is Ironically, Dickerson’s suppressed confession federal jurisdiction who are interested in
this article should consult their legal
“[G]overnment officials performing eventually was used against him at trial to advisors. Some police procedures ruled
discretionary functions, generally are shielded impeach his in-court testimony. permissible under federal constitutional law
from liability for civil damages insofar as their 44
While the defendant’s statement would be are of questionable legality under state law
conduct does not violate clearly established excluded from trial, the discovery of the witness or are not permitted at all.

32 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

The Bulletin Notes
Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each
challenge freely and unselfishly while answering the call to duty. In certain instances, their actions
warrant special attention from their respective departments. The Bulletin also wants to recognize
their exemplary service to the law enforcement profession.

While patrolling the Intracoastal Waterway in the City of Hollywood,

Florida, Officer Tim Nicholls observed a 24-foot cabin cruiser on fire. After
notifying the dispatcher, Officer Nicholls responded to the scene to find the boat
occupied by a father and his three children. As the boat’s engine burned, Officer
Nicholls disregarded his own safety, boarded the burning vessel, and rescued
all four occupants. After ensuring the occupants reached the safety of his police
boat, Officer Nicholls then attempted to suppress the flames with a fire extin-
guisher. Unsuccessful at his attempts, Officer Nicholls tied a line to the burning
boat and towed it to the boat ramps and awaited the fire department. Although
the vessel sustained more than $15,000 in damage, Officer Nicholls’ selfless
Officer Nicholls actions saved the lives of three small children and their father.

After responding to a 911 call of domestic violence at a residence, Officer

David Rousselle of the North Tonawanda, New York, Police Department
began searching for the male suspect who fled the scene. Shortly after, Officer
Rousselle spotted the suspect in his vehicle, stopped the vehicle, and attempted
to question the man; however, the suspect insisted that he was going home and
proceeded to drive away. The suspect pulled in front of his residence and re-
mained in his locked vehicle communicating with Officer Rousselle through
a partially opened window. After learning his arrest was imminent, the suspect
retrieved a gasoline can from inside his vehicle and began pouring gas on him-
self and reiterated threats
Officer Rousselle that he was not going back
to jail and that he was Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based
going to kill himself. When Officer Rousselle on either the rescue of one or more citizens or arrest(s)
noticed that the man had a lighter and was made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety. Submissions
attempting use it, he immediately broke the should include a short write-up (maximum of 250
words), a separate photograph of each nominee, and a
window and safely removed the gasoline-soaked letter from the department’s ranking officer endorsing
suspect from the vehicle, without regard for the nomination. Submissions should be sent to the
his own personal safety. Officer Rousselle’s Editor, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, FBI Academy,
quick thinking and selfless actions prevented Madison Building, Room 209, Quantico, VA 22135.
a tragedy.
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