Presentation on theme: "Conducting Effective Internal Investigations GASPA Pre-Conference Session November 17, 2014 Mary M. Jessie, Independent Human Capital Consultant John Grant,"— Presentation transcript:
Conducting Effective Internal Investigations GASPA Pre-Conference Session November 17, 2014 Mary M. Jessie, Independent Human Capital Consultant John Grant, Chief Investigator PSC
Session Overview Welcome Purpose of Investigation: Why Investigate? Procedural Aspects Conducting the Interviews Preparing the Report Questions/Answers
Which headline will you likely see in the morning paper? _________________________ 249,999 Teachers do a great job. OR Teacher arrested for child molestation.
Why Do Educators Fail? Teachers usually say: “This is the way that I have always done it and it has been ok.” OR OR “The administrators knew that I was doing this and I was never informed that it was not right.”
It’s About Leadership Leaders are responsible for: Leaders are responsible for: Setting the example Setting the example Establishing the limits Establishing the limits Taking corrective action Taking corrective action
Leadership Employee Expectations Set Guidelines - Clear statements of Rules & Regulations, Standards and Job Descriptions, Goals and Objectives, Mission Statements. Resources - Teacher Handbook, Policy and Procedures Manual, Education Law, DOE, Federal Regulations. Establish a clear Chain of Command - Principal, Assistant Principals, Lead Teachers, Other Administrative Staff. Respect - Fair, Supportive, Consistent, Credible, Trust.
Why Investigate? To maintain a professional work environment the district must: PreemptIdentifyInvestigate Appropriately resolve Incidents and/or and/or Allegations of employee misconduct
The Investigation Goal Obtain as much information as possible The more information obtained, the easier it becomes to make a decision Follow local policies and procedures in investigating alleged misconduct Remain objective; if not assign someone else to conduct the investigation
Planning the Investigation: Questions to Ask/Answer Who is in charge of the investigation? What facts are needed to substantiate or prove unsubstantiated the allegation? What documentation is needed? What documentation is available? Is there evidence and what evidence needs to be collected?
Planning the Investigation: Who should be interviewed? What information is expected? What other agencies (DFCS, Police, District Attorney, Other) need to be involved? What independent actions should the school district take immediately?
Proposed Investigation Plan Identify whether an investigation may be required Identify whether an investigation may be required Determine the subject matter and goal of the specific investigation Determine the subject matter and goal of the specific investigation Select the appropriate investigator Select the appropriate investigator Consider factors and issues when selecting an investigator Consider factors and issues when selecting an investigator Identify potential witnesses Identify potential witnesses Identify evidence to be reviewed Identify evidence to be reviewed Prepare investigation strategy upfront Prepare investigation strategy upfront Prepare question(s), issue(s) and outline Prepare question(s), issue(s) and outline Establish separate and secure investigation files and records Establish separate and secure investigation files and records Review, synthesize, update the plan Review, synthesize, update the plan
Document the Investigation Create an Incident Report Incident type Incident type Sexual Misconduct, Assault, Alcohol, etc. Sexual Misconduct, Assault, Alcohol, etc. Location of Incident Location of Incident Date/Time of Incident Date/Time of Incident Date/Time Recorded Date/Time Recorded Participants Participants Name(s), Work/Home Contact Name(s), Work/Home Contact Accused Person(s) Accused Person(s) Victim(s) Victim(s) Complainant Complainant Name, Work/Home Contact Description of Incident Description of Incident Force or Physical Contact, if any used Verbal statements Threats, requests, demands, etc. List of evidence collected Mandated report information (under O.C.G.A or
Sample Incident Report Form Note: This form is available for download at
Begin Immediately Secure Physical Evidence Photograph the scene of the event Document what happened Make a list of potential witnesses
Let’s Talk About It Example: Teacher suspected of being under the influence at school Secure Physical Evidence - alcoholic beverage, cup, water bottle, pill bottle, baggie, etc. Secure Physical Evidence - alcoholic beverage, cup, water bottle, pill bottle, baggie, etc. Photograph the scene of the event - condition of teacher, where evidence found, blackboard Photograph the scene of the event - condition of teacher, where evidence found, blackboard Document what happened - date &time, how you became aware, glassy eyes, slurred speech, unsteady, offered sobriety test, test administration info., test results, etc. Document what happened - date &time, how you became aware, glassy eyes, slurred speech, unsteady, offered sobriety test, test administration info., test results, etc. Make a list of potential witnesses - witnessed the teacher’s conduct, who smelled the beverage, who administered the test, etc. Make a list of potential witnesses - witnessed the teacher’s conduct, who smelled the beverage, who administered the test, etc.
