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Responding to a Critical Incident. Presented By:. Sheriff Stephan L. Martin (Retired) Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Harry W. Trombitas Special Agent, FBI. Years of PIO Experience???. Old Fart – Knows Everything!. .22 Caliber Killings. Thomas Lee Dillon. India & Cody Smith Case 1997.

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responding to a critical incident
Responding to a Critical Incident

Presented By:

Sheriff Stephan L. Martin

(Retired) Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Harry W. Trombitas

Special Agent, FBI

do we really need the media
Do We REALLY Need the Media?
  • The answer is “YES!”
  • So let’s use them to OUR advantage…
our goals
Our Goals
  • Get “official” info out to the public to assist in solving our case.
  • Show our citizens that we are capable of handling a major case.
  • Develop media contacts for future use.
  • “Feed the Monster.”
media management
Media Management
  • One “Spokesperson” only.
    • Ensures consistency
  • Establish protocol for press conference(s).
    • Written vs. Verbal vs. Both
    • Frequency / Set time(s)
  • Set location.
    • Controlled space, appropriately sized room, location does not hamper regular operations
written statement
Written Statement
  • The written statement serves as the “official word” of investigators and should cover these three major components:
    • Opening statement
    • New case information
    • Appeal for information from the public
the opening
The “Opening”
  • “The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, along with numerous local, state, and federal agencies, continues to make progress on the investigation of the death of Mrs. Gail Knisley. As you may know, Mrs. Knisley was killed by a bullet on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 around 10 am while she was traveling as a passenger in a vehicle on Interstate 270, near State Route 104. As of this afternoon, over 150 tips have been received by law enforcement concerning Mrs. Knisley’s death, as well as nine other shooting incidents committed in the same general area along I-270. Fortunately, none of the other cases have resulted in any personal injuries.”
new information
“New Information”
  • “Investigators believe that the person or persons responsible have chosen this particular area to commit their crimes because he or she is “comfortable” operating in that area. As has often been demonstrated in previous cases, people generally commit crimes where they are comfortable and familiar with their surroundings. This most likely means that our offender lives, works, or drives through the area on a somewhat regular basis.”
new information cont
“New Information” (Cont)
  • “We are asking citizens to think about the following changes in personality or behavior of individuals that they know who they may have suspicions about their involvement:
  • A change in a person’s normal routine in the 24-48 hours following a shooting incident which might include the missing of work or other routine engagements, sudden, unscheduled vacation time, or calling in sick.”
new information cont22
“New Information” (Cont)
  • “Intense interest in the status of this investigation, including discussing the shootings, saving newspaper articles, or recording television news segments about the shootings.
  • Displays of anxiety, nervousness, or irritability. The person may withdraw from normal activities, or change sleeping habits.
  • Changes in the consumption of alcohol, drugs, food, or cigarettes.”
new information cont23
“New Information” (Cont)
  • “Leaving the area suddenly for some plausible-sounding reason, such as a work trip, or to visit a distant relative.
  • Changes in physical appearance such as growth or removal of facial hair, changes in hair color or style, or a change in weight.”
new information cont24
“New Information” (Cont)
  • “Please note: it is important to know that the exhibition of one or more of these physical or behavioral changes alone is not indicative of one’s involvement in a crime. These changes are being shared so that the public may be sensitive to them, and may help in their decision to bring forth information that may be helpful.”
appeal for information
Appeal for Information
  • “Law enforcement is asking for input from the citizens in our community to help solve this case. No information, no matter how insignificant it may appear, should deter a citizen from contacting the Sheriff’s Office at 614-462-4646.”
appeal for information26
Appeal for Information
  • “Finally, to the person or persons responsible for committing these crimes: we desire to open a dialogue with you. Please contact the tip line at 614-462-4646 so that arrangements can be made to establish communication.”
appeal for information27
Appeal for Information
  • “To the media: thank you for your assistance. Our next press conference will be conducted at 4 pm tomorrow, Saturday, November 29, at the Sheriff’s Office, unless a change in the status of the case warrants a press conference schedule change. You will be notified of any changes in plenty of time to cover the press conference.”
press conference
Press Conference
  • Be prepared
    • Spend time beforehand to collect thoughts and establish parameters of statement(s)
  • Relax and be yourself
  • Don’t speculate
  • Keep investigation “broad-based”
  • Limit questioning
  • Remind media of time of next press conference unless developments change
good interview tactics
Good Interview Tactics
  • Relaxed but appropriate demeanor
  • Be humble
  • Mention your partners
  • Show confidence in a successful resolution
  • Thank the media and the public for their assistance
  • Keep the pressure on the “bad guy(s)”
questions
Questions???

Sheriff Stephan L. Martin

(Retired) Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Harry W. Trombitas

Special Agent, FBI