Magazine article Security Management

Justice for All

Magazine article Security Management

Justice for All

Article excerpt

I KNEW WHOEVER WAS STEALING money and property from locked offices in a locked building had to be in possession of keys - no signs of breaking and entering or tool marks existed, just missing currency and property. The preliminary steps of my investigation produced approximately 20 possible suspects.

After reviewing the situation with my supervisor, surveillance by a time-lapse video recorder was installed to identify the intruder. The tape would show us not only the perpetrator but also the time and date. Four days after the installation of the camera, we had our office thief on film removing money from a locked desk after passing through two locked doors.

I remember the anguish and pain I felt when reviewing the film and seeing my close personal friend in the act of breaking the law. He had worked for the hospital for many years and held a position of trust. We had developed a strong relationship over the five years I had known him. He appeared to be a devoted father and husband. I knew the evidence I held would terminate his employment at the hospital, and the hospital policy would require prosecution. A police record could make it difficult for him to find a new job.

Had I been a member of a large police organization, I might have deferred the task to someone else, but in this case that was not possible. I was the sole investigative officer and the only one trained in interrogation. I would have to review the years my friend was employed by the hospital, checking past case files to determine if he might have been involved in other thefts. Management requested I inform my friend that he was no longer employed and would be prosecuted for his action.

The two days before the interrogation were filled with soul-searching. I kept picturing the statue of Justice holding the balance scales. She wears a blindfold to imply that justice must be blind. I also reviewed my copy of the investigator's code of ethics that I hold as a standard in my profession-"I will never permit my personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence my decisions. I will enforce the law without fear or favor." I knew what I had to do-I had to deal with my friend as I would any other suspect.

Three days later, I sat across from him, not as his friend, but as a professional interrogator. My responsibility was to persuade him to tell me of other crimes he might have been involved in and if he still held property belonging to our employer. …

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