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investigation for administrators how to conduct internal policy and procedure investigations

Investigation for AdministratorsHow to Conduct Internal Policy and Procedure Investigations

Presented by the Mississippi Robert Laird, CFE, CSSD

Division of School Safety

Mississippi Department of Education

course objective
Participants will become familiar with the authority, investigative techniques, evidence collection and documentation relating to investigation of an administrative nature to include employee misconduct, student misconduct, Title IX and discrimination practices.COURSE OBJECTIVE

Is carried out by a commissioned law enforcement law enforcement officer.

Investigates violation of a federal or state criminal code.

Is targeted to criminal conviction.

Carries constitutional protection for the subject.


Is conducted (hopefully) by a person trained to do so.

Investigates a violation of agency policy, procedures OR state or federal law.

Is targeted to obtain information.

Does not necessarily carry constitutional protection for the subject.

Results my be used in a criminal trial.

  • Subject
    • The person on whom the investigation is centered as committing the act.
    • The target of the interview.
  • Victim
    • The person/entity harmed by the subject’s actions.
  • Interview
    • Personal interaction designed to obtain information, facts, and evidence.
  • Interrogation
    • Same as above except it is highly subjective in nature.
  • Signed Statement
    • A statement of facts, observations, and knowledge wherein the author signifies their authorship by signing the document.
  • Sworn Statement
    • Same as above except the author takes a legal oath as to the veracity of the statement.
  • Confession
    • When a subject admits to prohibited actions; usually obtained via a sworn statement or signed statement.
  • Investigator
    • A person assigned to collect facts, information, intelligence, and evidence regarding an event.
law policies and procedures in the historical context
Law, policies and procedures in the Historical Context
  • Based on old English common law
  • Had three specific goals:
    • Cite mandatory conduct.
    • Cite prohibited conduct.
    • Cite negative sanctions for violation of the policy.

“That which is not mandatory, is prohibited.”

H. R. Tolkien

“That which is not specifically prohibited, is permitted.”


types of administrative investigations
Types of Administrative Investigations
  • Employee Misconduct
  • Policy and Procedure Violation
    • Violation of IDEA
    • Violation of MDE Accreditation Standards
    • Violation of MBE/MDE Policies and Procedures
    • Student Discipline
    • Title IX US Code (Sexual Harassment)
    • Discrimination (Civil Rights Act of 1964)
    • Determination of Cause
elements of proof
Elements of Proof
  • Those constituent parts of an action that would tend to prove it occurred and the perpetrator was the individual that did it.

Black’s Law Dictionary

standards of proof
Standards of Proof
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt: The facts lie by virtue to establish guilt.
  • Probable Cause: That a cause of action existed based on what a reasonable intelligent man would believe.
  • Clear and Convincing: More than preponderance and less than beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Preponderance of the Evidence: That degree of proof which is more provable than not.
  • Reasonable Belief: Knowledge sufficient to induce an ordinarily prudent and cautious man under the circumstances to believe something has occurred.

Black’s Law Dictionary

“Ye Shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”

Inscribed of the entrance to CIAHQ

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”

Inscribed over the barracks at Camp Perry

employee misconduct
Elements of Proof

That a violation occurred.

The employee committed an act in violation of the law.

The employee committed an act in violation of policy or procedure.

The employee refrained from performing an act in accordance with job description.

Employee acted with reckless disregard for policy, procedure, or common sense.

Employee Misconduct
  • Standard of Proof
    • Clear and Convincing_____
  • Burden of Proof
    • The appointing authority

“Justice is a virgin often sacrificed to the god of equality”

Major Robert O'Neal

violation of idea
Violation of IDEA
  • Elements of Proof
    • Quantifiable evidence of a violation
  • Standard of Proof
    • Preponderance of the Evidence
  • Burden of Proof
    • The challenging authority
violation of mde accreditation standards
Violation of MDE Accreditation Standards
  • Elements of Proof
    • That the district in question was not compliant with cited MDE standards of accreditation at set forth in MBE Accreditation Standards.
  • Standard of Proof
    • Reasonable belief
  • Burden of Proof
    • MDE
violation of mbe mde district policies and procedures
Violation of MBE/MDE/District Policies and Procedures
  • Elements of Proof
    • The policy/procedure did exist.
    • It was disseminated to staff.
    • Staff were in a position to know about it.
    • The subject did violate the policy/procedure.
  • Standard of Proof
  • Burden of Proof
    • On the school district

