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Escape Plan: Learning to practice situational awareness
Never underestimate our ability to find
the truth.
In this month's edition of VantagePoints, we present two articles. The first discusses how expectations of privacy changed after the attacks of 9/11, and the underwhelming reaction to the wholesale collection of private data conducted in the name of national security.
The second article presents methods in properly conducting impromptu, or "cold," interviews. The cold interview is one of the most difficult tasks faced by investigators, but can also provide information essential to a case when handled correctly.    
As always, we value and appreciate your comments about VantagePoints. Recommendations of specific investigative topics of interest are also welcome and can be sent to . We hope you will suggest our monthly publication to your associates.
Founder, Owner, and Manager

Everything Changed: How 9/11 transformed privacy expectations
The image of the iconic Twin Towers collapsing in flames on September 11, 2001, is indelibly etched upon the collective mind. In one accord, America demanded, "Never Again." Thus began a comprehensive overhaul of the national law enforcement and intelligence apparatus.

A range of new laws and policies including the Patriot Act granted sweeping powers to the government regarding the collection of information, ostensibly in the pursuit of terrorists. At the time it was seen as a necessary tool in guarding the homeland from future attacks. By and large, Americans seemed willing to give up a certain amount of privacy for security - and they did.

Concerns were voiced toward periodic reports of abuse in collection, but few alarm bells were sounded. The eventual revelation of the wholesale compilation of call records and electronic communications of law-abiding citizens scarcely raised eyebrows. Of course, by this time Social Media had removed the aversion of a vast portion of the populace toward disclosure of information once considered deeply personal.

Complaints of overreach in information gathering are routinely dismissed by officials as unintentional or ... Read More

Open Up: Some keys to success with a cold interview
Careful preparation is always the best way to ensure a good result when interviewing witnesses. However, situations often dictate a "cold interview" in which no advance preparation is possible. In such instances, the ability to think on one's feet can make the difference between a slammed door and a meaningful discussion.
The most important factor in the success of the cold interview is a good first impression. The interviewer's demeanor will often dictate the response. A friendly, professional appearance and
approach is essential. A sincere smile from someone projecting competence can go a long way toward putting a person at ease, thereby breaking down the barrier to acceptance.
An added key is the ability to establish rapport quickly. Connecting with a stranger is no easy task; however, finding an area of common interest can be an instrumental stage in gaining one's confidence. Something as simple as commenting favorably about a car, a particular breed of dog, or a sports team logo can lead the interviewee to let down their guard. As the interview progresses, the skilled investigator will also guide the elements of the dialogue that can solidify the bond that has been established.
Another fundamental component is a
. .. Read More