10 Signs Your Investigative Team Needs More Training

10 Signs Your Investigative Team Needs More Training
Good news. Professional training is available and can take your team of investigators to the next level. Here are 10 signs that your team needs more training.
  1. Your investigators maintain a very high caseload. A high caseload can mean an inadequate workforce, a lack of understanding of how to close cases, or a lack of case management skills.
  2. Most of your investigators' cases are aged. Often, the proper time needed for closing a case varies greatly. Still, if your cases are not timely enough to support legal action, you likely need training and updated operational processes.
  3. Your team turns in a high proportion of cases with a Not Sustained disposition. This closing type means the investigator could not determine whether the allegation did or did not occur. Too many inconclusive investigations can mean your team lacks the skills or techniques to make solid case determinations.
  4. Executive management does not come to you for help. If your team is sharp, thorough, and timely, then executive management will use you when they need strong, clear, and unbiased work to be completed.
  5. Investigative reports are unclear, incomplete, and display holes in evidence and logic. The investigative report is the final product of the investigative team. How can the investigator's work be good if the product isn't good? It is always best to be clear, accurate, and unbiased when drafting reports. Sloppy and incomplete reports also shed light on the quality of the unit's report review process.
  6. The unit's case disposition ratio includes a high number of Sustained cases along with a low number of Unfounded or Exonerated cases. This combination often means investigators are sustaining cases at a higher than average rate, usually due to an overly loose interpretation of policy or law. It can also indicate a lack of critical thinking skills as we know that national averages should show more Unfounded and Exonerated cases than Sustained cases.
  7. Your unit is not assigned important, complex, or sensitive cases. If your team is sharp and shows a tight work product, you can bet your unit will be tasked with special cases that require extra diligence and care.
  8. Your unit's reports lack information that is important to the reader or show jumps in logic without supporting physical evidence. This gap can happen when reports are not adequately reviewed, and the investigator lacks advanced training in case management, information analyses, and critical thinking. Consistent failures in criminal prosecutions or civil hearings also point to a lack of training and improvement.
  9. Your investigators are disengaged. Disengagement means a lack of confidence, investigative skills, effective management, or that your investigators are just plain bored.
  10. Your investigators are not encouraged  to improve their skills through training. You should always provide investigators with opportunities that will challenge their abilities. Training should always take place in an environment where it is safe to fail and make mistakes, so the investigator can grow and gain confidence.

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