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned. Milton Friedman

student discipline
Student Discipline
  • Elements of Proof
    • The student was aware the behavior was prohibited.
    • The student chose to engage in the behavior.
  • Standard of Proof
    • Reasonable Belief
  • Burden of Proof
    • On the administrator

The bigger the real-life problems, the greater the tendency for the education profession to retreat into a reassuring fantasy-land of abstract theory and technical manipulation. Tom Naylor

title ix us code sexual harassment
Title IX US Code (Sexual Harassment)
  • Elements of Proof
  • Intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
    • Sexual Harassment so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it deprives one of educational opportunities and benefits.
    • The agency is deliberately indifferent to the harassment.
  • The circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.
  • There are two types of sexual harrassment:
    • quid pro quo sexual harassment
    • hostile environment sexual harassment.
  • Standard of Proof
    • Clear and Convincing
  • Burden of Proof
    • On the affiant
discrimination civil rights act of 1964
Discrimination (Civil Rights Act of 1964)
  • Elements of Proof
    • Victim must prove member of a protected class.
    • The victim was discriminated against solely because of their class.
    • Said discrimination was the substantial or motivating factor behind the action.
  • Standard of Proof
    • Clear and convincing.
  • Burden of Proof
    • On the affiant.

I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary. Ronald Reagan  , Former U.S. President

determination of cause
Determination of Cause
  • To determine who, what, why, when, or how a condition is generated or continued.

Investigation may be likened to the long months of pregnancy, and solving a problem to the day of birth. To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it. Mao Tse-Tung

background investigations
Background Investigations
  • References are utterly worthless and unreliable.
  • Ensure you have a release from the applicant
  • Specifically ask the applicant if they have ever been arrested, questioned, or convicted of ANY misdemeanor or felony to include expungements.
  • If a previous employer advises they only confirm employment dates and eligibility for reemployment, obtain a statement so stating and write on it that the employer refused to furnish additional information after being furnished with a lawful release. Do it in plain view of the employer.
  • Corroborate derogatory information thru two additional sources.
  • Interview co workers and supervisors.
  • Ask questions about character, associates, reputation, loyalty, honesty, integrity, and ability. (CARLA)
  • Document all phone interviews.
  • If an employer wants to say something “Off the record” alarms should sound in your head.
  • The burden of proof is on the applicant, not the agency.
  • If the background check is pending, ensure the applicant is notified employment is contingent upon a successful background check.
  • (Cite Code
  • Divide into groups and discuss what types of investigations you do in your job.
legal authority for investigation
Legal Authority for Investigation
  • Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated
  • Section 37-9-14
  • Section 37-9-59
  • 37-3-11
  • Executive
  • Implied
qualifications for a competent investigator
Qualifications for a Competent Investigator
  • Excellent interpersonal communications skills.
  • Extremely confident and resistant to intimidation.
  • Assertive personality.
  • Extremely high professional ethics.
  • Intelligence with common sense.
  • Wide range of experience outside of specialty area.
  • Solid liberal arts education.
  • Inquisitive nature.
  • Detail oriented.

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. Harry S. Truman

An accomplished investigator measures his abilities in the quality of his enemies

Robert O. Laird

barriers to quality investigations
Barriers to Quality Investigations
  • Personal agenda on the part of the appointing authority
  • Professional agenda on the part of the appointing authority
  • Incompetent investigator
  • Outside interference

“A committee is an animal with nine mouths and no brain.”

Samuel Clemens

the interview
Should take place in a non threatening environment but not on the subject’s turf.

Place the subject at ease and ID yourself.

State the nature of the investigation and interview.

The subject has no constitutional rights in an administrative investigation.

Wear dark clothing and sunglasses if you want to establish dominance.

Do not advise subject they are subject.

Do not discuss other allegations unless you’re playing mind games.

You are there to get the truth not fulfill an agenda.

The Interview
Is generally confrontative in nature.

Affords the opportunity to confess.

Can be cathartic in nature.

Know your subject.

Non-Compliant behavior is ALWAYS a choice the student consciously and willfully makes.

question phraseology
Short and confined to one topic.

Should be clear and easily understood.

Watch phraseology and language. Not everyone speaks the same language.

Ask precise questions.

Calls for specific answer.

What did you do?

Where were you?

What did you observe?

Use discerning questions.

Should be relevant to the subject.

Question Phraseology
types of questions
Extended answer questions.

Soliciting a “yes” or “no” restricts information.

Leading questions.

Not really good as it influences the response. Is a trait of incompetent investigators. Can be used to confirm and clarify information.

Double or triple negatives.

Didn’t you try to calm the student before restraint?

