Tuesday, February 09, 2010

9 FEB 10: Just Askin'

The 10:00 p.m. ET hour Monday night was filled with people on television asking questions. CSI scientists questioned suspects in Miami. A fiction author questioned suspects on "Castle." And Texas basketball fans questioned how their team possibly could look so bad against my alma mater Kansas.

It was left to WXTX to examine how criminal questioning occurs. A special report took viewers into several law enforcement "interrogation rooms" to learn how suspects are questioned. It was a twist on the old Radio Shack slogan: They've got questions. You'd better answer.

Russell County investigator Heath Taylor admitted there's "no better rush" than getting a criminal to confess to a major crime. This may sound strange, but remember one thing - Taylor's campaign for sheriff this year is his first political race.

Heath Taylor added Alabama state law allows investigators to lie, as they question suspects. So they can trap, without acting like "Trappist monks...."

Heath Taylor explained the point of an interrogation is to get someone to either demand an attorney, or confess to a crime. Sometimes the questioning can last hours - as Sarah Palin learned when she was interviewed by Katie Couric.

Heath Taylor admitted sometimes questioners sit very close to suspects, intruding on their "personal space." I'd imagine this comes in very handy in marijuana cases - you know, for smelling evidence.

While TV police interrogations can have everything from toppled tables to slaps across the face, an instructor with the Georgia State Police Training Academy said the best approach is to keep a poker face and NOT get loud. This is why I'm glad law enforcement officers never have invited me over for poker nights.

Law enforcement officers say criminals have caught on to the "good cop, bad cop" tactic in interrogations. Apparently detectives have gone back to the old-fashioned tag-team wrestling method....

A variety of crimes were in the news Monday, which could have made for interesting police interrogations....

+ Three women were arrested in Columbus on charges of advertising prostitution on Craigslist. I'm not sure which category they used to promote themselves - whether it was "Misc Romance," "Casual Encounters" or "Real Estate for Sale."

(One of the suspects was identified as Cassandra Geotcha. Do you think an interrogator tried to catch her in a lie - so he could declare, "Gotcha, Geotcha"?)

+ A high-speed chase in Valley ended with a driver crashing a car through the door of a Burger King. Authorities now hope to have it their way - as in one to five years.

+ Police in suburban Atlanta reported someone smashed a car into a Macy*s store at Southlake Mall, to steal $10,000 worth of clothing. Now you know why food courts at shopping malls don't have drive-through lanes.

+ Jimmy Rane of Yellawood was knocked unconscious by a man with a handgun, while.... oh wait. That's the latest Yellawood "Old West" commercial.

-> Speaking of poker faces -- we seem to be good at those. Read why at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: The reader who challenged us to question the Cascade Hills Church pastor sent a somewhat predictable follow-up Monday....

I told you that you would not get to him...these people are not stupid, they are not going to make it obvious, or confirm such claims. The staff is trained to protect at all cost. You will never get to him... Don't forget Jim Jones filled a building, and an island with people a few decades ago, then he had them drink....You will be approached to give up my email shortly...

At this point, the burden of proof is on Pastor Bill Purvis's accuser. And I'm not sure why the church would approach me for this reader's e-mail. After all, I'm the one who was called a frog-looking geek - not him.

But come to think of it, Bill Purvis said something in Sunday's sermon which might give accusers ammunition. In a message on the selection of David as a future king of Israel, the pastor indicated incomplete information about your plans is NOT a lie. I've heard other ministers who would dispute that -- and would make Brett Favre come across as the biggest liar in sports.

We're still holding one other e-mail for another day. So let's see what else made headlines on Monday:

+ Phenix City workers began installing "detection loops" at several intersections on Broad Street, to prevent long backups for traffic lights. Columbus could do the same thing on Veterans Parkway downtown - but police need the extra money from impatient drivers.

+ Synovus announced it received seven National Awards for "middle market banking" from Greenwich Associates. The awards were for everything from Credit Policy to Financial Stability - which tells me the judges haven't talked to many foreclosed families in metro Atlanta.

+ Columbus Bank and Trust President Billy Blanchard began a competition with Muscogee County School Superintendent Susan Andrews. It's an online vote to see who gets to conduct the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus during a concert. But I couldn't find the poll at the orchestra's web site - so perhaps in true musical tradition, everything is on hold.

+ Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced the state "Rapid Response Team" will help laid-off Victoryland employees. He stopped short of saying the team is as fast as a greyhound in the feature race.

+ Alabama Senator Richard Shelby agreed to remove a "hold" he put on more than 70 presidential nominations. Apparently he decided the big Washington snowstorm which shut down the federal government was even more effective.

(ABC News reported Richard Shelby's holds are a tactic to get an F.B.I. terror analysis lab moved from Virginia to north Alabama. The Huntsville area probably would be more secure - as dozens of deer and raccoon hunters could show up on a moment's notice.)

+ Instant Message to Sonic: Wow - you're going to use "real ice cream" now? How many years of research did you need to figure out how good that is?

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.47 a gallon at Circle K on Fourth Street.... FREE Grand Slam breakfasts at Denny's from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.... and "Glee" fans attending "A Chorus Line" at the RiverCenter, but concluding it's very old-fashioned....

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