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74   ITC

International Training Conference & Expo



North Carolina

April 23-28 2023


Strategic Suspect Interviewing Techniques - “Making Arson & Explosives Cases Stronger for Prosecution”

Friday, April, 28 2023 (8:00am - 12:00pm) (Ballroom 2)

This presentation will focus on “strategic interviewing” as a "component" of fire and explosives investigative methods and tools. Throughout the presentation, short video clips (2 minutes on average) from actual interviews that were conducted by S/A Balos will be incorporated with role-playing exercises and case law references to facilitate learning. This includes how to quickly establish rapport, how to spot “overlooked” opportunities, and developing interview themes that focus on the elements of the offense while covering the legal defenses. This course emphasizes the “why,” so the student is better motivated to learn. The presentation will equip investigators with an “always think trial” mindset to recognize the potential pitfalls that they may come across.

OBJECTIVES. At the end of the presentation, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of having a strategic interview approach as a "component" of fire and explosives investigative methods and tools, including how a defendant’s lies can be used against them.

  • Understand that “suspect” interviews are different from “cooperation” interviews.

  • Spot “overlooked opportunities” such as signs-of-admissions and Miranda re-initiations.

  • Cover the “legal defenses” (always think trial and suppression hearings).

  • Recognize the value of “false exculpatory statements” as consciousness of guilt.

  • Understand the permissible use of “strategic deception” to elicit the truth (and what the “no-nos” are).

  • Understand the value of writing detailed reports with timestamps (don’t expect prosecutors to listen to entire recordings or read lengthy transcripts).

  • Understand that success in court (within the legal playbook) - begins with proper preparation.


Dino Balos

S/A Dino Balos (ATF) is a 25-year veteran Federal law enforcement officer. He has successfully investigated hundreds of cases involving firearms, explosives, and arson violations, many of which were supported by reliable confessions as evidence. He is a certified ATF instructor and has testified concerning confessions or admissions made to him by defendants as part of the prosecution's case-in-chief. He has been assigned to the ATF Tampa Field Division for 10 years. His past assignments include 8 years in the ATF Boston Field Division’s Arson & Explosives Group, as well as 3 years with the U.S. Bomb Data Center at ATF-Headquarters in Washington DC. Prior to ATF, S/A Balos spent 4 years as a special agent for the Federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigating fraud, waste, and abuse in programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) within the New York Field Office.

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