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Analyzing 911 Calls

February 24 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Instructor:  Joe Kennedy
  • Date:  February 24, 2020
  • Location:  RCCC-NCRC (Kannapolis) , Room 115
  • Time: 8 am – 5pm
  • Total Hrs:  8

As set forth in Analyzing 911 Homicide Calls, “Homicide calls to 911 centers are unique.  They originate from distressed callers confronted with urgent life-and-death situations.  These initial phone contacts contain invaluable statements for they are (1) least edited by suspects’ attempts to conceal the truth; (2) untainted, as later statements can be, by attorneys’ coaching or counsel to remain silent; and (3) free of contamination from interviewers’ verbal and nonverbal behavior.  In fact, 911 calls are often the only pure statements of the entire investigation.”  “There are several reasons why homicide offenders call 911.  If the murder occurred in the offender’s home, the presence of the victim’s body creates a problem.  Another reason why guilty callers report their homicides, without confessing, is that many offenders had a relationship with their victims.  These parents, spouses, and significant others would therefore be likely to notice the victim’s deaths, and it would be unusual if they did not place the 911 calls.  FBI crime reports reveal that in homicide cases when the relationship between homicide offenders and victims was known, over 50% of the homicides were committed by family members or other acquaintances.  With this fact in mind, the value of analyzing 911 calls increases considerably.”  “A 911 call is similar to a crime scene; there is a unique opportunity at the outset to garner evidence about circumstances surrounding the homicide that might otherwise be lost.  Armed with insight from a structured approach to 911 analysis, dispatchers, investigating officers, and prosecutors gain a clearer picture of the caller and the crime.  The analysis of 911 calls offers a key for unlocking the truth in homicide cases.”

As further noted in Analyzing 911 Homicide Calls, the differences between innocent and guilty callers are scored on a 911 Considering Offender Probability in Statements (COPS) Scale.  Enclosure (2) applies.  “When analyzing 911 calls, all indicators that appear in the calls are scored with a check mark on the 911 COPS Scale.  For any indicators that do not apply, “n/a” is circled on the 911 COPS Scale.  No single indicator can determine innocence or guilt, but a majority of checks on the innocent or guilty side of the 911 COPS Scale inform investigators that the pattern of indicators is consistent with innocent or guilty calls in the 911 study.”  The 911 COPS Scale includes Innocent Indicators and Guilty Indicators.  There are three main areas of concentration.  These include: (1) Who is the call about?; (2) What is the call about?; and (3) How is the call made?  There are also Additional Guilty Indicators.  One of the primary questions to consider when reviewing a 911 call is to determine if the caller asked for help for the victim or were they telling a story about what they observed.

Investigators will be trained on Analyzing 911 Homicide Calls and the use of the COPS Scale.  An actual homicide case complete with crime scene photographs and 911 calls will be utilized to demonstrate how investigators can effectively use this technique to help determine truthfulness of the 911 caller and potential witnesses.  Participants will be provided with a certificate of completion upon successfully evaluating and scoring a 911 call.

To register for this class, please send your request to LETrain@rccc.edu.


February 24
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


399 Biotechnology lane
Kannapolis, NC 28082 United States
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