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May 2011

Addressing
School
Violence
May 2011
Volume 80
Number 5
United States
Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC 20535-0001

Robert S. Mueller III


Director

Contributors’ opinions and statements Features


should not be considered an
endorsement by the FBI for any policy,
program, or service.

The attorney general has determined Addressing School Violence Investigators can make accurate
that the publication of this periodical
is necessary in the transaction of the
public business required by law. Use
By Brandi Booth,
Vincent B. Van Hasselt,
1 threat assessments in school
settings by recognizing the
of funds for printing this periodical has warning signs.
been approved by the director of the and Gregory M. Vecchi
Office of Management and Budget.

The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


(ISSN-0014-5688) is published
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Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
20535-0001. Periodicals postage paid
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mailing offices. Postmaster: to moral excellence.
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24 have continued to improve through
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John E. Ott
communication.
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Issues are available online at Michigan Fallen Heroes Seasons
http://www.fbi.gov.
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18 Perspective
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ISSN 0014-5688 USPS 383-310


Addressing School Violence
By BRANDI BOOTH, Ph.D., VINCENT B. VAN HASSELT, Ph.D.,
and GREGORY M. VECCHI, Ph.D.

I
ncidents, such as the recent ones at Columbine,
Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois University,
produce horrifying, enduring images. Members
of the mass media publicize and inadvertently glo-
rify these events to capture the attention of viewers
and readers. Unfortunately, many of the portrayals
have led to faulty assumptions and stereotypes of the
school violence perpetrator.

May 2011 / 1
Further, researchers have de- to 2008.2 However, simple and and drug/narcotic violations)
voted much attention to generat- aggravated assaults, as well as to offenses against persons
ing a working profile of these drug/narcotic and weapon viola- (e.g., assault, manslaughter,
offenders and describing many tions, increased between 2000 and murder).
typical characteristics. and 2004.3 Bullying remains
However, it is important one of the largest problems in WARNING SIGNS
to caution against the use of a schools, with the percentage Many factors can contribute
profile because many apparent of students reportedly bullied to the development of a violent
warning signs may be irrelevant at least once per week steadily school offender. These include
and restrictive and even could increasing since 1999.4 Accord- family, school, and social dy-
unfairly categorize a student ing to the FBI’s Uniform Crime namics, as well as the personal-
who may not pose danger.1 Reporting Program, school of- ity of the child.6
Therefore, an awareness of the fenders typically are Caucasian
potential warning signs empiri- males between the ages of 13 Family Dynamics
cally based in making accurate and 18. However, the number of Family dynamics include
threat assessments in the school girls involved in school crime the thinking, traditions, beliefs,
setting proves critical. has increased from over 12,000 and behavior patterns within
incidents in 2000 to approxi- the home. These play a vital
CURRENT STATISTICS mately 25,000 occurrences in role in the social development
Homicides in schools have 2005.5 This included crimes of a young child. It is important
decreased since 1994 despite ranging from those against to question how these dynam-
periods of copycat shootings property and society (e.g., ics affect and are perceived by
during the late 1990s and 2007 criminal mischief, burglary, the student.7 For example, an

Dr. Booth is a clinical psychology Dr. Van Hasselt is a professor of Dr. Vecchi heads the FBI’s
fellow with the Warrior Resiliency psychology at Nova Southeastern Behavioral Science Unit at
Program at Brooke Army Medical University in Davie, Florida, and an the FBI Academy.
Center in Fort Sam Houston, officer with the Plantation Police
Texas. Department.

2 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


abusive marriage or a particu- Four Main Areas of Examination
larly hostile divorce can have
damaging effects on children. 1) Family Dynamics: Family’s thinking, traditions,
An adolescent who lives in a beliefs, and patterns of behavior
chaotic and neglectful home
environment may develop poor 2) School Dynamics: Schools’s customs, beliefs,
coping and social skills and and behavioral patterns (e.g., bullying, treatment
behavior problems primarily of students, some individuals receiving more/less
due to exposure to violence attention, school activities)
and inadequate parenting.8 3) Social Dynamics: Student’s beliefs and attitudes
Not surprisingly, research has toward drugs, friends, weapons, entertainment,
shown that in terms of the and other activities (e.g., violent video games)
child’s long-term social and 4) Characteristics/Personality: Leakage, depression,
emotional development, hav- verbal expressions, bizarre actions, thoughts/ob-
ing one nurturing, attentive, sessions, and physical behaviors
and caring parent is better than
two in a relationship character-
ized by discord or abuse.9
Although negative family
dynamics play a role in the Several of the larger, more which receive attention from
development of violent tenden- publicized school shootings authorities.12 Bullying is a major
cies, many high-profile cases took place in middle-class factor and has a strong impact
of school violence seem to neighborhoods. People have on a child or adolescent. In a
have involved children from raised many questions as to why study of 15 school shootings be-
a positive home environment. these homicides occur in such tween 1995 and 2001, rejection
For instance, Kip Kinkel, an areas. Experts have suggested (e.g., bullying, ostracism, and
individual who murdered both that overly permissive or unin- romantic rejection) contributed
of his parents before killing volved parents of these children to the violent behavior.13 Peer
two students and wounding bear some responsibility.10 victimization and poor quality
25 others in Oregon, appeared of interpersonal and romantic
to come from an ideal family School Dynamics relationships can contribute to
(two parents, upper-middle- School dynamics are the student depression.14 Once these
class home, successful older customs, beliefs, and patterns of individuals feel rejected, they
sibling). However, a closer behavior that comprise the cam- may begin to identify with oth-
examination revealed a highly pus culture.11 A student’s role ers who feel socially shunned
critical father and a child who in these dynamics offers insight or who belong to a deviant peer
perceived himself as inad- into the individual’s behavior group. This may contribute to
equate, was physically awk- and self-perception. Knowing a the proliferation and acceptance
ward, and had a fascination school’s dynamics sheds light of violence.15
with guns and bombs. In fact, on what students value, which Cyber bullying also is on
to support Kip’s interest, his adolescents more likely will the rise, with students engaging
father bought him firearms. gain approval or be bullied, and in verbally aggressive behavior

May 2011 / 3
Personality Characteristics and Behaviors games.19 Although the level of
their influence is controver-
sial, violent video games can
• Leakage: boasts, predictions, and subtle threats; have a detrimental impact on
stories, essays, poems, and pictures; violent fanta- vulnerable adolescents and
sies; and interest in violent video games, movies, even college-age students. For
and books example, one study found that
• Depression, anger, impulsive and uncontrollable girls often will become more
behavior verbally aggressive after expo-
• Poor coping skills sure to violent video games.20
While this does not mean that
• Low frustration tolerance
playing such games leads to
• Grudges, lack of resiliency homicidal acts, doing so can
• “Us against them” mentality, narcissism serve as a facilitator for impres-
• Boastfulness about weapons, abusive language sionable adolescents who may
not see any other outlet for their
• Suicidal ideation, wishes of death, desire to psychological pain.
kill others
• Delusions, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts Personality Characteristics
• History of physical assault The personality of the stu-
dent proves critical in assessing
• Perpetrator or victim of bullying the potential for violence. Cer-
• Substance abuse tain traits of a child or adoles-
• Rebellion against authority cent raise concern. In particular,
individuals who eventually
• Isolated, withdrawn commit school homicides ex-
• Fatigue hibit behavior “leakage.”21 This
refers to a student’s intentional
or unintentional disclosure of
thoughts, fantasies, feelings,
and possible intentions. Ex-
on social networking sites, such Social Dynamics amples include boasts, predic-
as MySpace and Facebook, and Social dynamics of the tions, subtle threats, stories,
instant-messenger services.16 community provide informa- essays, poems, and drawings.
Adolescents are extremely tion on a child’s preferred Leakage also can take the form
sensitive to rejection and the lifestyle. They also influence of a fascination with violence
opinions of peers, both of which attitudes and beliefs toward and violent entertainment (e.g.,
can serve as catalysts for re- drugs, friends, weapons, and video games and movies). It
venge. Any bullying should entertainment.18 The diaries appears that nearly 50 percent
be seriously assessed as it can of the Columbine shooters, of school homicide perpetrators
be indicative of more serious Dylan Klebold and Eric Har- exhibit some type of warning
problems, such as fighting and ris, suggest addictive behavior sign, including leaving notes or
weapon carrying.17 with first-person-shooter video making a verbal threat.22

4 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


A student also may show planned event.26 This is because individuals’ verbalizations),
signs of depression, often mani- the shooter may make direct may indicate a serious mental
fested in adolescents by anger threats, brag about bringing health condition, especially
and irritability. Additionally, weapons to school, use abusive because schizophrenia and other
the individual could display language, or verbalize a wish to major psychiatric disorders have
low frustration tolerance, poor kill others and even to be killed. their initial onset in the late
coping skills, and a lack of re- teens and early 20s. Thoughts of
siliency when faced with stress- Cognitions suicide or dying in the process
ful situations or conflicts (e.g., The student may exhibit of their planned actions often
end of a romantic relationship). bizarre thoughts, such as delu- accompany violent adolescents.
This becomes compounded by sions, hallucinations, paranoia,
bullying at school or hostility at or other disrupted mental pro- Behaviors
home. Consequently, the student cesses. Further, the individual Behavioral and physical


may blame others, demonstrate warning signs indicative of a
a lack of empathy, and exhibit violent student include a prior
an exaggerated sense of entitle- history of physical assault, be-
ment. An “us against them” ing both a bully and a victim
mentality reflects the latter. The of bullying, and possession of
individual even may criticize
...many high-profile weapons and violent literature.
previous school shooters for cases of school The individual also may have a
their failures (e.g., not getting a violence seem to history of substance use, rebel-
high enough body count).23 have involved children liousness against authority, and
from a positive home socially isolated and withdrawn
Intrapersonal Variables environment. behavior.27 The latter may point


An examination of intraper- to depression, often manifested
sonal variables includes verbal as irritability and anger in chil-
communication, thoughts, and dren and youths.
behaviors.24 These tend to be
more salient, easier to observe, EFFECTIVE MEASURES
and often deemed leakage prior may write with profanity and
to more offensive and violent abusive language, which tends Threat Assessment
behavior. to be extreme and contextually Threat assessment in the
inappropriate; this suggests a campus setting involves law
Verbal Communication deteriorating mental capacity enforcement and school of-
Verbal warning signs in- and a deficiency of emotional ficials working collaboratively
clude a student’s oral and control. to determine risk.28 It consists
written communication.25 A Eric Harris and Seung-Hui of evaluating a threat, reaching
common misconception holds Cho, the Virginia Tech perpetra- a conclusion regarding threat
that violent people just “snap.” tor, serve as good examples of level, and determining an effec-
In fact, in over 75 percent of this behavior. Their disjointed tive response.29 This approach,
school shooting incidents, and violent rants were both developed by the U.S. Secret
students knew beforehand about written and oral. Such bizarre Service, is based on six key
the troubled adolescent and the thoughts (as determined by principles.