If a Criminal Act has been committed Secure all evidence Contact Law Enforcement Document what has been done
O.C.G.A. § An oral report shall be made as soon as possible by telephone or otherwise and followed by a report in writing, if requested, to a child welfare agency providing protective services, as designated by the Department of Human Resources of any reports of ‘Child abuse’ including: Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker (by other than accidental means) Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker Sexual abuse - sexual intercourse; masturbation; lewd exhibition; …physical contact in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification... “Sexual abuse” shall not include consensual sex acts involving persons of the opposite sex when the sex acts are between minors…” Sexual exploitation - conduct by a child’s parent or caretaker who allows, permits, encourages, or requires that child to engage in: prostitution; or sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual or print medium depicting such conduct.
Interviewing Witnesses and the Accused
Purpose of the Interviews Interviews of witnesses and the accused may be the most important part of the investigation process. Interviews are conducted to –Develop and lean the facts related to the incident Confidentiality should be maintained while preserving a complete and accurate record.
Interview Checklist Make an interview outline Make an interview outline Prepare questions Prepare questions Take complete and accurate notes Take complete and accurate notes Tape record interviews Tape record interviews Interview each person individually Interview each person individually Interview witnesses first Interview witnesses first Gather documents identified Gather documents identified Document conversations or communications with individuals other than the complainant, accused and other witnesses Document conversations or communications with individuals other than the complainant, accused and other witnesses Conduct the interview in private Conduct the interview in private Control the environment/establish rapport Control the environment/establish rapport Allow sufficient time Allow sufficient time Take advantage of spontaneous opportunities; ask follow up questions Take advantage of spontaneous opportunities; ask follow up questions
Control the environment.
Interview Strategies Do Not Be Accusatory Do Not Interrupt – Allow for Spontaneous Utterances Use Reflective Listening – Repeat back what was just said Arguing does not work - Do Not put a person in a position where they have to defend themselves. The majority of the talking should come from the person being interviewed.
Avoid Leading Questions Do you remember X? Avoid Yes or No Questions. Were you at the gym on Friday? Ask: Where were you on Friday? Avoid Negative Wording You don’t remember X, do you? Allow the witness to talk. Ask: Tell me what you remember about...
Rephrase and repeat : “Is there other information that you can remember/provide that would be helpful in determining what happened?”
Silence is Okay
During the Interview Observe the body language of the person being interviewed Be aware of your body language as the interviewer (tone of voice, gestures, eyes and facial expressions.
Kinetic Interviewing Establish a baseline Voice inflection (pitch) Hesitation Body language (movements) Avoidance techniques Eye movement
Establishing a Baseline - How does he person behave when they are telling the truth? Ask questions that are not threatening and observe the subject’s reactions while they are answering the questions. What is your name? What is your address? What subjects do you teach? Etcetera
Voice Inflection Listen for changes in voice pitch, inflection or volume. Voice changes occur 95% of the time when a person lies. Volume increases and voice pitch increases. Inappropriate laugh
Body Language Drumming fingers Tapping feet; shacking foot Raising (shrugging) shoulders Pointing behavior (leaning toward the exit) Rapid heartbeat Deep breathing Changes in complexion Be aware of your body language (tone of voice, gestures, eyes and facial expressions.)
