Columbus Police Use New FETI Training to Improve the Interview Evidence Process

Public safety is a concern for every community, from rural towns to big cities. In an effort to get ahead of crime and ensure that justice continues to be upheld, police agencies have always undergone rigorous training; and new research regarding the traditional interrogation techniques has led to new recommendations for officers.

It’s long been understood that the most effective method for gathering accurate interview evidence will vary from case to case. But now agencies are taking a closer look at their approach to interviewing individuals who have experienced trauma. New police training for conducting trauma-informed interviews is proving to be more efficient for securing reliable evidence from victims, witnesses, and even suspects.

About the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) Specialized Interview Training

Across the country, law enforcement agencies have been adopting new models for interviewing on cases connected with trauma. The Columbus Division of Police (CPD) is just another collection of agencies that’s reviewing their tactics. As of March 2024, more than 100 members of the CPD have plans to undergo the specialized police training known as Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI).

This training is designed to educate officers on the neurobiology of trauma and memory, along with communication. From there, FETI also works to equip officers with more reliable tools for eliciting accurate information from their interview subjects. CPD Deputy Chief Smith Weir is said to have highlighted the need for a deeper understanding surrounding trauma during investigations. In the coming months and years, more police leadership are expected to follow suit with trauma-informed police training of their own.

Adopting the Trauma-Informed Approach to Forensic Interview Evidence

Lori Heitman has nearly three decades of experience in law enforcement and is a co-founder of the FETI methodology. Her background provides a critical perspective for the training. FETI intends to help officers and detectives move away from traditional interrogation methods, because while the common practices might be useful for certain criminal cases, the issue of trauma can dramatically impact the content and quality of information from interviewees coming from traumatic circumstances.

Being able to accommodate the psychological state of the interview subject is a key aspect of FETI training, which emphasizes methods for taking a more empathetic approach to gathering interview evidence. By learning more about the research behind trauma’s effects on memory and communication, the CPD hopes to improve the accuracy and reliability of all individuals involved in criminal cases, whether they might be a suspect or a witness or victim. The better the evidence, the greater the chance of reaching a just resolution for every case.

Enhance Your Agency’s Effectiveness with Grant Funding

As the CPD moves forward with their FETI training and implements the new interview techniques into their interrogation process, they anticipate that a deeper sense of community and trust with law enforcement may follow. The psychological impacts of crime can be great, and working to address those repercussions during the investigation process is crucial for victims to receive justice and the truth to come to light.

The police training initiative for the CPD is partially supported by grant funding. The Columbus City Council approved approximately $130,000 to cover additional costs. It’s all in an effort to provide better support to victims and to solve serious crimes more effectively.

If your agency is looking to improve your investigative process, iRecord may be able to help! Our interrogation and forensic interview room recording solutions are designed to help agencies gather the most accurate and reliable interview evidence possible. Occasionally, we also partner with agencies to secure their own grant funding for new department initiatives. Please feel free to send us a message to learn more about upcoming opportunities. Our mission is to protect and serve those who serve and protect. Let our team know how we can help your agency better serve your community!

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