SOP (standard operating procedure): when we first started the SIP project there was so much excitement in the air and everyone was ready and anxious to deploy. Keep in mind even the most experienced airline pilots still use a checklist  and a good SOP with a set procedure for how a deployment should unfold is an absolute necessity.     

On one of the first cases as soon as the investigator got the deployment notice, he immediately had operations make an airline reservation, and was actually at the location by late that same afternoon to interview the witness. Upon arrival at the residence of the witness, a woman, answered the door. She told the investigator that the witness had just left to go to a funeral for their cousin in another state. The investigator had to wait around for almost 3 more days in the hotel until the witnesses came home. Hence the first line of the new SOP "once you have been activated for deployment, do not jump in your car and head for the airport . . . .slow down and plan you deployment!"
  
Equipment: Very early on during the SIP project, we looked at a wide range of equipment that we wanted to buy and evaluated it in terms of usefulness and cost. For example a spectrum analyzer might be rented for the few times (within the life of a project) when needed, as opposed to purchasing such a piece of equipment for $25,000 - $30,000.

We found the same to be true when we looked at infrared camera equipment, which at that time cost between $10,000 and $25,000, fortunately on the 68 deployments during the SIP project, we never had an event that would have warranted us to rent one. We did have a very nice radiation detector, which was sent on about 8 deployments, but never once were recorded readings any more than background levels.

When it comes down to it on equipment, some of the basic stuff is most important. Absolutely number one is a Laptop, it must be required. You would think that is obvious but we actually had one of the first cases where an investigator deployed and did not have one. Next is a digital camera which absolutely must be required. Third a video camera is also highly desirable, not because you are likely to film anything related to the object reported in the event, but video of witness testimony is sometimes priceless.

Video: is very powerful (in the upcoming blog article about Investigation, there is a section on video interview techniques) here are some of the basic things:

·       Documents testimony forever (witness dies, changes mind, not available)

·       Video Lie detector (people tend to be more truthful and careful when filmed)

·       Can be reviewed later to corroborate and compare witness statements

·       Discrepancies can be easily identified and documented

·       Can be used to consult with other Investigators

·       Upload video interview via internet (YOUSENDIT) overnight to other investigator

·       Viewer can see body language, attitude, temperament and personality

·       Much more realistic than written report

·       Used on TV Discovery Channel Shows 


Luggage that has wheels and can be carried on airlines is also very important. Everything that is packed has to be able to fly (airport security) and having the clothes and equipment packed ready to go is an extra plus.

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