Didn’t you know you had to report a teacher molesting a student?

Complex questions.

Cover more than one topic.

Require more than one answer.

Require a complicated answer.

Attitude questions.

Designed to influence the mood of the subject.

Types of Questions
question sequences
General to Specific.

Generally the most efficient.

Is a natural logical progression.

Seek general information before exploring details.

Reaching Backward.

Start with known information and ask questions to fill in the blanks.

More specific estimates of quantities.

To provide objective measurable type information.


Provide a frame of reference.

Question Sequences
controlled answer techniques
Controlled Answer Techniques
  • To induce a person to admit.
  • To induce a person to agree to give information
directing the interview
Directing the Interview
  • Free Narrative
    • Orderly continuous account of something.
    • Interviewer must control and direct subject.
  • Direct Examination
    • Brings out a connected account of something.
    • Begin with non threatening questions.
    • Ask questions in manner to develop facts in the order of occurrence.
    • Ask only one question at a time.
    • Give subject ample time to answer.
  • Cross Examination
    • Confirm and “fill in the blanks”.
      • Detect evasion, conflicting information, vague answers etc.
  • Divide into groups of three and have team members conduct an interview regarding subject’s educational and professional background and investigative experience.
mind games subjects play
I’m not saying anything without an attorney.

Who told you that.

I have a right to know.




What proof do you have?

Pretending to be dumb.

Pretending to be too smart.

Mind Games Subjects Play
kinesic interviewing
Kinesic Interviewing

Primary Human Motivational Factors:





  • All homo sapiens without exception lie.
    • Adults: 3 lies per day
    • Juveniles: 7 lies per day
  • Homo Sapiens lie because it is perceived to be in their best interests to do so.
why do people lie
Why do people lie?
  • They think they can get by with it.
  • They do not fear punishment for it.
  • The risk of discovery outweighs the perceived benefit.
  • To protect someone else.
  • To further an agenda.
  • For the fun of it.
  • To obtain money, sex, or power.





Ethics Gap

artistic deception
Artistic Deception
  • Tell the truth; but not all of it.

“I did not have sex with

that woman.”

“It depends on how you define sex.”

artistic deception1
Artistic Deception
  • Tell the entire truth; but in such a way as no one will believe you.

“If I had killed Nichole; How

I would have done it.”

artistic deception2
Artistic Deception
  • Ignore the question in it’s entirety and hope it will go away.
  • Why does the PNA allow HAMAS

to target Israel with rockets?”

  • “We recognize Israel.”
  • “Why does the PNA allow

HAMAS to exist as a terrorist group?”

A. “We have no proof HAMA is a terrorist Group.”

artistic deception3
Artistic Deception
  • Deny everything; admit nothing; and demand proof
the physiology of deception
The Physiology of Deception
  • You first need to establish a “base line” of kinesic behavior in order to evaluate the subject in an interview.
  • It helps to have a second interviewer just to watch the subject.
  • 7% of communication is via words.
  • 38% of communication is via tone and timbre.
  • 55% of communication is via facial expression and body movement.
  • Deception causes physical and mental stress.
  • Stress will be demonstrated by the body.
  • This is the principal of the polygraph.
    • Heart Rate
    • Breathing Rate
    • Skin Salinity
    • Blood Pressure
The amount of space and types of objects among interviewer and subject:

Never interview the subject in their office or classroom.

Make them come to you.

With some subjects a barrier works best.

You may want to put the subject in a covertly uncomfortable chair.

Avoid an overt “Gestapo” environment.

Dominate the interview unless you want to go for a “trap” situation.

Distance communicates intimacy:

0-18”: intimate space reserved for family and friends.

08-24”: Personal space for most interpersonal interaction.

4-12’.: Social/consultative distance.

Indicators of deception

Sitting in a slouched manner. Particularly when combined with crossed arms and looking to the right.

Standing too far away for the situation.


Leaning away

Tightly crossed arms-discomfort/deception

Loosely crossed arms-defiance/possible deception.

Hands on hips is an attempt to establish dominance.


Rolling Eyes: Frustration or aggression

Avoidance of eye contact (Careful it may be cultural such as Oriental, Hispanic, Indian

Staring often means an attempt to establish dominance

Wide open eyes will indicate surprise or a sensitive question has been asked.

Lidded eyes indicate deception or confidence.

The blink rate may dramatically increase during deception.

Pupils will dialate during deception.

Looking to the left indicates recalling factual information.

Looking the right indicates the mental construction of something. May be deception.

Furrowing Brow: Not happy with statement may indicate deception.