May 2011 / 5
1) Violence is not unpre- 5) Multiple sources of infor- consequences of their behavior
dictable or spontaneous; mation (e.g., other students, and identify peer conflicts.33
therefore, information teachers, faculty, and par- The value of SROs further can
about the student, as well ents) should be obtained. be enhanced by their heightened
as the pupil’s behavior, can 6) Conclusions should support awareness of warning signs and
prevent violence. the facts as to whether the cues relevant in accurate threat
2) Information should in- student poses a threat, not assessment.
clude knowledge about the necessarily whether the in- Over the past several years,
student, environment, spe- dividual made a threat. Also, police agencies have established
cific situation, and target assessments should include a positive working relation-
of the violence. considerations of whether ship with school districts and
the subject has the means students through SRO and
3) All information should be Drug Abuse Resistance Educa-
and intent to carry it out.30
verifiable and reliable. tion (DARE) programs. Law
4) Authorities should leave Prevention Programs enforcement officers can con-
out assumptions or subjec- School resource officer tribute to violence prevention in
tive impressions about the (SRO) programs serve an several ways. First, they must
student’s personality or integral role in threat assess- have an ongoing collaboration
other characteristics and ment.31 In times of crisis, having with teachers and administra-
instead base evaluations an SRO based in the school tors. Second, they must be
on facts and observable be- decreases response time and in- capable of conducting their own
haviors. The warning signs creases student and staff percep- assessments of bullying and re-
should be used more as tions of safety.32 The SRO also lated problems in their schools.
guidelines than absolutes. can educate students about the Third, law enforcement person-
nel in schools should become
© Thinkstock.com
well acquainted with students
and staff and make themselves
accessible for reporting of
information; an anonymous
reporting system is advisable
to encourage students to come
forward with important tips.34
The National School Safety
Center has offered suggestions
for decreasing campus violence
and strengthening the relation-
ship between law enforcement
and school districts. For ex-
ample, an understanding and
written agreement should exist
about how the school and police
agency will work together to
promote violence prevention

6 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


CASE EXAMPLE
The case of Kip Kinkel demonstrates a family He received psychiatric treatment until ap-
life that appeared pleasant and nurturing.35 How- proximately July 1997 and maintained his an-
ever, other warning signs indicate a bullied and tidepressant regimen. During that time, without
troubled child who had difficulties in academics, his parents knowledge, he bought his first sawed-
feelings of alienation, arrest and psychiatric histo- off shotgun from a friend. However, his father
ries, and suicidal tendencies. bought him a 9-millimeter Glock and, later, a
Kip Kinkel was born in 1982. His parents both .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle. It is speculated
taught Spanish, his father at a community college that his parents were concerned about his inter-
and his mother at a local high school. Kip’s older est, but wanted to educate him about gun safety.
sister by approximately 6 years excelled in both In an interview, Kip’s sister indicated that his
academics and athletics. parents had tried everything to help him. He ex-
His family moved to Spain for 1 year when Kip pressed to his family his interest in how bombs
was 6 years old. He attended a non-English speak- and guns work, as well as his desire to enter law
ing school and had difficulty adapting; however, enforcement after college. In fact, Kip’s sister
his sister performed well. During his schooling noted that violence did not occur in the family;
in Spain, Kip frequently faced bullying and felt rather, she perceived a positive family environ-
alienated. When the family returned to the United ment. However, Kip’s feelings of inadequacy
States, Kip’s teachers noticed that he was devel- were apparent.
opmentally immature and behind in school. As a Later that fall, Kip’s psychiatrist discontin-
result, he repeated first grade. In fourth grade, he ued his antidepressant medication. During this
was diagnosed with dyslexia. time, Kip made a speech in class about how to
Kip showed an interest in explosives and make a bomb. Throughout the school year of
firearms in the seventh grade, when he purchased 1997 to 1998, several school shootings occurred
books on how to build a bomb. In eighth grade, in the nation, including those in Pearl, Missis-
he was arrested for shoplifting and suspended for sippi; West Paducah, Kentucky; and Jonesboro,
kicking another student. As a result, he was referred Arkansas. In May 1998, Kip, at age 15, arranged
for a psychological evaluation, diagnosed with de- to buy a .32-caliber pistol from a friend. When
pression, and placed on antidepressant medication. the friend’s father reported it missing, Kip was
During his court-ordered psychiatric treatment, expelled for bringing it to school. His father
authorities considered Kip to have early onset picked him up from the police station; reports
schizophrenia, but he initially denied any thought indicated that Kip was upset for disappointing
disorder (e.g., hallucinations, delusions). In fact, his parents. In her interview, his sister stated that
months before the shooting, his sister reported a disappointing their parents was the biggest of-
pleasant family vacation. However, in 1998, he fense in the family. That afternoon and early eve-
exploded in an English class, screaming, “Damn ning, Kip killed both of his parents. The next day,
these voices in my head.” He stated that in sixth he dressed in a trench coat, carried three guns,
grade he began hearing them tell him that he was and taped a hunting knife to his leg. He shot 27
not worth anything. Kip also was noted to have students; 2 died, and 25 were injured. Some stu-
strange delusions, including ideas that the Chinese dents tackled him and held him down until police
planned to invade America, Disney would take arrived. Once in police custody, he charged an
over the world, and that microchips were planted in officer with the knife and shouted that he wanted
his head. He also made several morbid and cryptic to be killed. In his confession, Kip exclaimed that
drawings, including one that stated, “Killers start he was hearing voices and once again shouted,
sad and crazy.” “Damn these voices in my head.”

May 2011 / 7
and respond to crises. An Of- a threat assessment team (TAT) convene to discuss the results
ficer Friendly program can be will form and activate upon of the interview, determine
established whereby SROs pro- determination of a threat. If whether a threat is imminent
vide instruction on a variety of the threat has been assessed and formulate a response plan
topics, such as drug abuse, ju- as real and imminent, steps in if necessary.38 Mental health
venile justice, and child safety. formulating a response must officials should be consulted in
Students can be encouraged to be outlined. Each school must cases when hospitalization due
go on ride-alongs with officers, have an established policy of to a possible psychiatric disor-
and a Big Brother/Big Sister contingency management that der (e.g., depression, suicide,
program also can be imple- includes detention, suspension, psychosis) is required.39


mented, pairing students with and expulsion.
law enforcement personnel. The CONCLUSION
Police Athletic League histori- Despite the decline in the
cally has had success in forg- rates of homicides committed
ing such relationships as well. by adolescents over the past
These strategies will increase Threat assessment decade, the potential for violent
the cohesiveness between police in the campus behavior among students re-
officers and students and facili- setting involves mains. However, school and law
tate communication and infor- law enforcement and enforcement officials can work
mation flow between the two.36 school officials together to reduce the threat of
The International Association working collaboratively such violence.
to determine risk. Understanding the warning


of Campus Law Enforcement
Administrators and the National signs—including family, school,
Association of School Safety and social dynamics, as well
and Law Enforcement Officers as personality characteristics—
provide information on how of- proves important for threat
ficers should become involved Authorities should make assessment. An analysis of a
and respond to threats and parents aware of initiatives to student’s verbal communica-
crises and collaborate with local prevent violence and the inter- tions, cognitions, and overt
school districts. vention plan upon identifying behaviors should be part of the
a threat. Officials also must threat assessment strategy. A
School Safety Plan notify parents when someone positive and collaborative rela-
Each school should have a has been threatened, keeping tionship between law enforce-
safety plan. Law enforcement in mind privacy and defama- ment personnel and students
must have an active role in the tion-of-character laws.37 Also, can increase information flow
plan’s development and imple- search-and-seizure laws must and enhance the accuracy and
mentation. The plan should be considered when assessing effectiveness of threat assess-
outline prevention programs, a threat. Authorities should con- ments. Also essential are close
including the SRO’s role within duct interviews with the indi- working relationships between
the school community, and vidual who made the threat, as law enforcement personnel and
bullying prevention programs. well as any witnesses and po- school administrators, teachers,
Further, it should indicate that tential targets. The TAT should and parents.

