LN324-91

                             CHAPTER XXVI

                      OBSERVATION AND DESCRIPTION

INTRODUCTION:

     Our ability to perceive depends upon our innate ability, experience and
the training in regards to our surroundings and the environment. You must keep
in mind that the word perceive means to see and understand.

GENERAL FACTS:

     a.    Definition: OBSERVATION: Is the ability to recognize what is
happening around us and the environment. This is attained through the maximum
use of the five senses. Carrying out a detailed observation allows a person to
remember any object, or situation in a complete, clear and exact manner.

     b.    Observation requires a mental effort to identify, analyze and
relate what as happenang an our surroundings and the environment.

     c.    It is a normal thing that a person perceives or understands only
that which interests him or what does not require much effort. Example:

           (1)  Women, in general, are more interested in colors, since
their physical appearance depends on the exact combination of colors,
therefore, a woman, may have more knowledge in describing something she saw,
although only for a few seconds. She knows the different colors better and
could bring an exact description of what she saw.
















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LN324-91 (2) In contrast, men normally do not know colors well, or do not pay much attention when they observe them. Men normally remember the basic colors. If a man observes an automobile involved in an incident and wishes to describe it he will probably say "it was a blue automobile", but if a woman makes the same description about the same automobile, maybe she will do it in this manner: "it was a light blue automobile, WITH black and white trims". This does not mean that all mean and women are the same, but it is something that happens often and could be considered as a patter in regards to observation. d. To train in observing WITH exactness the CI Special Agent (SA) must: (1) Practice continually and in detail to recognize what happens in his surroundings and environment and in that manner try to observe and understand the personalities, situations, objects and incidents. (2) Replace the casual observations wit the studies and detailed observations. (3) Train yourself and practice estimating: a. The time (hours) b. The speed of an object that is moving c. The distance (4) The SA must be familiar WITH colors, the variety of colors, and the intensity of the light. (5) The SA must have the ability to observe objects and incidents in such manner that it will become potential evidence in an investigation. e. The SA must keep in mind that his senses could fail, and he should know that not all persons will give a detailed description of what was observed, although they are telling about the same incident. The SA must know that the witnesses are telling the truth, but that each person sees things in their own way. f. To become an expert observer the SA must learn to pay attention and concentrate in particular details in the face and characteristics of an object or scene. 237
LN324-91 g. When the SA questions a witness about an incident, his questions could be addressed only about what the person remembers and not make suggestions that could influence the description the witness gives. h. The power to listen well is also required in training. The SA could train his "ear memory" practicing to listen the conversations intently WITH the purpose of obtaining the greatest amount of information possible. One particular way is to have the ability to listen to sermons in church, school, political meetings, or any speech in a way that after listening to these speeches the SA could later write down in a paper what he listened to. i. The visual observation training does not require that the SA intently observes all and remember each face or each scene, but, he must concentrate in such details that could be useful in his investigations. j. Functions of the senses during the observation: The exactness of an observation will depend upon the senses used to make the observation. You could trust some senses more that others, and the SA must take this into consideration when evaluating their observations. The senses that are used during the observations are: (1) VISUAL: It is considered as the most precise sense. WITH just observing some characteristics of a person the SA could complete the image WITH known facts. (2) HEARING: This is the most objective sense. When making and observation based in the sound there is not always precision. Frequently, you do not know the origin of the sound or the distance from where it came. The variety of sounds also are difficult to describe. When listening to a sound, the witness normally tries to associate it WITH some other known sound so as to make a comparison later on. (3) TACT: In most people, the sense of tact is not well developed and it must be considered as a limited means of perception. Without the help of a visual perception the sense of tact could confuse us, in such way that an observation in the dark using the sense of tact could be very doubtful. Nevertheless, the sense of tact of the blind persons is well developed. 238
LN324-91 (4) SMELL: The sense of smell is not to be trusted much. Many things have the same smell and for that reason an observation based on this sense must not be taken very seriously. (5) TASTE: The sense of taste is not very trustworthy since this sense is very personal and the objective observation of taste is easily replaced by the persons s individual sensation. k. Psychologists indicate that: (1) 85% of what we learn is through the visual sense. (2) 13% is learned through the sense of hearing. (3) 2% is through the sense of tact, smell and taste. l. Psychological elements of observation: The SA must know both elements of observation and the observation's psychological obstacles so as to properly evaluate an observation. m. The observation process in order of occurrence is: (1) The SA must have the ability to obtain a complete physical description of a person in a few seconds. This ability could be acquired through: a) Knowledge of the meaning of words used to describe the characteristics. b) Practice the description of one or two characteristics, such as the eyes and the nose, of different persons and continue this until all the characteristics have been completely studied. c) Train to define the descriptions in a precise order. Example: from the head to the feet (hair, forehead, ears, eyes, etc.) 239
LN324-91 n. The SA does not always have time to obtain a complete description of a person, in this case he must concentrate in the following: (1) Outstanding characteristics, such as moles, scars, lack of an arm, leg or other limbs. (2) Height (3) Built (4) Weight (5) Age (6) Race (7) Sex (8) Eyes (9) Hair (10) Complexion (11) Nationality or citizenship (12) Clothes 240