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The Art of Investigation



By Robert K. Boyce, retired Chief of Detectives, NYC Police Department

Oscar Wilde wrote “The truth is rarely pure and never simple”. The investigative paths these enclosed authors will bring us on are often in the dark corners of our society and others that are part of the fabric of every day life. In these unsettling places where investigators find themselves delving into human weakness, craven indifference and thankfully, the rare occurrence of true evil. Truth is a winding and sometimes dangerous path to justice. It is fraught with human error, inexplicable negligence and deceit. Those that seek the truth have both innate and acquired skill sets necessary for that adventure. Those innate qualities needed for the journey into truth finding are put forth in this book. Without possession of these fifteen attributes it would be impossible to sustain a career as an investigator. These innate gifts must be paired with acquired skills in an ever changing world. Technology can expedite a case and experience adds to their abilities.

This book is an adventure to those who enjoy the art of the investigation. Enjoy the finesse,the strategies, incredible flexibility and the professionalism readily apparent to those of us that ply this trade. As a career investigator into all types of criminal behavior I have investigated both wealthy and the poor and all in between. I find myself most comfortable with fellow investigators, truth seekers. The obvious is sometimes deceiving, healthy skepticism illuminates that trap. The requiste fortitude mandatory for long term casework is fueled by the fifteen themes displayed within these pages. The authors of the chapters withn are heroic figures who detail their cases with these virtues and most important humanity.

In my tenure as NYPD Chief of Detectives, I have dedicated my professional life to that mission, finding the truth. I have lead great men and women in that tasking. Assembling, training and supervising roughly six thousand investigators towards that singular purpose. In many instances during a thirty five year career, I interviewed personally many officers with the aim to seek those with these innate abilities required for such difficult casework. Team building and networking are essential to the vagaries of human behavior and thinking, new technologies and tracking information. No one person solves an intricate and complex case. Sources of information are imperitive to the mission, building ones network to solve the everyday obstacles within the case cannot be understated. I think of the Etan Patz investigation, thirty five years to justice. The Baby Hope case twenty two years to a successful prosecution, the dog-ged pursuit of truth and the justice it brings. Always believing that you as the investigator will solve the case, bring the investigation to a successful conclusion and ultimatey finding the truth.