Working w/Authorities

Discussion in 'Internet Sleuthing Tips' started by christine2448, Sep 19, 2008.

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  1. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    In ALL of the cases I have worked since doing this....the most important thing I wish had sunk in first...CALL LE, ME!

    Always call LE first when you find a case you want to work on. See what they will 'give' you...you'd be amazed at the leg work saved by just going straight to the source from day one.

    ETA! Please read through posts on this forum, more splainin' :D

    It is important to understand I am talking about working as a group, one person calling LE...this isn't a suggestion that every person in Caylee Anthony's case go call LE right now, oy vey! :doh: I wasn't thinking and thanks to czechmate7 reminding me how things can sometimes 'go'....(ty czech) I needed to clarify...READ ON. :blowkiss:
     
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  3. concernedperson

    concernedperson Former Member

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    I agree. Not that they will give you anything to jeopardize the case but they will give you an area of interest. That area can lead you to many sources and you can find many things to report back to LE. It helps if you provide links or situations that can be investigated. I have found LE from DA's investigators to the primary agencies to be very helpful and willing to listen. Some big city detectives are not as willing to listen but reporters always are. LOL!
     
  4. Zanko

    Zanko New Member

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    What are your suggestions about contacting LE and/or ME? It would be helpful to have someone discuss navigating these agencies. I'm not sure I would even know where to start. Any advice?
     
  5. BeavisMom62

    BeavisMom62 No, Butthead is NOT here!!

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    Wow, new stuff! How cool!
     
  6. poco

    poco A cat will blink when struck with a hammer.

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    Wait..... you're telling me (us) that we can just call LE and ask questions????
     
  7. czechmate7

    czechmate7 Former Member

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    I'm not sure about calling LE. I mean wouldn't they be a bit busy to stop everything they're doing to explain the case, facts, etc to any public moe who's just calling in??? This doesn't make sense to me.
     
  8. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    When working on missing/uid/cold cases it is a MUST to work with LE. It would make no sense NOT to call. They have all the info.

    How do you know who has/has not been ruled out when working a UID case w/o talking to LE/ME? How do you help the family get DNA in CODIS if you are not communicating with LE who will collect the samples? How do you submit a potential match of a missing with an unidentified?

    It is important for the posters to work together and communicate with each other who is talking to what agency...this way we are not all calling asking the same questions, then defeats the purpose and will get doors closed.

    2 quick examples that are right here of how info can give you more help in sleuthing:

    In Tara Grinsteads case we requested and recieved the files on the fire, complete with all photos, smoke still coming off the house.

    Tawni Mazzone's case...we worked close with LE/ME. We rec'd copies of ALL morgue photos, hospital photos, ME reports, etc.


    We have met personally with LE on a few cases here in GA. They want our help. We just have to be professsional and approach things the right way.

    LTWH has been successful working with FBI, GBI, LE, ME, FDLE, attorney's, advocates, news and on and on.

    A lot of sleuthing time is saved if you go straight to LE.
     
  9. czechmate7

    czechmate7 Former Member

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    Christine, I was referring to the many many guest who read on WS and feel that they will be able to call LE just to find out info on whatever case they are interested in...This is what I was talking about when I said "any public moe". There are close to a thousand people on here at any given time (many different guest at times) who will think it's ok to call LE and give your organization as a reference...Can you imagine if just 10% of these folks call LE in the Caylee case ... that's 100 people LE will need to field calls from...
     
  10. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    Oh yes yes, I get what you are saying. That is why I am posting that we must communicate, be careful, not 100's call. It happens though. There is only so much we can control. Our focus is to help and it can be done if done properly. Stinks when people act that way and mess it up for the rest of us. We just have to get the message out here that there is a proper way to do things.
     
  11. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    Just coming back to this in agreement w/your point to give a personal example of what happened when we first opened LTWH.

    We were working on a case, Steven Lankaster Cox. We held a vigil, went on searches, I spoke at a rally..yada yada. 1 of our 'volunteers' who jumped in with us had been working on the case and lived local for some time. This 'volunteer' was sure there was corruption in LE and there was a coverup...we asked her repeatedly not to discuss this in newspapers/newscasts representing LTWH, that was NOT our view....a couple of times she was quoted on TV/in print, LTWH WILL solve this case and LE is corrupt.....OMG! NO NO NO. This is one pitfall of internet sleuthing, IMO.

    Other examples are people just calling folks when THEY think they have a match on UID/Missing...this is very painfull for someone, to get a call, "I think I found your uncle, dead in such and such morgue"..NO NO NO. I am hoping to teach sleuthers to first go through it all, then go through LE, do NOT contact a fellow myspacer with such news. See what I'm saying?

    My hope is that newbies will come here and read and see how important it is to come together as a team, work together. I hope I am making sense! :crazy:
     
  12. Reannan

    Reannan Seek Brotherhood, Cherish Solitude

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    That is a GREAT idea - TEACH!!! I have often thought that it would be a great idea to have a "Members Only" forum - perhaps even an "elite", "VIP", "Advanced" - whatever it would be called - forum where helpful hints would be provided to newbies that have a serious passion about this stuff. You could have a subforum for "Myspace" - a lot of people do not have Myspace accounts and do not understand the entire concept. You could have a forum on "Contacting LE" - and that is where we would standardize the way this happens. I would think it would be a pretty good idea if all of us would let a moderator know that we were getting ready to contact LE prior to doing so......right? My greatest fear is that we loose our credibility because every yahoo in the country who has a functional index finger capable of clicking a mouse, is busy calling in thousands of tips on hot cases.
     
