911 Homicide Calls – The very first possible contact with the killer
These initial contacts can contain the most valuable statements—those least contaminated by suspects’ attempts to conceal the truth, attorneys’ advice to remain silent, and investigators’ leading questions. In these
instances, the dispatcher simply asks, “What is your emergency?”
and the caller responds with insightful, uncontaminated verbal and vocal clues.
Fortunately, 911 calls are recorded. Therefore, investigators have access to a transcript, the actual call, and, thus, important evidence. They can examine both the words and the tone of voice. An analysis of the calls can provide investigators with immediate insight and interviewing strategies to help solve homicide cases.
The authors analyzed 100 homicide calls from adjudicated cases to examine the differences between innocent and guilty callers. Innocent individuals made 50 of the calls, and guilty persons who either committed the homicide or arranged for another person to do so made the other half. Specifi c differences appeared that helped distinguish innocent callers from guilty ones during an examination of the answers to the following three questions:
WHAT WAS THE CALL ABOUT?
Request for Help
Relevance of Information
Attitude Toward the Victim
Accuracy of Facts
WHO WAS THE CALL ABOUT?
Topic of the Call
Focus of the Help
Attitude Toward the Victim’s Death
HOW WAS THE CALL MADE?
Urgency of the Call
Level of Cooperation
By examining 911 homicide calls, investigating officers can gain vital clues. While listening to a call and analyzing the transcript, the investigator should ask three critical questions: 1) What was the call about? 2) Who was the call about? and 3) How was the call made? Asking those three questions, along with a thorough analysis, can give investigators insight as to offender probability. If the caller appears guilty of the homicide, investigators immediately can plan a strategy for interviewing the individual and conducting the subsequent investigation.
Dr. Robert Keppel, unpublished research study indicating that 19 percent
of all homicide reports are phoned in to the police department by the offender posing as an innocent individual (Seattle University).
Read all the details and case strategies at the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin starting at page 24
Is the Caller the Killer?
By SUSAN H. ADAMS, Ph.D., and
TRACY HARPSTER, M.S.
Description of a 911 Call Center
A 911 call center consists primarily of a room staffed by emergency personnel- firefighters and police officers. Each worker wears a headset to listen to incoming 911 telephone calls. In front of the worker is a bank of computer screens. One screen displays any information on file with the local telephone company about the incoming 911 caller number, such as the address to which the telephone is assigned. Another screen contains a map on which any address can be quickly pinpointed. The screen between those two screens is the one on which the worker types the incoming information about the emergency call for transmittal to the call responders. The room contains large television screens which can be set to display any area in which the Department of Transportation has installed cameras
To Learn More About 911 Call Centers, the Inner Workings, & Required Training, visit the website at
Samples of 911 Calls:
911 CALL: A Father Calls For Help After Suspect Tries To Kidnap Daughter From Her Bed
Police in Dallas have released 911 recordings in connection to the killing of two teenage sisters. The girls were found shot multiple times in a cab. Police say their father had threatened one daughter…….
Cindy Anthony Reporting 3 yr old Granddaughter Missing a Month and Requesting of Her Daughter