1. We need mutual aid agreements to respond to stalking that crosses County or State lines
2. Law enforcement needs clear policies within their department for responding to stalking and managing a case
3. Law enforcement needs to be trained to read the signs before it can becoming lethal – look for the high indicators
4. Investigating stalking: Listen to the victim (carefully and patiently to find out details, even the small ones that the victim doesn’t necessarily think are important at the time)
5. Look at all the incidents
6. Stalking is a course of conduct that requires continual investigation
7. Put the case of the stalker in context (context is everything in stalking cases) – the stalkers actions may seem benign, but the meaning behind those actions may be his way of knowingly causing fear to the victim, and that is why the stalker has chosen those actions
8. The job of law enforcement is to piece all these pieces of information together (like a puzzle) so you can see a clear picture of the offender in front of you
9. Once you have identified a subject that you have in mind:
- Look for who has a motive to do the acts
- Look for corroborating evidence (are there photos, videos of the behavior, answering machine tapes, voice mails, text messages or emails, these things are helpful, but you don’t have to have them.
- Interview the suspect
- Use other investigative techniques that have been used successfully in other types of cases in law enforcement, wire taps, and other techniques that have been used in narcotics and other types of cases
Now once this should be easy – you know you have an offender that is after a particular victim, how easy can it get? All you have to do is focus your investigation on the victim and the offender, and you will catch him in the act of stalking! There are certainly more offenders than there are police officers but our law enforcement should be a lot smarter than the offenders. No excuse to not have communication between counties, cities, and states, have mutual aid agreements, offenders travel, victims run to different states or counties,
- Develop mutual aid agreements
- Have policies/protocol in place to show how you will manage a stalking case that could go on for weeks, months or years
- Include the victim in safety planning
- Connect victims with advocates
- Enforce all orders of protection
You can not minimize these cases – it is the most dangerous thing that you can do in law enforcement – it is tombstone mentality. You can never say, “well maybe it will get better,” because that is exactly what the offender wants. If we give over with minimization the offender takes over with maximization. The offenders are counting on everybody to treat their actions as less then a crime. The longer you stay on a case the more you will see what the victim has been trying to tell you all along – if you walk in the shoes of that victim then you won’t minimize, then you will get the whole picture.
This important information I have learned from Mike Proctor – Mike has become one the this nation’s leading experts on stalking.