Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pants On Fire

One thing I never thought I'd be good at in this job is being able to tell when people are lying. I've taken lots of classes about interview and interrogation techniques, and learned some ways to detect deception, but those usually work best in controlled settings like an interview room. I almost never have that. But, I've found that I'm actually pretty good at picking up on lies and calling people on them.

The other day I did a traffic stop on a car, the registered owner of which had warrants. My first clue that something was amiss was that the driver took forever to pull over, and was reaching around inside the car. This is a huge red flag for cops.

The car finally stops and the female driver is twitching and bouncing around like she's tweaking. She has fresh needle tracks on the backs of both hands. I ask for her license.

Ms. Prince: "I don't have any ID with me. I was just on my way to my friend's house, and I left everything at home".

Officer Cynical: "So, you don't have anything on your person or in the car that has your name on it"?

Ms. Prince: "No, this is my sister's car. But she doesn't know I'm driving it, so don't call her, OK"?

Officer Cynical: "Sure. But what about that purse on the seat next to you? You don't have any ID in there"?

Ms. Prince: "No, that's my sister's purse".

Officer Cynical: "Why are you driving around in your sister's car with your sister's purse"?

Ms. Prince: "She must've left it on the seat, and I didn't notice it".

I ask for her name and birth date. She readily gives me a name, but I detect the slightest hesitation in reciting the DOB. It's fleeting, but it's there. So, I pull out the old standby:

Officer Cynical: "What's your Social Security number"?

Ms. Price: (momentary look of horror) "Oh, I never memorized that. My mom keeps all my important papers and stuff, and I just get the information from her when I need it".

Officer Cynical: "OK, let's review: You fit the physical description of the registered owner of this car, but the car actually belongs to your sister. You have a purse on the seat next to you, but that belongs to your sister. You're 21 years old, but you don't know your own SSN. And, you've clearly shot up within the last several hours, and you're under the influence of something right now. Does that about sum it up"?

Ms. Prince: "Yes".

I explain to the driver that: a) she's lying to me, b) I know she's lying to me, c) we are going to stay there until I figure out who she really is, and d) when I do find out who she is, she's going to have more trouble than just a couple of warrants. She does a pretty good imitation of being indignant for about 30 seconds, then caves and admits she is the registered owner of the car. She goes to jail for False Info to a Police Officer, Driving While Under Suspension, No Insurance, Failing to Give Way to an Emergency Vehicle. Oh, and those warrants. Don't lie to me. If you do, I will know. And I will break you.


Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying reading your blog, welcome back

Stephanie Knapp said...

Good job!

Love your blog, by the way!

Yogi said...

I think the thing that pisses me off the most, isn't that they think I'm stupid, but that they want me to agree with them.