8 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Endnotes Do They Predict Social Anxiety and De- United States, 1994-1999,” Journal of
1
M.E. O’Toole, U.S. Department of pression?” Journal of Clinical Child and the American Medical Association 286,
Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Adolescent Psychology 34, no. 1 (2005): no. 21 (2001): 2695-2702.
23
National Center for the Analysis of Violent 49-61. O’Toole.
15 24
Crime, The School Shooter: A Threat S. Verlinden, M. Hersen, and J. G.M. Vecchi, “Conflict and Crisis
Assessment Perspective (Quantico, VA, Thomas, “Risk Factors in School Shoot- Communication: Workplace and School
1999). ings,” Clinical Psychology Review 20 Violence, Stockholm Syndrome, and Ab-
2
U.S. Department of Education, (2000): 3-56. normal Psychology,” Annals of American
16
National Center for Education Statistics, A. Harmon, “Internet Gives Teenage Psychotherapy 12, no. 3 (2009): 30-39;
Indicators of School Crime and Safety, Bullies Weapons to Wound from Afar,” and J.A. Daniels, T.E. Royster, and
(Washington, DC, 2007). New York Times, August 26, 2004. G.M. Vecchi, “Barricaded Hostage and
17
3
J.H. Noonan and M.C. Vavra, U.S. T.R. Nansel, M.D. Overpeck, D.L. Crisis Situations in Schools: A Review
Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Haynie, W.J. Ruan, and P.C. Scheidt, “Re- of Recent Incidents,” in Proceedings
Investigation, Criminal Justice Informa- lationships Between Bullying and Violence of Persistently Safe Schools: The 2007
tion Services Division, Crime in Schools Among U.S. Youth,” Archives of Pediat- National Conference on Safe Schools, ed.
and Colleges: A Study of Offenders and rics and Adolescent Medicine 157, no. 4 D.L. White, B.C. Glenn, and A. Wimes
Arrestees Reported via National Incident- (2003): 248-353. (Washington, DC: Hamilton Fish Insti-
18
Based Reporting System Data (Clarksburg, O’Toole. tute, The George Washington University,
© Thinkstock.com 2007), 61-67.
WV, 2007).
25
4
Indicators of School Crime and Harmon.
26
Safety. Harmon.
27
5
Noonan and Vavra. Harmon.
28
6
O’Toole. O’Toole.
29
7
O’Toole. O’Toole.
30
8
L.A. McCloskey, A.J. Figueredo, and For more information about SRO
M.P. Koss, “The Effects of Systemic Fam- programs and training, visit the National
ily Violence on Children’s Mental Health,” Association of School Resource Officers
Child Development 66, no. 5 (1995): Web site at http://www.nasro.org.
31
1239-1261; and J. Osofsky, “The Impact O’Toole; and P. Finn, “School
of Violence on Children,” The Future of Resource Officer Programs,” FBI Law
Children 9, no. 3 (1999): 33-49. Enforcement Bulletin, August 2006, 1-7.
9 32
C. Casanueva, S.L. Martin, D.K. Ru- O’Toole.
33
nyan, R.P. Barth, and R.H. Bradley, “Qual- U.S. Department of Health and
ity of Maternal Parenting Among Intimate- Human Services, “Involvement of Law
Partner Violence Victims Involved with the Enforcement Officers in Bullying Pre-
Child Welfare System,” Journal of Family vention,” (accessed May 20, 2010).
Violence 23 (2008): 413-427. 34
National School Safety Center Web
10
S.W. Twemlow, “Assessing Adoles- site, http//:www.nssc1.org (accessed May
cents Who Threaten Homicide in Schools: 20, 2010).
A Recent Update,” Clinical Social Work 19
Casanueva, Martin, Runyan, Barth, 35
PBS Frontline, “Frontline: The
Journal 36 (2008): 127-129. and Bradley. Killer at Thurston High,” http://www.pbs.
11
O’Toole. 20
C.A. Anderson and K.E. Dill, “Video org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/
12
O’Toole. Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, (accessed May 20, 2010).
13
M.R. Leary, R.M. Kowalski, L. and Behavior in the Laboratory and in 36
Nansel, Overpeck, Haynie, Ruan,
Smith, and S. Phillips, “Teasing, Rejection, Life,” Journal of Personality and Social and Scheidt.
and Violence: Case Studies of the School Psychology 78, no. 4 (2000): 772-790. 37
Nansel, Overpeck, Haynie, Ruan,
Shootings,” Aggressive Behavior 29, no. 3 21
K. Mohandie, School Violence Threat and Scheidt.
(2003): 202-214. Assessment (San Diego, CA: Specialized 38
Nansel, Overpeck, Haynie, Ruan,
14
A.M. LaGreca and H.M. Harrison, Training Services, 2000); and O’Toole. and Scheidt.
“Adolescent Peer Relationships, 22
American Medical Association, 39
Nansel, Overpeck, Haynie, Ruan,
Friendships, and Romantic Relationships: “School-Associated Violent Deaths in the and Scheidt.

May 2011 / 9
Bulletin Honors

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial


The Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial, initiated ed by
the Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Office, is the
state’s only monument that honors both police officers rs
and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty..
The first phase of the project, the bronze statue, was
unveiled in 2002, and the second phase, the granite
wall that displays the names of the fallen heroes,
followed in November 2005. The oldest names on
the wall date back to 1864, and new names are added
and unveiled at an annual ceremony held every Sep-
tember 11th. Currently, 787 names from all police and d
fire departments across Michigan reside on the wall. all.
The memorial honors the lives, service, and memories ories
of all law enforcement officers and firefighters who ho lost
their lives in the line of duty. The site itself serves as a place
where loved ones and the general public may visit, remember, and pay re-
spect to these honorable men and women. For more information, please visit
www.michiganfallenheroesmemorial.com.

10 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Police Corruption
An Analytical Look into Police Ethics
By RICH MARTIN, M.S.

© Thinkstock.com

A
lthough studied and that only 56 percent of people early in their careers who might
researched, the topic rated the police as having a high compromise the department’s
of police corruption, in or very high ethical standard as integrity. In addition, research
large part, remains a mystery. compared with 84 percent for has discovered new methods
Sir Robert Peel was credited nurses.1 of testing candidates for their
with the concept that the police Over the past few decades, psychological propensity to act
depend on citizen cooperation great strides have occurred in ethically. However, unethical
in providing services in a demo- the law enforcement profession. conduct by the nation’s police
cratic society. As such, the detri- To begin with, many police officers continues to occur in
mental aspects of police mis- agencies have avoided hiring departments large and small.
conduct cannot be overstated. candidates who have low ethi- Research into police corrup-
In terms of public trust for law cal standards and have identi- tion offers some understanding
enforcement, recent polls show fied those onboard employees of the phenomenon in the hope

May 2011 / 11
of rooting out this behavior that characteristics that he feels 6. Justice: not in its normal
serves to undermine the overall officers must possess to have context, but, rather, ad-
legitimacy of law enforcement. integrity. justing what is owed to a
Theories on the role of society 1. Prudence: the ability to particular citizen even when
in law enforcement, the nega- discern between conflict- it may contradict what is
tive influence of an officer’s ing virtues and decide the strictly owed
department, and a person’s own best action to take 7. Responsibility: intend-
natural tendency to engage in ing to do the right thing,
unethical behavior have been 2. Trust: loyalty and truth-
fulness in relationships clearly understanding what
offered as explanations of police the right thing is, and being
corruption.2 So, the author poses between officers and citi-
zens, fellow officers, and fully aware of other alterna-
the question: Is this noble goal tives that may exist; taking
to rid our nation’s police orga- supervisors
responsibility, rather than
nizations of unethical behavior 3. Effacement of self-inter- finding excuses for mistakes
possible and plausible? ests: without this, officers or poor judgment
may exploit their author-
Integrity ity to further themselves Leadership
First of all, the discussion of Leadership constitutes an
ethics as related to law enforce- 4. Courage: the mean
between cowardice and integral part of police work,
ment must begin with a defini- and the head of an organization
tion of the word integrity. One foolhardiness
holds the ultimate responsibil-
researcher has said that it is “the 5. Intellectual honesty: ity for its shortcomings. Con-
sum of the virtues required to not knowing something versely, this individual greatly
bring about the general goals of and being humble and can influence the success of an
protections and service to the courageous enough to agency. As such, leaders have a
public.”3 He created a list of admit it significant impact in preventing
corruption.
In working toward the


goals of a department, the top
executives play a primary role
In working in forming the organizational
toward the goals climate. Those who strive to
maintain a high standard of
of a department, the ethical conduct can serve as
top executives play a the key to prevent corruption
primary role in forming and maintain the public’s trust.4
the organizational As one researcher explained,
climate.


principled leaders do not act to
protect their own egos, try to
put on a good appearance with-
Officer Martin serves with the Rochester, New York, Police Department
out substance in their decisions
and is an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Keuka College or efforts, or attempt to intimi-
and Finger Lakes Community College. date those under them. Instead,

12 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


principle-based executives the opposite also remains true: their response. So, while it is
who work with their subor- uncaring and incompetent of- incumbent upon the leaders to
dinates can take an important ficials actually can promote create an atmosphere that pro-
step toward creating an ethi- misconduct. motes ethical conduct, it falls to
cal climate by developing an The possibility exists that no each member of the organiza-
agenda that explains the moral matter how conscientious they tion to ensure that this standard
purposes of the department. are and how thoroughly they of integrity is carried out.
But, leaders bent on taking do their jobs, first- and second- Finally, mentoring younger
on the task of stopping cor- level commanders cannot keep officers can allow corruption
rupt behavior in their depart- an officer inclined to act unethi- to spread. Once a void is cre-
ments must use care. Unless cally from doing so.6 The ratio ated by the lack of strong or
a thorough understanding of officers to supervisors is too cohesive leadership, it will fill
as to the nature, extent, and high to allow for close enough with substandard or unethi-


organization of corruption cal officers looking to bolster
exists, efforts to combat it may their ranks. Therefore, it be-
be counterproductive. Without comes imperative that effective
gaining the necessary under- leaders—who share the same
standing of the department’s First of all, the goals—be in place to set the
climate, administrators actu- discussion of ethics standard for subordinates to
ally may lower morale among as related to law see and emulate.
members and strengthen the enforcement must
solidarity of those who will Work Environment
start to doubt the ability of
begin with a definition Law enforcement profes-
of the word integrity.


these people to effectively lead sionals completely understand
the agency. Moreover, such that their typical work environ-
actions can waste valuable ment may be less than ideal
department resources. at best and life threatening at
While leaders certainly worst. Within minutes, officers
play an integral part in form- oversight. However, in police must solve problems that have
ing the overall climate of work, leadership is not solely taken days, months, or some-
the organization, they alone defined by rank. Instead, all times years to develop. In this
cannot ensure that high levels officers need to exude some environment, excellence is a
of integrity are maintained. leadership skills because they necessity. A single incident
During a national sympo- operate, for the most part, in law enforcement can have
sium on police integrity, one without direct supervision. devastating effects felt through-
speaker noted that it still is Officers receive training out the country; this serves
“our sergeants, lieutenants, and a large quantity of rules to illustrate the intolerance of
and captains who have the and regulations and are en- police misconduct in American
daily and ongoing respon- trusted to perform their normal society.
sibility to ensure that the day-to-day duties within those “The major cause in the
appropriate workplace stan- guidelines. Supervisors gener- lack of integrity in American
dards are maintained.”5 But, ally are not involved unless a police officers is mediocrity.”7
while ethical supervisors help complaint against an officer Leadership that allows for me-
maintain an ethical workplace, or a serious incident requires diocrity to first exist and then

May 2011 / 13
Law Enforcement
Oath of Honor

On my honor, I will never betray my


badge, my integrity, my character, or the
public trust. the behavior because the
pressure to produce results is
I will always have the courage to hold greater than that to follow the
myself and others accountable for our rules. Further, the fear of pun-
actions. ishment usually is not enough
to change unwanted behavior.10
I will always uphold the Constitution and So, while no law enforce-
community I serve. ment agencies should tolerate
mediocrity, another aspect of
—International Association of Chiefs of Police the moral makeup needs to be
patience. Those who engage
in criminal conduct do so as
a matter of business. Rarely
are they committing such an
act for the first time. It is this
notion that needs to be instilled
in the psyche of today’s police
remain, rather than demanding pressure is to produce, to show officers. The fact that an of-
the highest level of conduct activity, to get the collars. It’s fender is known is the key. If
within a department, can create all about numbers, like the body officers cannot arrest that sub-
a climate ripe for misconduct. count in Vietnam. The rest of ject on one occasion, other op-
However, a high degree of the system determines if you portunities will arise, thereby
ethics that will prevent leaders got the right guy or not.”9 removing the imperative need
from compromising their in- It is this push for results to compromise their integrity
tegrity in lieu of expediency or by administrators that some to get the “bad guy” now.
personal profit can stifle poten- officers can interpret as their
tial misconduct.8 agencies not caring or wanting Police Subculture
In police work, results are to know how those results are The profession of policing,
measured in such terms as obtained. These officers may as well as many others, has
the number of arrests and the see it as a license to get results a subculture unto itself. The
amount of weapons and drugs at all costs. Because policing morbid sense of humor per-
recovered. This being the case, often is equated to war (e.g., haps illustrates one of the most
officers will find ways to ac- the “war on drugs”), this war widely known characteristics.
complish these tasks or risk mentality can produce many of In relation to corruption, how-
being passed over for promo- today’s integrity issues. ever, the police subculture ei-
tions or specialized assign- Such a work environment ther can prevent the existence
ments. As a result, some officers causes officers to feel that they of it or be a vehicle to spread it
may choose to “cut corners” are doing what is wanted by throughout a department. This
or violate the law and not even their organizations and the pub- subculture may be the most
consider their conduct unethi- lic. However, when their con- difficult aspect to address.
cal. In an interview following duct becomes illegal or unethi- A subculture is a group
his conviction and subsequent cal, their departments impose of individuals who generally
incarceration for his activities, punishment. Then, afterwards, share attitudes, perceptions,
one officer explained, “The the officers may continue with assumptions, values, beliefs,

14 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


ways of living, and traditions. that the length of time an of- to trade their integrity for that
Because police work entails so ficer is exposed to this social- loyalty.
many experiences unique to ization process, the greater its A distinct line exists be-
the field, the subculture almost impact. tween constructive dedication
can become stronger than the When this loyalty to the that results in team cohesive-
officer’s family ties. Addition- subculture becomes too strong, ness and misguided allegiance
ally, work schedules outside the solidarity that follows can that pits a group or an individ-
the normal realm can lead to adversely affect the ethical ual against the overall law en-
feelings of isolation that further values of the officers. The forcement mission. It is impor-
strengthen the bond of the typical “us versus them” men- tant that leaders have a means
subculture. tality creates an allegiance to of gauging the atmosphere
Senior officers may test the members stronger than that of their agency. Every police


new members of the law organization will (and prob-
enforcement profession. For ably should) take pride in doing
example, they may see how difficult and dangerous tasks. In
amiable recruits are to accept- addition, a certain cohesiveness
ing gratuities. It long has been ...while ethical likely will occur between those
believed that this practice can supervisors help who share job experiences. This
be a gateway to more serious maintain an ethical probably exists more in units
corruption as it provides the workplace,... uncaring considered elite because of the
opportunity for corrupt intent.11 and incompetent greater dangers and difficulties
Accepting the free cup of cof- officials actually in those assignments.
fee is the example most often can promote In such units, pride can


used, and it is held that once evolve into a general feeling of
officers engage in minor illegal
misconduct. superiority among its members.
or corrupt behavior, they find it This, in turn, can lead to a type
easier to do more. of separation from the rest of
But, accepting small gra- the agency. When this occurs,
tuities is a test of loyalty. In to the mission of the department these units may develop their
the corrupt subculture, fidelity or even the profession. And, own conduct, which may not
becomes more important than the “them” may include not just align with departmental policy
integrity, and officers learn nonpolice but also their organi- and procedure. The “this is
that their peers frown upon zation when officers feel a dis- the way we do it in this unit”
morality and independence.12 connect and animosity between mentality begins to set in. If
Research into this process of themselves and administrative left unchecked, it can lead to a
inculcating recruits into the policies. Thus, conflicts can and feeling of being untouchable,
group found that newer officers will arise when personnel face especially when coupled with
were more willing to admit a choice between what may be a lack of strong leadership. In
to seeing unethical acts (e.g., ethically right and their devotion monitoring this cohesiveness,
accepting free food) commit- to the other members. Such a effective leaders can detect
ted by other officers than were strong fidelity toward their fel- when the pride that members
those with more time on the low officers over commitment to feel toward doing their dif-
job. One conclusion would be do what is right causes members ficult and dangerous job and

May 2011 / 15
the closeness of sharing that field of law enforcement in- to this training remains rath-
experience with their cowork- volved ethics and integrity. Pos- er insignificant in the face of
ers crosses into an unhealthy itively, the research concluded such a need. “Strategies for ac-
misdirection of loyalty. that a majority of the agencies cepting the fact that officers do
surveyed (80.3 percent) com- not control their police role,
Corruption Prevention mit resources to train instructors but do have absolute control
The obvious sought-after to teach ethics courses, and 72 over their integrity and profes-
result of all of the research into percent of the organizations said sionalism have to be taught and
police corruption is the eradica- that they provide some ethics- practiced.”15
tion of that malady. Each topic related training beyond the
discussed so far plays an in- basic academy experience. But, Conclusion
tegral role in determining the while almost all of the agencies Policing requires perfec-
ethical standard. As such, it (83.3 percent) taught ethics to tion and unyielding ethics


becomes crucially important and ultimately depends on
to focus efforts toward these each employee’s own level of
specific elements. knowledge, rationality, and
A major consideration in devotion to moral excellence.
rooting out misconduct is not Leadership that Anything less than perfect ethi-
hiring unethical individuals. allows for mediocrity cal conduct can be disastrous
Agencies adequately must for a department, a community,
screen candidates and hire the
to first exist and then
and an entire nation. While of-
most conscientious ones be- remain, rather than ficers are only human and will
cause they have a higher degree demand the highest continue to make mistakes,
of integrity. Conscientiousness level of conduct within ethical misconduct cannot be
can be assessed through con- a department, can tolerated.
duct because, as one researcher create a climate ripe To ensure the ethical be-


states, an incorruptible person for misconduct. havior of their officers, agen-
“is truthful in word and deed cies must possess three basic
just because truthfulness has tenets. First, they must have a
become second nature with policy in existence that spells
him.”13 out their ethical mission and
Once new hires are on the recruits in the academy, only sets standards that officers
job, their leaders must continue a surprising minority (34.4 must live up to. Second, strong
to work toward creating an percent) had ethics as a rated and ethical leadership must
atmosphere of ethics and integ- category on their field training exist and be in place. These ex-
rity. Fostering such a climate reports for those new officers.14 ecutives set the tone for the de-
is an integral part of reducing An apparent recognized de- partment and lead by example,
unethical behavior. In a study mand exists for expanded train- never choosing the easy route
conducted by the International ing hours, more quality training in lieu of the ethical one. Third,
Association of Chiefs of Police, resources, and greater involve- agencies must ensure that
7 of the top 10 issues deter- ment with ethics training at all they hire ethical people and
mined as critically important to levels of the organization, but appropriately deal with those
officers actively working in the the number of hours dedicated onboard who are not. In short,

16 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


11
an ethical police organization Therapy and Comparative Criminology 47 J. Ruiz and C. Bono, “At What Price
“will require the scrupulous (2003): 272-290. a ‘Freebie’? The Real Cost of Police
3
Stephen Vicchio, “Ethics and Police Gratuities,” Criminal Justice Ethics, Janu-
adherence to existing policies Integrity,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, ary 2004, 44-53.
and standards, the ability to July 1997, 8-12. 12
Meese and Ortmeier, Leadership,
detect an individual or collec- 4
For additional information, see J. Ethics, and Policing: Challenges for the
tive pattern of performance Conditt, Jr., “Institutional Integrity,” FBI 21st Century.
13
which falls short of that expec- Law Enforcement Bulletin, November J.E. Delatore, Character and Cops
2001, 18-23; and R. Hunter, “Officer (Washington, DC: American Enterprise
tation, and the courage to deal Opinion on Police Misconduct,” Journal Institute of Public Policy Research, 1989),
with those who are responsible of Contemporary Criminal Justice 15, 65.
for those failures.”16 no. 2 (1999): 155-170. 14
International Association of Chiefs
5
Los Angeles Police Department, of Police (IACP), “Ethics Training in
Board of Inquiry into the Rampart Area Law Enforcement: A Report by the Eth-
Endnotes Corruption Incident (Los Angeles, CA, ics Training Subcommittee of the IACP
1
Gallup Poll News, “Nurses Shine, 2000), i. Ad Hoc Committee on Police Image
6
Bankers Slump in Ethics Ratings,” No- Vicchio, “Ethics and Police Integrity.” and Ethics,” http://web.archive.org/
7
vember 24, 2008, http://www.gallup.com/ Los Angeles Police Department, i. web/20010620062511/http://theiacp.org/
8
poll/112264/nurses-shine-while- E. Meese III and P. Ortmeier, Leader- pubinfo/Pubs/ethictrain.htm (accessed
bankers-slump-ethics-ratings.aspx ship, Ethics, and Policing: Challenges April 14, 2010).
15
(accessed April 16, 2010). for the 21st Century (Saddle River, NJ: K. Gilmartin and J. Harris, “Law
2
B. Arrigo and N. Claussen, “Police Prentice Hall, 2004). Enforcement Ethics: The Continuum of
9
Corruption and Psychological Testing: M. Kramer, “How Cops Go Bad,” Compromise,” Police Chief, January
A Strategy for Preemployment Screen- Time, December 15, 1997, 81. 1998, 5.
10 16
ing,” International Journal of Offender Ibid., 82. Los Angeles Police Department, ii.