  13. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    There are many different reasons to call LE, as Christine alluded to-and I can tell you on every single case we did NOT do that initially, we absolutely regretted it in the end.

    These folks are the front lines of the investigation, and as it is in life, there is one person's perception of the truth, another persons and then the facts.

    You would be surprised how grateful you will find them once you convince them that you are trying to help them solve a puzzle and clear one case from their books-that you are not their to waste their time.

    For example: When I am trying to work a missing person's case, the first thing I do is call LE and ask them to pull the file. I ask if there are additional photos, dentals, DNA and/or print cards, or are their prints in AFIS. I ask if there are living relatives that would be available for DNA because I can have a kit sent and processed for free. Then I ask if there is hold back information that might help me narrow down candidates-one case I was comparing to BK, the gentleman had a tumor that had grown 3x3 on his shoulder-this was a piece of holdback information. It was easy to clear him from BK because BK does not have either a tumor or a scar that would have represented that. This saved us running DNA or fingerprints...make sense?
     
  14. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    Exactly...how many times did we get one story from the people contacting us for help and a completely different story from LE.

    We can't just fall over and believe all those that contact us for help, we must verify.

    There are many scorned, abusers searching for, even bill collectors. LE will know more info then anyone.
     
  15. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    I agree. LE I have spoken to have almost always been very thankful for the extra help. Many are unaware of the several of the resources available, and appreciate the interest and help.
     
  16. Dr. Doogie

    Dr. Doogie New Member

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    One quick suggestion I have along these lines is to also keep your ears and eyes open for any personal connections to LE that you may have that you are not aware of.

    While reviewing the case of Alma Root (missing from Auburn, CA 1980), I began considering possible involvement by Gerald Gallego (same time and place / same MO). I was curious to get LE's opinion to this possibility and realized that the best source would be the Sacramento Sheriff's homicide detective who had arrested Gallego and had written the definitive book about the case. I knew the detective had since retired and had no idea where he currently was. Well, I host karaoke shows in the evening and one of my regulars is a retired robbery detective from the same agency. I asked him if he knew the homicide detective and it turned out that they were good friends and still in contact with each other. He offered to put him in touch with me. A long story short: the very next day, I had a long conversation with the retired detective who gave me amazing information that was not in any online source about Gallego that was crucial to bolstering my theories. And all because I asked myself, "I wonder if Dective A knows Detective B?" (Of course, this suggestion works best when you are working cases that occured in your local area!)
     
  17. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    Excellent posts everyone. To reiterate what Doogie posted, I have two neighbors who are LE. One is a rookie and works for our local PD. He is not very friendly and chooses to stay to himself and barely waves hello. I understand and respect his position, being new to the force. He may feel his being overly friendly/neighborly might cause future problems with his line of work. However, I also have another neighbor who has been here as long as I have, both over 10 years. Becuase he is a state trooper and works all over the NE IL area, he has offered to help by putting in a word for us, or me.... if he has any working relationship with any other jurisdictions we are working with.
     
  18. Zoe Bogart

    Zoe Bogart Let's not ask for the Moon, we have the Stars

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    Thank you for you suggestions and this thread. Very helpful.

    First of all, what are GIB, ME, and FDLE? I can't figure out these initials. Does UID mean "unidentified persons", such as "Jane Doe" or "John Doe"?

    So are we supposed to call LE and identify ourselves as WS? "I'm a member of Websleuths and I'm trying to assist in solving a case"? What weight does Websleuths carry with LE?

    What about being a friend of the murdered/missing victim? Is LE responsive to those people?

    I'm asking because I want to help solve a cold case. I was recently contacted for information by a police officer who originally got interested in the case several years ago when she was in the cold case division but has recently moved to another police department out of the jurisdiction. So should I contact LE as a friend of the deceased? Or should I contact them as an "interested party", a Websleuth?

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  19. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

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    GBI= Georgia Bureau of Investigation

    ME= Medical Examiner

    UID=Unidentifed

    FDLE=FL Dept of Law Enforcement


    LE is responsive to most who present themselves professionally and I have found most to be TOTALLY open. Haven't had many doors shut.

    The biggest thing is being sure you should even being calling LE...so your do research first.

    As far as being 'part' of the case, do I call as 'friend' or 'ws volunteer'...you have to make that call....what would be the better way for you 'to go in'? Maybe direct some more exprienced to the case and work it out before deciding?

    Once we organize volunteers we will have people assigned that you can contact to work with authorities or guide you in sleuthing if needed.

    My advice, post your thoughts, ideas on the relating thread...pm sleuthers you know can do this and ask them to come help!

    Thoughts?
     
  20. Zoe Bogart

    Zoe Bogart Let's not ask for the Moon, we have the Stars

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    Thanks for your advice, Christine. I'm looking forward to your Super Sleuths list.
     
  21. Dr. Doogie

    Dr. Doogie New Member

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    Another thing about contacting authorities with a tip on a cold case: Often you come under some level of suspicion yourself. This is only natural since LE sometimes looks for easy answers. I deal with this by volunteering any information about myself that will let LE get past their inital suspicions quickly and focus on the tip itself. It also is important to keep yourself "squeaky" clean - no criminal record or anything hinky in your past.
     
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