WZ Strengthens Its Commitment to Evidence-Based Training

Wicklander-Zulawski and Associates (WZ) has announced a focused strategy on the commitment to providing evidence-based curriculum at a high quality of professional standards to investigators across the globe.

In the last several years, WZ has become an advocate for modern, non-confrontational interviewing techniques, and has assisted in the eradication of coercive and antiquated methodologies. WZ says that recent examples of academic and practitioner collaboration, including the United Nations’ release of the Principles of Effective Interviewing for investigations and Information Gathering, have further inspired this progressive movement towards the evolution of interviewing techniques.

WZ says it recognizes that the opportunity to train and mentor, in any profession, comes with great responsibility to execute at the highest of standards. The organization is committed to this expectation through a multitude of approaches which promise to deliver high-quality training to clients. The commitment to these standards will be built in a three-prong approach focused on curriculum development, adult learning principles, and instructor standards.

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For almost 40 years, WZ has instructed on non-confrontational interviewing techniques, delivering alternative methods based on rapport and empathy. This commitment to evidence-based curriculum is consistently challenged through a strenuous development process, focused on training programs built to levels of professional standards.

Dave Thompson

“We have dedicated ourselves to challenging everything we teach with the intent on incorporating academic research into practitioner application,” said Dave Thompson, CFI and president of WZ. “The result is evidence-based approaches that are applicable in both a classroom and an interview room.”

With a continued focus on investigative interviewing techniques, evidence-based content includes effective question structure, strategic rapport development, and structured methodologies. The organization says it will continue to dedicate time in its seminars to the types and causes of false confessions—a leading contributor of wrongful convictions.

The second prong of the approach will be focused on adult learning principles. With this vision, WZ has promoted Federal Programs Manager Joseph Wolf, CFI, to the position of professional standards coordinator. Along with his experience with federal law enforcement, Wolf has served as the chair of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s Curriculum Advisory Council, director of the Albuquerque Police Department’s training academy, and he has developed several courses independently for public safety professionals. Wolf has worked in partnership with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training to develop curriculum within their scope of national accreditation. It is with Wolf’s leadership that WZ will elevate the construction of its training programs to this level of standard and consistency.

In addition to WZ instructors earning their Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) designation, a system of mandated continued education requirements has been implemented. This program, designed in partnership with the academic community, is focused on creating collaborative discussion with WZ staff, creating increased credibility in their instruction. Most importantly, these educational sessions create an opportunity for oversight and scrutiny of curriculum and instructor delivery, ensuring the message delivered to attendees is consistent and supported.

WZ said that it intends to continue to be a global thought leader in advancing the standard of training and application of investigative interviewing techniques. The organization prides itself on a collaborative approach to its curriculum, resulting in methods that assist investigators in resolving cases while simultaneously building trust and respect in community-police relations.

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