by Charles Humble, Founder, NITV Federal Services
As many of you are aware that have attempted to utilize the CVSA for analysis of multi-utterances (unstructured interviews), it was fairly difficult. I recall that early on in my career in voice stress analysis (1978) I was assigned a homicide by a local Sheriff. I had been conducting both criminal and pre-employment exams utilizing voice stress analysis (the old Psychological Stress Evaluator) for the local Sheriff’s Dept. for some time. The Sheriff had been an Indiana State Trooper prior to running for Sheriff and had worked a number of cases where the old polygraph had given incorrect findings; one in particular sent an innocent person to prison for life.
In this case one of the most prominent businessmen in the country had been shot to death in his bed and it appeared that an intruder had committed the act. However, several unusual circumstances caused concern and after interviewing the wife, the Sheriff felt that she may have been involved. The lead detectives had conducted an extensive five-hour interview with the wife and had recorded it on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Unfortunately, there were no protocols developed at that time for covert analysis and so it was about as unstructured as one could imagine with very few yes or no responses.
For those that are unaware of the progress that the CVSA has brought to voice stress analysis, conducting analysis of an unstructured interview with the old PSE was not only difficult, it was very frustrating. Basically, each conversation, sentence or word had to be recorded on a Uher 4000 IC reel-to-reel tape recorded and then manually slowed down three to four times its normal rate. Each word was then played back at its slowed-down rate over and over thru the PSE, adjusting the settings of the heated stylus each time until the proper amplitude had been achieved to make a readable pattern. The analyst would then write the response under the pattern and move on to the next word to be analyzed. There was no instant pattern, no automatic sizing, just tedious, tedious work. Very few examiners would take the time and effort to conduct such analysis because even after you had spent four or five hours at it, the chart interpretation criteria was so confusing that analysts ended up rendering no opinion and feeling that they had just wasted very valuable time.
It took me three days of work on the tape of the wife’s interview and when I was finished, I had EKG chart paper pinned to the walls of my office three layers deep around the entire office. When I sat back to do my analysis, it became quite clear that a pattern had emerged. The dramatic increase in stress each time the wife made statements claiming that an intruder had shot her husband as well as the dramatic increase each time she denied any involvement indicated that she had killed her husband. It also became clear that she had set the scene to look as though an intruder had committed the act. Since I had conducted many exams for the Sheriff’s Department and the results had always been accurate, the Sheriff and his detectives focused on the wife as the main suspect and began collecting evidence. The wife then hired an attorney and refused to cooperate further. The evidence collected was presented to the Grand Jury and the wife was indicted for the murder of her husband.
I am well aware that the CVSA is under-utilized in most departments when it comes to the application of ‘other than standard’ truth verification exams. I am aware that it was very difficult, even with instant patterns, to do analysis of completely unstructured conversations in the past. However, I have gone to great expense and considerable effort to develop the Multi-Utterance Analysis ability of the CVSA. If you take the time to read, learn and develop your skills, you will find that the system will yield a proverbial gold mine of leads and will greatly enhance your abilities and reputation as a voice stress examiner.
“Charles Humble is the Founder of NITV Federal Services and the developer of the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. He has conducted over 14,000 examinations during his career and from those examinations, developed the Certified Examiners Course as well as the technique of Defense Barrier Removal (DBR).”