Wanted:
Notable Speeches

T he FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin seeks transcripts of presentations made by criminal


justice professionals for its Notable Speech department. Anyone who has delivered a
speech recently and would like to share the information with a wider audience may submit a
transcript of the presentation to the Bulletin for consideration.
As with article submissions, the Bulletin staff will edit the speech for length and clarity,
but, realizing that the information was presented orally, maintain as much of the original
flavor as possible. Presenters should submit their transcripts typed and double-spaced on
8 ½- by 11-inch white paper with all pages numbered, along with an electronic version of the
transcript saved on computer disk, or e-mail them. Send the material to: Editor, FBI Law En-
forcement Bulletin, FBI Academy, Outreach and Communications Unit, Quantico, VA 22135,
or to leb@fbiacademy.edu.

May 2011 / 17
Perspective

Accountability

Personnel Management Triangle

Capability Responsibility

Accountability
Prerequisites Required
By Scott Bieber, M.P.A.

R emember your college days, scouring


the course catalog for a class to fill an
open elective spot? Just when you thought you
Commander Bieber
serves with the Vancouver,
Washington, Police
found the right course, you saw that dreaded Department, and also as
notation: “prerequisites required.” Fast forward president/CEO of an
employment investigations
some years, and prerequisites remain a concern. company.
Most managerial jobs demand them. One of a
manager’s most important responsibilities, hold-
ing employees accountable for their performance,
falls into this category.
As organizations struggle to function with
fewer resources, managers must hold their em-
ployees accountable for their responsibility to
improve efficiency. Unfortunately, many super-
visors fail to meet the prerequisites that account-
ability demands: capability and responsibility.

18 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Accountability comprises only one point of the employee-training program to introduce new hires
personnel management triangle. to the specific tasks and procedures of their jobs.
Supervisors and managers must view all three When employees lack proper training, supervi-
points of this triangle in concert. Before increased sors cannot hold them fully accountable for their
accountability improves productivity, employees shortcomings. If, however, organizations provide
must possess the capabilities and responsibilities personnel with the appropriate training and they
for their assigned tasks. Because of this process, still fail to perform their duties, then only the
the prerequisites of capability and responsibility employees remain accountable for their lack of
play a vital role in an orga- performance.
nization’s success. Next, for personnel to


maintain and improve their
THE PREREQUISITES capabilities throughout
their tenure, organizations
Capability
As organizations must commit time and re-
How can employers struggle to function with sources to career develop-
hold personnel respon- fewer resources, managers ment. If employees never
sible for their duties if must hold their employees receive formal instruction
these employees simply
are incapable of complet-
accountable for their beyond entry-level train-
responsibility to improve ing, their skills will not
ing their tasks? Whether progress past this point. If
at the hiring, training, or efficiency. agencies expect their em-


development stage, the ployees to complete more
organization needs to en- challenging tasks, supervi-
sure that personnel truly sors and managers must
qualify for their job. To mentor and guide them in
meet the capability prerequisite, organizational their career development. Managers also should
leaders must hire candidates with the necessary encourage qualified employees from inside the
skills, provide them with proper training, and de- organization to transition into roles with greater
velop them as they progress in the organization. If responsibility. When supervisors promote from
supervisors accomplish this, they more likely will within, the internal hire seldom surprises the team
employ workers who contribute meaningfully to the way a lateral hire might.
the agency’s mission.
During the hiring stage, employers must iden- Responsibility
tify the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities As with capability, how can supervisors hold
for a particular position and honestly communicate employees accountable for their performance if
these criteria to job candidates. When an orga- they fail to give personnel ownership over their
nization hires an incapable candidate, the hiring work? Supervisors can gauge performance ad-
authority remains accountable when that employee equately only after they give employees respon-
fails to meet job expectations. The agency can, of sibility over their jobs, empower them with the
course, terminate the individual and refill the posi- appropriate authority, and provide them with the
tion, but this process wastes time and resources. necessary resources. Then, it is up to employees
Even when employers hire only fully quali- to execute their jobs and supervisors to expect a
fied candidates, they still must design a new certain level of competency.

May 2011 / 19
Too often, however, managers feel insecure a task to a capable employee, that employee will
when their employees operate without constant complete it satisfactorily. Further, when employ-
direction and oversight. Micromanagers do not ees receive more challenging work, they gradually
expect their personnel to accomplish tasks with- adjust to these external expectations, and their
out specific direction; in other words, they feel internal expectations for themselves creep higher
troubled when subordinates take their own initia- without any formal action from their boss. Super-
tive. These managers only want their employees to visors must ensure that their employees do not
perform the tasks they dictate so they can specify define accountability as blame or discipline, but,
how and when they want them completed. While rather, an opportunity for recognition and growth.
micromanagers may praise self-initiated activity in
theory, they frown on it in reality. Recognition
Employees who operate beneath a micro- Accountability should hold positive connota-
manager feel they are not required to accomplish tions for employees; it presents an opportunity to
any tasks until they receive an edict from above. act independently and receive recognition for a
Because of this attitude, micromanagement fos- job well done. Supervisors also should emphasize
ters inefficiency the same way that empowerment that they only will recognize efforts that exceed
drives efficiency. Even the most competent super- expectations, not just meet them. Recognizing
visors cannot involve themselves in all of their employees who only meet minimal expectations
employees’ responsibilities; managers need to feel weakens performance standards and cheapens
sufficiently confident in their personnel to not only formal recognition. Also, organizational expecta-
delegate specific tasks but truly relinquish some tions naturally should increase over time as the
control. exceptional performance of one year sets the bar
Additionally, as employees develop, they can for the next.
and should wield responsibilities that match their Despite the negative perceptions of account-
skills and experience. People respond to challeng- ability, in reality, positive reinforcement figures
ing, meaningful work, and supervisors and manag- prominently in a culture of accountability. Rec-
ers need to provide that challenge. If employees do ognizing employees for their exceptional efforts
not receive progressively more demanding work and accomplishments enhances their sense of
even as their experience deepens, their develop- pride, worth, and contribution to the organization,
ment stagnates. This limits employees’ capabilities which drives them to work harder. Not only does
and promotes organizational inefficiencies. the quantity of their work grow but the quality
improves. When employees feel that their work
THE ULTIMATE GOAL: contributes to the success of their organization,
ACCOUNTABILITY they naturally strive to contribute more and, thus,
Once supervisors firmly ingrain accountabil- improve with each task they complete.
ity’s prerequisites into the work environment, they Conversely, when personnel receive only
can concern themselves with accountability. Many seemingly menial assignments with no explana-
managers think of accountability as synonymous tion as to their importance, they gain the impres-
with discipline, or they use accountability to point sion that their supervisors hold only minimal ex-
the finger at employees and blame them if some- pectations for them. Thus, these employees never
thing goes wrong. Accountability, however, func- feel challenged to accomplish more, and they
tions quite differently from discipline or blame. apply only minimal effort to these tasks. The most
Accountability relates to expectation. Supervi- effective managers garner the best results from
sors can and should expect that if they delegate their employees; this proves that when a supervisor

20 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Rewarding Success
(Recognition) Mending Mistakes
provides meaningful work
for their employees and
rewards exceptional per- Requiring Results
(Expectations) Accountability
Punishing Misconduct
(Discipline)
formance, personnel rise to
the challenge and work to
the best of their abilities.
Despite an organiza-
tion’s best efforts, there
always will be employees Personnel Management Triangle
who meet expectations but
never exceed them. These
“bell curve” employees Capability Responsibility
perform at less-than-ex-
Delegating Self-initiation
ceptional, but nonetheless Hiring Development
acceptable, levels. Instead Training Providing Access Authorization
to Resources
of disciplining person-
nel who fall in this range,
managers should strive
to move the bell curve higher through their own Intentional misconduct requires vastly differ-
management techniques. Managers should reserve ent remediation than mistakes. Misconduct is not
discipline for those employees who truly fail to about capability, responsibility, accountability, or
meet performance standards. accidental missteps. Instead, misconduct describes
a situation in which an employee knowingly be-
Discipline haves incorrectly and, therefore, requires immedi-
Positive reinforcement tactics may not cure ate discipline.
every case of underperformance. Some personnel Supervisors and personnel alike should not
never may meet performance expectations even in view the disciplinary process as entirely negative;
a culture of accountability and positive reinforce- by design, effective discipline positively modifies
ment. Once the employer establishes the prereq- behavior. If the manager disciplines successfully,
uisites of capability and responsibility, only the employees will alter their behavior and improve
employees have ownership of their own failures; their performance without further action. In rare
at this point, accountability should take the form cases, employees behave egregiously enough
of disciplinary action. to deserve immediate termination; more often,
In their zeal to enforce accountability, how- however, productive discipline changes their
ever, managers occasionally lose sight of the dif- behavior and aligns them with the organization’s
ference between honest mistakes and intentional expectations.
misconduct. They hinder productivity when they To ensure that the disciplinary process is as
discipline employees who unintentionally fumble painless as possible, managers and supervisors
a task. To resolve this in a productive way, person- always should build the proper foundation for
nel should correct their errors (perhaps with the their decisions. If managers punish personnel
assistance of others) and demonstrate that they without proper justification, the employees likely
learned from the mistake. If an employee repeated- will appeal; if the organization repeatedly invali-
ly commits the same errors and refuses to remedy dates managers’ disciplinary actions, the decisions
them, then the disciplinary process begins. quickly lose their potency.