Avoidance Techniques Swearing that a statement is true – Honestly; I swear; You have got to believe me Evasive answers – I do not remember; Not really; I might have; I don’t know; I don’t recall; To the best of my knowledge
Eyes Avoidance of eye contact Direction subject is looking while formulating answer Changes in the eyes Rapid eye movements
Administrators Convey Poor Image to Judge and/or Jury: –Poor Attitude, Appearance and Preparation –Arrogance or Hostility –Little or No Documentation of Facts –No Evidence REASONS FOR WITNESS FAILURE Credibility
Managing Hostile or Uncooperative Witnesses Don’t force it Don’t force it Use silence as a communication tool Use silence as a communication tool Don’t threaten or coerce Don’t threaten or coerce Never make promises Never make promises
Witness Disclosure Inform witnesses of the reasons for the interview without compromising confidentialities or investigation strategies Confidentiality may not be promised to witnesses Assurances may be made that information will be shared on a “need to know” basis
Interviewing the Accused Information may become basis for discipline Information may become basis for discipline An employee must answer questions An employee must answer questions An employee is not entitled to a representative during conference/interview with the employer An employee is not entitled to a representative during conference/interview with the employer An employee must provide relevant information/evidence An employee must provide relevant information/evidence Inform the accused that the interview is opportunity to share his/her version of the event Inform the accused that the interview is opportunity to share his/her version of the event An employee must submit to medical or drug testing, if applicable An employee must submit to medical or drug testing, if applicable An employee is not entitled to lie An employee is not entitled to lie If accused is unwilling, advise that district is compelled to base decision on information received If accused is unwilling, advise that district is compelled to base decision on information received
Be Mindful of The Garrity Rule A Rule of Thumb: Do not present information to law enforcement officials that violates the Garrity Rule The Garrity Rule: “If an employee is compelled to answer questions as a condition of employment, the employee’s answers may not be used against the employee in a subsequent criminal prosecution”. The Garrity Rule expands Gardner v Broderick: “There exists affirmative limitations on an employer’s ability to require answers to questions asked during an investigation of an employee, the questions must be ‘specifically narrowly, and directly’ tailored to the employee’s job.”
Reflective Questioning What do you think should happen to a person that did something like this____? A guilty person will generally ask for some type of help. Possibly suggest a minor consequence. Is there a reason that your fingerprints or personal effects were found at ____? A guilty person will find a reason for evidence linking them to the event could have been found at _____.
Tips for Questioning Children and Youth Open-Ended Questions - avoid the use of questions that typically result in a Yes or No answer. Do not assume that you understand. If at first you don’t understand what they are trying to tell you, ask them to re-state what they want to say. Allow the child to move around, fiddle or whatever - it allows the child feel they have some control. Listen and observe nonverbal expressions. Indirect approaches work best with reluctant children. Encourage the child to expand, “What happened next?” and “You were saying that ____ ” Adolescents - written statements are possibly more effective than interviews. They tend to express private feelings.
After The Interview Document what you observed Transcribe tape and notes Have the transcript signed Obtain a written statement (may use a confidentiality agreement) Establish a separate file and keep notes there Complete the record
Findings, Conclusions and Report Preparation
Report Preparation Tips Compile and analyze documents, evidence, interviews, etc. Compile and analyze documents, evidence, interviews, etc. Identify conflicts between facts and testimony Identify conflicts between facts and testimony Identify possible conclusions Identify possible conclusions Identify precedent (check policies, procedures, practice) Identify precedent (check policies, procedures, practice) Identify possible recommendations Identify possible recommendations Ascertain disciplinary or correction action Ascertain disciplinary or correction action
Findings and Conclusion Misconduct Occurred –Disciplinary or Corrective Action Required –Letter of Direction and/or PDP No Misconduct Occurred –File report based on the evidence
Closing Investigation Analyze results Determine outcome Prepare report(s) Deliver findings/conclusions Ascertain if there is an employee response (not required) Implement discipline or corrective action Report unethical conduct to Professional Standards Commission
The Last Word Employment Issues involving competence, insubordination, medical problems, physical health, emotional or mental health, and local policy should be handled at the local level.
What Are Your Questions?
Mary M. Jessie, Independent Human Capital Consultant John Grant, Chief Investigator Georgia Professional Standards Commission Contact Information for Presenters: