As mentioned in a previous article, several factors contribute to wrongful incarcerations, namely cognitive biases and organizational limitations. Here, we’ll focus on the organizational aspects.
For starters, organizations operate according to specific rules and regulations meant to establish set procedures for specific incidents. However, these policies tend to slow down movement when it proves vitally necessary. For instance, in the case of the Green River serial killer in Washington, inertia in the police department slowed down the formation of a task force until after the killer had ended his spree. Since the police body as a whole is larger than one individual person, the process of “getting things done” is slower than if an individual did it himself.
The opposite problem in a police body also occurs. Instead of inertia, momentum sometimes takes hold of a force, rendering it difficult to switch directions in an investigation, even when new evidence is compiled. Thus, both inertia and momentum can present a problem.
Police investigators must also learn to distinguish between red herrings, assumptions, and the truth. Red herrings are tips, clues, or scapegoats that throw a wrench in investigations by distracting officers from the real perpetrators, thus wasting time and money. In cases with a lack of evidence or a flow of evidence stemming from a faulty source, police document their assumptions as possibilities, but these claims over time harden into accepted “fact.” One must be vigilant to discern between rumors and the truth.
In high-profile criminal cases, working long hours with little respite can lead to fatigue in police officers, thus clouding their discernment. Some departments may also suffer from inflated egos or group-thinking, making it difficult for them to admit when they’re wrong or for someone to challenge the dominant theory. Other truth deterrents could be errors in probability or analyzing data, unclear or vague language used by witness-stand experts, and wrongful claims of innocence that engender public support.
As demonstrated above, wading through the red tape of established organizations can take more time than hiring a Pittsburgh private investigator to do the job. If you are concerned with the direction of an investigation, employ Forletta Investigative/Security Consultant to help you get to the bottom of things. Our reliable team of private investigators contributes to efforts of local law enforcement without the accompanying inertia of oversized organizations.