May 2011 / 21
Managers may need guidance to determine proven offense and the record of the employ-
when to use formal discipline, how to keep the ee’s service with the company?1
process fair, and how to justify their decisions. Supervisors should apply these criteria to
Originally written in 1966, the “Seven Tests of Just build the proper foundation for disciplinary ac-
Cause” by arbitrator Carroll Daugherty remains tion. If managers establish “just cause” through
a fantastic guide for supervisors who want to de- these seven tests, then they mitigate the risk that
velop an effective disciplinary process. Daugherty they will discipline someone without sufficient
developed seven necessary criteria for fair disci- groundwork and, consequently, see their deci-
plinary action. sions overturned.
1) Did the company give to the employee fore-
warning or foreknowledge of the possible or CONCLUSION
probable disciplinary consequences of the Putting the right people in the right places
employee’s conduct? and letting them do their
2) Was the company’s jobs seems simple, but,


rule or managerial or- in reality, it demands that
der reasonably related employers, supervisors,
to the orderly, effi- Supervisors must managers, and organiza-
cient, and safe opera- ensure that their tional leaders complete
tion of the company’s employees do not define crucial prerequisites.
business, as well as accountability as blame These leaders must iden-
the performance that or discipline, but, rather, tify, hire, and develop
capable employees; dis-
the company properly an opportunity for play the courage to give
might expect of the recognition and those employees respon-
employee? growth.


sibility and authority for
3) Did the company, their tasks; and expect
before administering a minimum standard of
discipline to an em- performance. Addition-
ployee, make an effort ally, employees should receive positive reinforce-
to discover whether the individual did, in ment when they exceed those expectations, and
fact, violate or disobey a rule or order of supervisors should react appropriately when their
management? personnel fall short.
4) Was the company’s investigation conducted Capability, responsibility, and accountabil-
fairly and objectively? ity are mutually inclusive—it is impossible to
5) At the investigation, did the “judge” obtain enforce one or two without the other, yet many
substantial evidence or proof that the employ- supervisors make the fatal flaw of only focusing
ee was guilty as charged? on the ultimate goal of accountability. When it
comes to accountability, there is no easy elective;
6) Has the company applied its rules, orders, it demands the prerequisites of capability and
and penalties evenhandedly and without responsibility.
discrimination to all employees?
7) Was the degree of discipline administered by Endnotes
the company in a particular case reasonably 1
http://www.goiam.org/uploadedFiles/TCUnion/
related to the seriousness of the employee’s Reps_Corner/seventests.pdf

22 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Leadership Spotlight

Seasons
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I n Band of Brothers, Stephen A. Ambrose


recounts the story of what happened when
the recently promoted Dick Winters saw his
previous command, Easy Company, imperiled
from a lack of leadership in the heat of battle.
world, a new season of leadership brings irrevo-
cable changes. The previous season prepares the
way for the new one. Yet, although the landscape
still may be familiar, new challenges and oppor-
tunities come with the change, and new responses
Ambrose noted, “Winters grabbed an M-1 and are required. The most successful leaders contin-
started to run across the field, headed for the ually expand their horizons while never forgetting
stationary company and its pinned-down 1st the lessons learned in those previous seasons.
platoon. He intended to take command, get those One critical caveat differentiates law enforce-
men moving. But as he ran down, he thought, ment leaders from individuals advancing in a
‘Geez, I can’t do this. I’m running this battalion. similar manner outside of the criminal justice
I can’t commit myself.’ He turned and raced world. As long as they carry a badge and a gun,
back.” Upon his return, Winters quickly located leaders at all levels in law enforcement continu-
a capable subordinate and ordered him to take ally must maintain a high level of tactical readi-
charge of the company. ness and technical proficiency with their equip-
Like Dick Winters, after a promotion, many ment. Neither the citizens protected by the leaders
law enforcement leaders find it difficult to adjust nor the “bad guys” readily differentiate among the
their passion for and perspective on the subordi- recent academy graduate, chief, sheriff, or bureau
nate units they previously led or comprised a part commander during an in extremis moment.
of prior to their elevation in rank or responsibil- In the young and eager years of their career,
ity. This holds especially true for those newly most sworn members of a law enforcement
knighted front-line leaders who only recently agency frequently prepare for and seek “doors”
were “just one of the troops.” Larger agencies to go through and bad guys to catch. In their later
may address this challenge by reassigning the seasons, leaders find that, frequently, their focus
newly elevated leader to a completely different moves away from directly seeking those situa-
geographical or functional area. In most agen- tions to leading and supporting others who do.
cies, however, this not always is an option, and However, the obligation of law enforcement lead-
the new leader still has a level of responsibility ers to remain prepared and ready for encounters
for the previous unit. And, such a move does not with such a door or bad guy remains. Throughout
always address the challenge individual leaders their career, every law enforcement leader should
face in adjusting their mind-set to more quickly be prepared to respond in a tactical manner when
and successfully handle their expanded roles in duty requires it. The need for such readiness tran-
the organization. Without such an internal adjust- scends all seasons.
ment to see the “bigger picture,” effectiveness
is jeopardized, and leaders cannot sufficiently Special Agent Jeffrey C. Lindsey, chief of the Law
fulfill their broader mandate. Enforcement National Data Exchange Unit at the FBI’s
One way to mentally prepare or adjust to a Criminal Justice Information Services Division in
Clarksburg, West Virginia, prepared this Leadership
position of increased responsibility is to view it Spotlight.
in terms of a new season of life. As in the natural

May 2011 / 23
The Current
Status of GSR
Examinations
By MICHAEL TRIMPE

© Thinkstock.com

R
esearch and advance- of primer GSR, additional re- SEM/EDS provides increased
ments in technology search and development have specificity, as well as the abil-
have brought chang- led to improvements and refine- ity to conduct analysis without
es to gunshot residue (GSR) ex- ments in how authorities detect chemicals. Recently, technolog-
aminations over the past sever- GSR.1 Particle analysis by scan- ical advances have made parti-
al years. While the Final Report ning electron microscopy/ener- cle analysis quicker and easier,
on Particle Analysis for Gun- gy dispersive x-ray spectrom- but most current research in-
shot Residue Detection, released etry (SEM/EDS) has become volves the interpretation of
in 1977, still stands as an excel- the preferred method of analy- results.
lent comprehensive report on sis over bulk techniques, such Communication among
the analysis and interpretation as atomic absorption, because SEM gunshot residue analysts

24 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


has inspired research and stud- Firearms examiners use this formation of tiny metal-contain-
ies that, in turn, have brought type of GSR to determine the ing particles. These particles
about enhanced understand- distance between the muzzle fall on anything in the vicinity
ing and increased confidence of a gun and a target. When of the fired weapon, including
in GSR interpretation. Con- forensic trace evidence examin- the hands of the shooter, and
versely, media coverage of ers receive a request to look for typically measure 1 to 10 mi-
specific cases involving GSR, GSR on the hands or clothing of crons (10-6 m) in size (for com-
as well as articles in nonpeer- a suspected shooter, they search parison, a typical human hair is
reviewed publications, have led for residue from the primer. approximately 100 microns in
to confusion about the meaning The firing pin of a gun diameter). Finding and viewing
of GSR findings.2 Reputable hits the back of the cartridge, primer GSR particles require a
scientists always have reported activating the shock-sensitive high-powered microscope, such
that the finding of GSR cannot primer, which ignites the gun- as an SEM.
indicate the shooter, yet mem- powder, forcing the bullet down Gunshot residue particles
bers of the media usually seem the barrel of the gun and on can be removed easily from the
surprised to learn that. Never- its path. The heat and pressure surfaces they land on. Regu-
theless, GSR findings continue within the cartridge vaporize lar activities, such as putting
to add value simply because the metals from the primer. Va- hands in pockets, rubbing hands
numerous population studies pors escape from any area of together, or handling items, can
have shown that GSR is not the weapon not gas tight, like wipe them away.4 The washing
normally found on the average the breach area and muzzle. of hands can remove most, if
person.3 In addition, exhaustive The heat of this explosive reac- not all, particles. Rates of loss
study into the search for false tion and subsequent cooling vary widely with the activity
positive results has strength- results in the condensation and of the subject. Depending on
ened the opinion that SEM/
EDS particle analysis can
attribute the source of certain


particles to the discharge of a
firearm.
Research and
Primer GSR advancements in
A discussion of the collec- technology have
tion, analysis, interpretation, brought changes to
and reporting of GSR requires GSR examinations
an understanding of the forma-
tion of primer residue particles.
over the past
several years.


Most residue originating from
the barrel of a gun is burned,
unburned, or partially burned
propellant (gunpowder) and Mr. Trimpe, a trace evidence examiner with the Hamilton County
contains metal particulates, Coroner’s Office in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the chairman of the
Scientific Working Group on Gunshot Residue.
such as lead, copper, brass, or
nickel from jacketing material.

May 2011 / 25
conditions and activity, particles lifters; however, these require four (left back, left palm, right
may be removed from a shoot- an extra step of carbon coating back, and right palm). One lifter
er’s hands within 4 to 5 hours to prevent charging from the can suffice when sampling an
after a shooting event.5 They electron beam hitting the sam- entire hand, front and back.9
also can transfer from a surface ple during analysis. Lifters from separate hands can
or person to another individual; The adhesive is located on be considered and analyzed
the amount depends on the an aluminum stub fixed into as one subject’s sample at the
number of GSR particles on the the cap of a plastic container. lab. Finding particles on the
contaminated surface (e.g., a Removing the cap exposes the left hand versus the right hand
person’s clothing or hands) and tape, and the sample collection or back versus palm holds no
likely will be a small percentage official can press the adhesive— significance because analysts
of the total number of particles without ever touching it—to the do not know the activity of the


present. Tests show that people hands between the time of the
standing within 3 feet to the shooting and the time of col-
side of a shooter may have GSR lection and because both hands
on their hands, whereas those likely are in the vicinity of the
standing 10 or more feet in the When submitting fired weapon. Investigators can
same direction typically will evidence, press lifters to the face, hair, or
not.6 This can vary with the type investigators must clothing if they suspect that the
of gun and ammunition, number realize that forensic hands have been cleaned be-
of shots fired, and the environ- testing laboratories tween shooting and collection or
ment of the shooting. Gunshot can have different covered at the time of the event.
primer residue also can travel case-acceptance For sampling inanimate


downrange with each firing of a criteria. objects, like clothing, investiga-
weapon.7 Long guns, like rifles tors employ the same type of
and shotguns, tend to leave adhesive lifters. The areas of the
less GSR on shooters than garment for sampling depend on
handguns.8 whether the person wearing the
sampling surface. The sub- clothes was believed to be firing
GSR Samples mitting officer completes the a gun, carrying one in a specific
Investigators collect primer information form, which pro- location, or trying to conceal
GSR with adhesive lifters, vides collection-site data (e.g., a gun in a particular manner.
sometimes referred to in sup- condition of the subject’s hands, Analysts usually avoid exces-
ply catalogs as dabs or stubs. known activity prior to collec- sively soiled or bloody areas of
Several companies sell them, tion, estimated time of shooting, clothing as these materials can
usually as a kit with gloves, in- and exact time of collection), as inhibit the ability to find GSR
structions, an information form, well as the type of gun and am- particles. Laboratory tests have
and tape to seal the kit when munition used in the event, shown that GSR on clothing
finished. The adhesive contains if known. will last considerably longer
carbon, which colors it black Investigators should use one than on hands, but exactly how
and makes it able to conduct lifter per collection site. Some long remains unknown and
electrons in the SEM. Analysts kits contain two (left hand and greatly depends on the activ-
also can use clear adhesive right hand), and others feature ity of the clothing and the type