Frown: Concentrating or uncomfortable;

Grimace: Doesn’t like what you're saying or you just hit a sensitive point.

Lip Biting: Nervous or feeling pressured.

Pursed lips

Covering mouth

Rubbing nose/animated gestures

Tight facial muscles or lips-Deception

Licking lips

Throat Clearing

Wringing hands: Uncompfortable with topic/question.

Exagerated gestures.

Hands on hips: Attempt at dominance

Playing with objects (Pen clicking, car keys, et al.)

Pointing: Aggression possible attempt to intimidate.

+Mandates disciplinary action for students engaged in serious or violent acts.

Mandates all employees report.

Definition of unlawful is any violation of Title 97 Mississippi Code.

Violent acts are so cited in the text.

physical evidence
Physical Evidence

Evidence that can be seen, touched, smelled, or felt.


Documentary: What is a legal document?

  • Signed: Typewritten in subject’s own words. You draft the statement and have subject sign it.
  • Sworn: Typewritten in subject’s own words. You draft the statement and have subject sign it in front of an authroized official. (judge, attorney, district superintendent, etc.)
  • Investigative: Your report of a conversation you had with someone.
  • Not admissable in court.
  • Is an investigative tool.
  • Will tell you how to direct an investigation.
  • Is only effective if the polygrapher is a kinesic interviewer.
  • Excellent intimidation tool.
voice stress analysis
Voice Stress Analysis
  • Not admissible in court.
  • Is an investigative tool.
  • Will tell you how to direct an investigation.
  • Is only effective if the polygrapher is a kinesic interviewer.
  • Excellent intimidation tool.
informant assets
  • All informants have an agenda.
  • Is the informant in a position to know the information being presented?
  • Are they willing to testify to their information.
  • Can you grant confidentiality?
well and not so meaning idiots
Well (And not so) Meaning Idiots
  • The person that just wants to let you know someone doesn’t have a reason to lie.
  • The person that doesn’t want to get involved but just wants you to know……..
  • The person who had similar problems yet didn‘t report them.
  • The person who is investigator, judge, jury, and executioner.
  • The person who tells you what your findings will be.
  • The person who intimates what your findings should be.
the investigative report
The Investigative Report
  • Is the most critical aspect of the investigation.
  • Is a legal document.
  • Will establish the credibility of the investigator.
  • Should answer ALL questions.
legal authority of the investigation
Legal Authority of the Investigation
  • Should reflect:
    • Who is the appointing authority.
    • What is the legal basis for initiating the investigation.
principal investigators
Principal Investigators
  • Should inlcude the primary investigator and all other personnel who have conducted activities in support of the investigation.
  • Should reflect of the range of the investigation along with collaborating agencies and entities.
  • A brief summation of important investigative activities and brief summation of the findings. Very similar to an executive summary.
  • Outline in paragraph form the information obtained from various interviews, sources, evidence, and statements.
  • A statement of recommendations for closure of the case or further disposition. It is not always within the purview of the investigator to make recommendations. Only do so if asked.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. Winston Churchill, Sir (1874-1965)

  • Attach copies of:
    • Statements (Sworn and Signed)
    • Interview summaries
    • Investigative Inserts
    • Evidence and explanations
    • Original notes
post investigative actions
Post Investigative Actions
  • Additional Investigation/Clarification.
  • Appointing authority concurs.
  • Appointing authority non-concurs.
  • Amending the report:
    • Do not EVER change a report in it’s original form without forwarding a statement that changes have been made in accordance with the direction of the appointing authority.
    • If an appointing authority wishes findings changed, submit the report and allow the appointing authority to do it themselves and you keep the original copy.
    • Never, ever, under any circumstances whatever, fail to keep an original copy in your CYA file
in summation
In Summation
  • Investigations are fun.
  • You learn a lot.
  • It’s fun mess with people’s minds.
  • Assume you will have testify in court.
  • If people do not complain about you, you are a worthless investigator.
  • Once your professional integrity is compromised, you will never get it back.
  • CYA
and finally
And Finally

Go forth and fight evil in support of Truth, Justice, and the American Way!

Those who choose not to confront evil are destined to become it.

Simon Wiesenthal

  • Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Psychology Today
  • Drs. Gabriel and Nilli Raam, Laboratory for Scientific Interviewing, Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • SA Clint Van Zant, Agent Profiling Course, Behavioral Science Unit, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA.
  • Denied Area Operations Course, Camp Perry, VA.
  • The Gentle Art of Interviewing, Robert F. Royal and Steven R. Schutt.