Well, @freewritehouse, @icedrum, @owasco, @misschance, @fitinfun, @wakeupkitty, @scribblingramma, @mgaft1, @iamsaray, @deemarshall, and @whatisnew, I guess what I will do is roll in the prompts when I can into The Posture of Innocence -- even though the whole story is actually 90 percent done, this prompt added a better way to give insight into an investigative process than I had in mind at first, so this freewrite represents a REWRITE and IMPROVEMENT!
Every day, Captain Lee opened up his office and settled in for an hour and fifteen minutes before his five lieutenants arrived. Every week he also prepared a module to teach in terms of the use of big data, in addition to his daily review of generalized evidence-based investigation principles, and on Mondays he prepared how much of that he would present per day and how much time each lieutenant would need to have to master and show his mastery of the information.
Captain Lee's office was meant for one man – big enough for a man going from army colonel all the way down to captain to be somewhat happy, minus the lack of a window. For six men, it was a very tight squeeze, but, after general instructions and assignments, the division members went to their tasks – research in the department record room or at the official houses of city and county government or Big Loft's main library, or whatever surveillance, interviews, or apprehensions there were for the day. However those who were in transition stages between data work and people work stayed in the captain's office, and he set aside time for this every day in addition to whatever investigative work he was doing.
Lieutenant Anderson was already familiar with the Soames case because he had assisted Captain Lee in pulling those 14 reams of information together. He was surprised that Captain Lee had decided to turn the rest of the case over to him, relieved only to see a ream of data handed to him, and also received the general protocols for doing interviews.
“I was a two-year-old,” he mused, “when Mrs. Lilith DeVille was first interviewed in this case. Wow.”
This meant the lieutenant was the exact same age Captain Lee's son would have been … as a strange outworking of that thought, Captain Lee flashed in his mind to his immense lieutenant would have looked like as an immense toddler, with the same head full of curly blonde hair and big blue eyes. He likely would have been a two-year-old who looked more like four, given that he was a towering six-feet-six in adult manhood, but, a gentle young giant of an investigator … still with the baby face and soft voice.
“Your youth is an advantage to you,” Captain Lee said with a slight smile. “Certainly you have no biased memories to bring to the case, which means you will be able to do a fresh interview once you have mastered the data at hand.”
Lieutenant Anderson studied the ream of data – an easier task than he realized, because Captain Lee had organized it for his learning. It took two hours, after which he sat with a thoughtful expression.
“First impressions,” the captain demanded. “Whatever your gut feeling is, acknowledge it. We all have them, based on our experiences and biases and prejudices. They are perfectly irrelevant in terms of evidence, but they are a part of us, and unless we acknowledge what we initially believe, those gut feelings will play unchecked havoc with our investigative ability.”
Lieutenant Anderson thought about that, and then sighed.
“My honest gut feeling, sir?”
“As honest as you dare, Lieutenant. Permission to speak freely granted.”
“Honestly, I read here that Tom Jones was acquitted, which means the jury didn't believe Mrs. DeVille then, and I don't believe her now.”
“It's just – well, I know we are Southerners and the honor of a lady is never to be questioned, but, it's just not right, sir. Look at all these news articles in the following years – it's like listening to someone telling a fish story, and the fish is getting bigger and bigger every time they tell it.
“Maybe it's just me, but, if Mrs. DeVille really saw the terrible way John Soames was murdered, with all this detail, she should have been horrified as a proper lady. I'm not a squeamish man, and the coroner's report was still kind of unsettling. That's not something I'd want to keep describing. She just shouldn't be so eager to tell it over, and over, and over again.”
Captain Lee had not considered the matter from that perspective, and liked it personally, if not professionally.
“That's a fresh angle on the matter,” he said. “So, your gut feeling is that Mrs. DeVille is lying and has been lying for 25 years. You do realize that your gut feeling is based largely on your prejudices about how old women behave, of course.”
“Yes, sir, I do.”
“You know then what you should do with the evidence at hand.”
“Yes, sir. Since nobody can be truly objective, we first must acknowledge our bias, and then review the evidence for things that oppose our bias, thus overriding the natural tendencies to look only for those things that can confirm our bias.”
“Go to it,” Captain Lee said. “Make a list as you go.”
Lieutenant Anderson did so, and had quite a list, and sighed.
“Well, she doesn't have to be lying,” he said. “The time of day is right. She could have got it from the news, but, that assumes she had a reason to make the story up, and I'm not looking for that right now. From the top floor of her building, facing west, she could certainly see into Roland Park – it's a six-story building. And, some people do respond to horrors by needing to talk about them – she does have the proper sense of outrage every time around. Could be that she has PTSD and has seen this scene over and over in her mind – it does happen to people. She doesn't have to be lying, although in my gut, I think she is.”
“Well, suppose she is not for the time being, and go interview her,” Captain Lee said. “When you do a non-interrogative interview, it is important to suspend doubt for the time being. If you entertain it, you will betray it in your tone and questions. The purpose of a first interview is entirely to allow the witness interviewed to tell their side of the story. Questions must be asked only for the purpose of drawing out and clarifying information. Be careful to record the interview, and take good notes of factual information as well. Then, when you return, we check by the data – time, date, location, physical necessities in the location as it relates to the facts.”
“Yes, sir,” Lieutenant Anderson said. “I'll set up the interview now and then make up the key facts checklist to consult upon my return, according to the protocol.”
“Very good,” said Captain Lee. “The office is yours – I'm going up to the record room.”