26 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


of fabric.10 Similar to hands, currency samples and might test hands and wear gloves when
however, washing will remove only enough samples to reach sampling suspects to prevent
most, if not all, residue from the maximum charge in its jurisdic- contamination. While law
clothing.11 tion. A firearms testing facility enforcement personnel could
When submitting evidence, may not analyze clothing for be a potential source of GSR
investigators must realize that distance determinations, per- because they carry guns, studies
forensic testing laboratories can form function tests on firearms, have shown that few of them
have different case-acceptance or compare unfired ammunition. have particles on their hands
criteria. For instance, some may Investigators best can maximize because they clean their hands
not test victims, kits unsuitable the use of GSR analysis results much more often than they
for SEM analysis, or samples by knowing the laboratory’s touch their weapons.14 Never-
collected past a specified time case acceptance policy and the theless, police officers should
limit. Each facility must assess reasoning behind it.13 avoid contact with a subject’s
the needs of the community it hands before sampling. If armed
serves, the importance of the Contamination officers collect the samples,
testing, and the cost of analysis. Police officers are trained a disposable lab coat, along
In addition, laboratories must to collect samples as soon as with proper hand washing and
consider the personnel, instru- possible after apprehending, glove use, can minimize the
mentation, and time available a suspect—preferably, before risk of contamination. As police
for the work involved. As one transportation to the police vehicles and interrogation
example, the FBI Laboratory station—and to clean their rooms are potential sources of
no longer accepts GSR cases
because of a decision that its
resources would serve its com-
munity, the United States, better
when directed toward fighting
terrorism.12
Case acceptance criteria
applies to all forensic examina-
tions, including those involving
GSR, fingerprints, hairs, soils,
DNA, and drugs. Therefore, it
is common for one GSR test-
ing laboratory to accept victim,
back and palm, clothing, and
face samples, as well as those
collected beyond 5 hours, while
another facility does not. Cor-
respondingly, one laboratory
might reject DNA samples for
lesser crimes while another may
accept them. A drug laboratory
may not accept syringe or Hamilton County Coroner’s Office SEM/EDS system

May 2011 / 27
contamination, investigators Analysis finds suspected GSR particles,
should collect GSR samples Analysis of the adhesive the analyst relocates and manu-
before transporting subjects stub is performed with an SEM/ ally confirms a sufficient num-
in a police car or questioning EDS. At least 140 SEMs used ber of them. The examiner
them at the station. Studies for GSR analysis exist in crime documents and reports con-
have indicated a low potential laboratories throughout the firmed GSR particles.
for secondary transfer in these world.16 Usually, such facilities A particle must meet certain
areas and that testing them oc- use a sophisticated software criteria to become characterized
casionally may help prove the program to automatically search as GSR. Three specifications, in
low risk of contamination.15 adhesive stubs for GRS par- particular, determine if a par-
During examination, safe- ticles. As the instrument detects ticle originates from the primer
guards can ensure that GSR of a discharged firearm.17 The


particles of suspected GSR, a
samples remain uncontaminat- elemental composition of the
ed in the laboratory. Samples particle is the most diagnostic
for GSR testing never should criterion. Most primers used in
be exposed to the firearms area North America consist of lead
of the facility. Sample stubs During examination, styphnate (Pb) as an initiating
are exposed only to the air safeguards can explosive, barium nitrate (Ba)
immediately before and after ensure that GSR as an oxidizer, and antimony
placement in the SEM vacuum samples remain sulfide (Sb) as a fuel; therefore,
chamber. A positive control uncontaminated in a combination of these elements
the laboratory.


(e.g., a stub containing GSR) in a single particle proves very
and a blank (e.g., an unused significant. ASTM 1588 Stan-
stub from the submitted sample dard Guide for Gunshot Residue
collection kit or one free of Analysis by Scanning Electron
GSR) in each analysis ensure Microscopy/Energy Dispersive
that contamination has not oc- computer stores the coordinates X-ray Spectrometry (SEM/
curred and that the instrument of each one for manual confir- EDS) contains a complete list of
functions properly. To monitor mation by trained laboratory elemental compositions allowed
the examination area, person- personnel upon completion of in primer GSR determinations.
nel place a blank adhesive the automated analysis. Analyst- Second, the morphology of the
lifter in the laboratory where controlled setup and manual tiny condensed primer residue
clothing is tested for GSR. confirmation of results is te- particles typically is spheroid or
The examination area and the dious and time-consuming; the shows shape characteristics of
SEM instrument area should be actual automated search of one having been molten.18
located far from the firearms blank stub can take 2 to 6 hours, Finally, how the particle re-
section of a laboratory. Addi- depending on the instrument lates to the population of par-
tionally, no armed personnel or and chosen parameters. If a ticles in the sample is impor-
persons who made contact with sample contains a large number tant in determining its source.
the firearms section on the day of detected particles, the dura- Studies have shown that certain
of analysis should have access tion of analysis could increase detonated fireworks, used brake
to those areas. greatly. Once the instrument pads, and exploded air bags can

28 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Scientific Working Group on Gunshot Residue

The advancements in GSR examinations over the past 40 years have led to improved analy-
sis and more reliable results. Further, communication among GSR analysts, especially via the
Internet, is making difficult interpretation easier to understand by instantly sharing research
and developments. This open communication has led to the recent formation of the Scientific
Working Group on Gunshot Resi-
due (SWGGSR). Consensus among
scientists performing GSR analysis
is becoming a global reality. The
SWGGSR consists of an interna-
tional conglomerate of experienced
scientists who conduct research and
issue guidelines for GSR investi-
gations, examinations, reporting,
and quality assurance to help GSR
analyses and results become better
understood and more reliable.
Scientific Working Group on Gunshot Residue (SWGGSR) logo

have particles with GSR-like reporting format exists because as “The presence of primer
elemental composition or mor- each jurisdiction abides by the residue on a person’s hand is
phology.19 But, each of those rules and practices govern- consistent with that person
materials contains addition- ing its court system. A section having discharged a firearm,
al elements inconsistent with pertaining to findings, results, having been in the vicinity of a
GSR identification. Therefore, or conclusions contains the firearm when it was discharged,
a comprehensive analysis of the substance of a forensic report. or having handled an item with
sample can eliminate false posi- These results must be not only primer residue on it.” Converse-
tives, leaving GSR as the only scientifically accurate but writ- ly, negative GSR reports often
possible source. In this area, re- ten in terms understandable to a contain a qualifying statement,
cent research and studies in the layperson. such as “The absence of gun-
search for false positives have In a GSR case, the submit- shot residue on a person’s hands
only brought about increased ting agency, attorneys, judge, does not eliminate that indi-
confidence in characterizing and jury all want to know if the vidual from having discharged
particles as GSR. suspect fired a gun. Unfortu- a firearm.” And, when GSR is
nately, the presence or absence found on an inanimate object,
Reporting of GSR on a person’s hands like clothing, a qualifier could
A forensic laboratory will cannot answer that question. be, “The presence of primer
issue a report of the findings Rather, as the accepted practice, residue on an item is consistent
and, possibly, an opinion in all positive gunshot residue with that item sometime having
certain cases. No universal reports include a qualifier, such been in the vicinity of a firearm

May 2011 / 29
when it was discharged or hav- the fired-cartridge casing in that Testimony
ing come in contact with primer particular case. GSR testimony can be
residue on another item.” A fo- When forensic laboratory challenging because of the
rensic GSR report also may list personnel find GSR in response difficulty in interpreting the
the instrumentation used (e.g., to a request, they must report results. An expert assumes the
SEM/EDS) and the criteria it. While experts expect to find role of teacher when describing
employed to define the gunshot numerous particles on the hands gunshot residue and its analy-
residue (e.g., elemental compo- of a shooter immediately after sis. After instructing the court
sition and morphology). the subject fired a weapon, dis- on the definition, production,
A laboratory report may ref- covering just one particle with collection, preservation, and
erence three- or two-component the correct elemental composi- analysis of GSR, the examiner
particles. Most primers produce tion and morphology neverthe- then must present the results in
particles containing lead, bar- less constitutes GSR and should a simple, truthful, and unbiased


ium, and antimony, including manner. The difficulty lies in
any combination of those three the fact that while analysts can
components. While two-compo- report that the particles came
nent particles commonly form from a fired weapon, they can-
upon discharge of a gun, they A particle not describe how they were
also are more likely than three- must meet certain deposited on the item. Examin-
component particles to be found criteria to become ers called to testify on GSR re-
in sources other than primer characterized as sults cannot identify the person


residue, like fireworks and GSR. who discharged a firearm in
brake pads.20 When examin- the commission of a criminal
ers find relevant particles, they act. A positive GSR finding is
should not include the word most probative in cases where
unique in the GSR report. Even a suspect denies proximity to
though analysts may eliminate be reported. Few forensic a discharged firearm because
all other sources in a particular laboratories use a scientifically GSR is not common to the
case, three-component particles established threshold for report- average person’s daily environ-
containing Pb, Ba, and Sb have ing gunshot residue results. In ment. A negative finding does
been proven not to be unique to those cases, if the number of not imply that the subject was
gunshot residue.21 Also, some GSR particles does not meet not in the vicinity of a recently
types of ammunition contain the established level, examiners discharged firearm; it only
primers without one or more should report those particles. indicates that no evidence of
of those elements. During a Further, the threshold (e.g., primer residue was found on
routine analysis, examiners also three GSR particles) must be the items tested.
search for the components of specified. Having a threshold of Often, defense attorneys
these more rare ammunition significance may be helpful in will raise questions at trial as
types. Therefore, a laboratory isolated cases. For instance, the to why GSR was not collected,
report occasionally may list U.S. Army must consider that under the guise that negative
other elements found, and ana- all of its cases involve person- results would have been vital
lysts perform a comparison of nel who carry guns. to the defense’s strategy and

