LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2014

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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by David E. Zulawski, CFI, CFE and Shane G. Sturman, CFI, CPP Zulawski and Sturman are executives in the investigative and training firm of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (w-z.com). Zulawski is a senior partner and Sturman is president. Sturman is also a member of ASIS International's Retail Loss Prevention Council. They can be reached at 800-222-7789 or via email at dzulawski@w-z.com and ssturman@w-z.com. © 2014 Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. INTERVIEWING continued on page 14 O ne of the most common complaints we hear from senior loss prevention executives is the lack of a quality final statement detailing admissions the employee made during the interview. Since the final statement is representative of the admissions and confessions made during the interview, it is essential that it be as detailed as possible, containing the elements of the crime or policy violation, and clearly substantiating the associate's admissions. Depending on the organization's preferences, the final statement could take a number of different forms. Narrative. The narrative statement is generally a handwritten document prepared by the employee detailing his or her admissions. The narrative statement is often called a "letter of explanation" and has the form and appearance of a letter. Question and Answer. The question-answer statement contains the question asked by the interviewer followed by the employee's answer to the question. This type of statement generally takes longer to prepare since the question must be typed or handwritten prior to inserting the employee's response. Preprinted Fill-in-the-Blank. This type of final statement is an attempt by organizations to standardize the appearance and content of the employees' admissions. These types of documents generally have a number of preprinted paragraphs and sentences containing spaces for the employee to fill in his admissions of theft or other dishonesty. Often these types of statements also have a location for the employee to add a small narrative expressing his regret for his actions. Investigator-Written Statement. The interviewer or investigator uses the employee's admissions or explanations to write a statement detailing them that the employee signs upon completion. Generally, this format is similar to the narrative except that it is prepared by the interviewer rather than written by the employee. This statement is often used in situations where the employee cannot write or is reluctant to write a statement on his own. Audio/Video Statement. With the advent of digital recorders and the proliferation of telephone interviewing, some organizations utilize an audio recording of the employee's statement. This is generally done at the conclusion of the interview where the associate reiterates his admission and substantiates it orally for recording on an audio device. This recording is then either transcribed or simply stored in a case management program as part of the file. Regardless of which form of the statement a company chooses to use, its content and format should remain fairly consistent in each of the above types of documented statements. Organizing the Statement The preparation for a well-organized statement begins as the interviewer plans for the interview. The interviewer should determine what proofs will be necessary to establish the criminal act or policy violation. In thefts, the elements of the crime are the intent to permanently deprive the company of its asset and to establish that the asset was owned by the organization. Generally, using the word steal establishes the intent to permanently deprive the owner of his property by its very definition. The interviewer should also consider the personal needs of a decision maker when thinking about the content of the statement. If, for example, human resources wants to be certain that the individual knew that it was wrong to steal, then this should also be included in the statement to satisfy their needs. A simple statement such as, "I knew that it was wrong to steal from the company and also a violation of the law." This statement is generally sufficient to satisfy anyone that the employee knew his actions were inappropriate. Once the development of the admission has been completed, the interviewer should have their own notes detailing the admissions of the employee. These notes can be used in two ways. First, the interviewer may use the notes as another form of documentation by having the employee initial the various admissions attesting to their correctness. The interviewer's notes are then signed by the employee and dated. These notes then become part of the investigative case file to support the final statement. Second, these notes are used by the interviewer to help format the final statement, making sure that all the details and admissions made by the employee are included in the final statement. 12 JULY - AUGUST 2014 | LPPORTAL.COM Preparing the Final Statement

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