30 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


ultimately exonerated the sus- located evidence with a pos- Conclusion
pect. Investigators and prosecu- sible common source is worth Gunshot residue exami-
tors should not let this potential noting for the court. Corre- nations continue to improve
argument serve as a driving spondingly, GSR found on the through research, advance-
force in requesting GSR exami- hands of a suspected shooter ments, and more integrated
nations that might raise more is significant and worthy of communication among ana-
questions than can be answered consideration by the jury. For a lysts. Further, technology has
effectively. court to understand the signifi- made GSR analysis quicker and
So, the question arises, cance of the findings, experts easier. And, understanding of
“Why analyze for GSR?” First, must discuss all aspects of the and confidence in GSR interpre-
the technology behind the sample collection, analysis, tation have increased. In light of
analysis of gunshot residue is and interpretation at trial. the importance of GSR analysis
unquestionably scientifically Sources of contamination and to many investigations, these
sound. SEM/EDS analysis has an explanation as to whether improvements are encouraging
existed for a long time and been the analyst could account for to the law enforcement commu-
used in GSR analysis since the any anomalies in the findings nity and the justice system.
1970s. Second, studies have also should be included in the To facilitate the best use of
shown that average people do testimony. In some cases, the resources, field investigators
not have gunshot residue on sample collection officer should should have a clear understand-
their hands, but someone who give testimony first to provide ing of the utility and shortcom-
fires a gun most likely will for context for the results that an ings of an examination, such
a period of time. Despite ef- analyst may report. as GSR. Communication with
forts by forensic scientists to
disprove the uniqueness of GSR
to firearms, research only has
strengthened the position of
naming spheroid Pb, Ba, and Sb
particles as having come from a
fired weapon. While studies of
contamination issues continue,
the likelihood of transfer from
another source remains small
in most cases. The reason for
analyzing for GSR lies in the
fact that most trace evidence is Primer
not conclusive but supportive GSR
and circumstantial. Glass, hair,
fiber, paint, soil, and, some-
times, shoeprint analyses cannot
conclusively identify a com-
mon source between a known
and an unknown sample. The
fact, however, that authorities Primer GSR on a smokeless powder disk © Michael J. McVicar

May 2011 / 31
the laboratory analyst prior Forensic Gunshot Residue Analysis (New Enforcement Bulletin, June 1991,
to collection may serve as the York, NY: CRC Press, 2000), 7. 19-22.
6 14
Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nesbitt, and McCullough and Niewoehner;
best gauge as to whether the Wolten, 53; and E. Lindsey et al., APassive and D. Gialamas et al., AOfficers, Their
analysis of GSR will clarify or Exposure and Persistence of Gunshot Re- Weapons, and Their Hands: An Empirical
muddy an investigative path. sidue on Bystanders to a Shooting: Can a Study of GSR on the Hands of Nonshoot-
Bystander be Differentiated from a Shooter ing Police Officers,@ Journal of Forensic
Based on GSR?@ (lecture, 2005). Sciences 40, no. 6 (November 1995):
Endnotes 7
Lindsey et al.; and Exline and 1086-1089.
1
A.R. Calloway, P.F. Jones, G.L. Schwoeble. 15
R.E. Berk et.al., AGunshot Residue
Loper, R.S. Nesbitt, and G.M. Wolten, 8
Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nesbitt, and in Chicago Police Vehicles: An Empirical
Final Report on Particle Analysis for Wolten, 73. Study,@ Journal of Forensic Sciences 52,


Gunshot Residue Detection (El Segunde, no. 4 (July 2007): 838-841.
CA: The Aerospace Corporation, 1977). 16
Personal communication through
2
Stephen Kiehl, ADefender the Forensic SEM listserve.
Spotlights Faulty Forensics,@ Baltimore 17
ASTM 1588-08 Standard Guide for
Sun, November 5, 2007, http:// Gunshot Residue Analysis by Scanning
articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-11-05/
news/0711050172_1_forensic-science- For a court Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive
X-ray Spectrometry (SEM/EDS).
forensic-evidence-forensic-methods (ac- to understand the 18
Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nesbitt, and
cessed May 4, 2010); Lisa Sweetingham, significance of the Wolten, 17-18.
AExpert: Gunshot Residue Does Not
findings, experts C.A. Torre, AA Source of Non-GSR
19

Mean Robert Blake Killed His Wife,@ Particles Containing Lead, Barium, and
COURTTV.com, January 19, 2005, http:// must discuss all Antimony,@ Journal of Forensic Sci-
www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/19/blake. aspects of the sample ences 47 (2002): 494-504; Michael
trial/ (accessed May 4, 2010); Sam
Greenhill and Stephen Wright, ADando
collection, analysis, Trimpe and Diana Wright, ASummary of
the FBI Laboratory=s Gunshot Residue
>Killer= Barry George to Face Retrial and interpretation Symposium, May 31BJune 3, 2005,@


After Winning Appeal,@ Mail Online, No- at trial. Forensic Science Communications 8, no.
vember 16, 2007, http://www.dailymail. 3 (July 2006); P. Mosher et al., AGunshot
co.uk/news/article-494180/Dando- Residue: Similar Particles Produced by
killer-Barry-George-face-retrial- Fireworks,@ Canadian Society of Forensic
winning-appeal.html (accessed May 4, Science Journal 31, no. 2 (September
2010); and Dennis McGuire, AThe Con- 1998): 157-168; M. Trimpe, AAnalysis of
9
troversy Concerning Gunshot Residue Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nesbitt, and Fireworks for Particles of the Type Found
Examinations,@ Forensic Magazine, Wolten, vii; and Nadav Levin and Arie Ze- in Primer Residue (GSR),@ Midwest-
August/September 2008. ichner, ACollection Efficiency of Gunshot ern Association of Forensic Scientists
3
Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nesbitt, Residue (GSR) Particles from Hair and Newsletter 32 (Winter 2003): 68-76; R.E.
and Wolten; M. Martinez, AOccupa- Hands Using Double-Side Adhesive Tape,@ Berk, AAutomated SEM/EDS Analysis
tion Study@ (lecture, FBI GSR Sympo- Journal of Forensic Sciences 38, no. 3 of Airbag Residue I: Particle Identifica-
sium, 2005); and J. McCullough and L. (1993): 571. tion,@ Journal of Forensic Sciences 54,
Niewoehner, AA European Study on the 10
M. Martinez, AP-GSR Detection no. 1 (January 2009): 60-68; and R.E.
Prevalence of GSR in Random Popula- on Clothing and in Automobiles,@ IAMA Berk. AAutomated SEM/EDS Analysis
tion and Selected Professional Groups@ Newsletter 1, no. 2 (February 2000); and of Airbag Residue II: Airbag Residue as
(lecture, SCANNING 2009). D. Chavez and C. Crowe, AThe Retention a Source of Percussion Primer Residue
4
J.W. Kilty, AActivity After Shooting of Gunshot Residue on Clothing After Particles,@ Journal of Forensic Sciences
and Its Effect on the Retention of Primer Laundering,@ IAMA Newsletter 2, no. 1 54, no. 1 (January 2009): 69-76.
Residue,@ Journal of Forensic Sciences (March 2001). 20
Torre; Trimpe and Wright; and
11
20, no. 2 (April 1975). Chavez and Crowe. Mosher et al.
5 12
Ibid; Calloway, Jones, Loper, Nes- Trimpe and Wright. 21
Torre; Mosher et al.; Trimpe; and
bitt, and Wolten, 49-51; and D.L Exline 13
Roger Aaron, AGunshot Primer Berk, AAutomated SEM/EDS Analysis of
and A.J. Schwoeble, Current Methods in Residue: The Invisible Clue,@ FBI Law Airbag Residue I: Particle Identification.@

32 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Bulletin Notes
Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each
challenge freely and unselfishly while answering the call to duty. In certain instances, their actions
warrant special attention from their respective departments. The Bulletin also wants to recognize
those situations that transcend the normal rigors of the law enforcement profession.

On December 5, 2009, Officer Dean Buttitta of the Bradenton, Florida,


Police Department was on patrol when a female motorist alerted him that
her infant daughter was not breathing and was gasping for air. The offi-
cer entered the woman’s car, examined the choking infant, and called for
emergency medical assistance. The child’s condition, however, required
immediate attention; a prolonged lack of oxygen could leave her perma-
nently injured or dead in a short period of time. Officer Buttitta recognized
the urgency of the situation and acted swiftly to save the infant’s life. He
repositioned her on the seat and cleared her airways, successfully allowing
Officer Buttitta
the infant to breath once again. Eventually, emergency medical services ar-
rived and transported the child to a local hospital where she stabilized and
sustained no permanent injuries.

On a frigid January morning, Suffolk County, New York, Police Depart-


ment Patrol Officer Matthew DeMatteo responded to a call that a young
girl and her dog had fallen through the ice into the bitterly cold water of the
bay. Officer DeMatteo arrived at the scene and observed the 11-year-old girl
about 50 yards from the shore, submerged up to her neck. He immediately
acquired a life ring from his patrol car and crawled on his stomach across
the ice. When Officer DeMatteo reached the girl, he determined that she
had been submerged for too long and was unable to move. He removed her
from the water and pulled her back across the ice. As they neared the shore,
Officer DeMatteo
both the officer and the girl fell through the ice again, but Officer DeMatteo
managed to heave them
both out of the water. Once within reach of the
shore, emergency response personnel assisted Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based
on either the rescue of one or more citizens or arrest(s)
them out of the water and transported them to made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety. Submissions
a local hospital for hypothermia treatment. should include a short write-up (maximum of 250 words),
a separate photograph of each nominee, and a letter
from the department’s ranking officer endorsing the
nomination. Submissions can be mailed to the Editor,
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, FBI Academy, Outreach
and Communications Unit, Quantico, VA 22135 or
e-mailed to leb@fbiacademy.edu.
U.S. Department of Justice Periodicals
Federal Bureau of Investigation Postage and Fees Paid
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin ISSN 0014-5688
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20535-0001

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Patch Call

The Clinton, Connecticut, Police Department The patch of the Hoonah, Alaska, Police De-
patch prominently displays the town’s official seal, partment honors many natural wonders of the city
which includes an eagle, an anchor, two flintlock and surrounding areas. Hoonah and nearby Chica-
rifles, and a military drum. In the center of the seal, gof Island have the highest per-capita grizzly bear
two small images highlight the industries that first population of any city in the world, hence the one
supported the town’s early population: a plow, in the center. Eagle and raven totem poles honor the
symbolizing agriculture, and a fish, illustrating Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes. The snow-capped
the fishing community. The year 1939 indicates mountains capture the scenic landscape of Chicagof
the date when the Connecticut General Assembly Island, and the water beneath them depicts the in-
passed legislation to establish the town’s police land passage to the Pacific Ocean. The fishing boat
department. at the bottom recognizes the importance of the local
fishing industry.