Law Enforcement

Learn how to respond most effectively to suspects' emotional reactions when they're told they've committed a serious crime.

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The goal in Responding Effectively training is to become more considered in how you respond to another person’s emotions, aware that there are always choices and tradeoffs.

RETT expects you already know how to spot the emotions that are displayed. The focus is not on how to recognize emotion but how to respond to emotions. If you want some help on recognizing emotion, go to the Face Suite and use Micro Expressions Training Tool and Subtle Expressions Training Tool. (You don’t need to also use Micro Expressions Intensive Training and Micro Expressions Profile Training Tool before using Responding Effectively training, but those training tools will expand and improve your ability to spot facial expressions.)

Uncertain about the difference between Responding Effectively, Micro Expressions, Subtle Expressions, and FACS?

Responding Effectively Training Tool helps you determine how to respond to someone’s emotional expressions. Responding Effectively Training Tool expects you already have acquired the skills to recognize facial expressions. Micro Expressions Training Tool and Subtle Expressions Training Tool are tools for sharpening your ability to recognize from facial expressions what someone is feeling. If you haven’t yet used Micro Expressions and Subtle Expressions, do so now and then come back and use RETT.

FACS (the Facial Action Coding tool) is a tool for measuring facial movements. It takes between 50-100 hours to learn. If your goal is to be more sensitive to recognizing emotions, especially concealed emotions, you want Micro Facial Expressions Training Tool or Subtle Facial Expressions Training Tool not FACS. If you want to learn what to consider when you respond to another person’s emotions you want PEG Interactive not FACS.

You will need to know the differences among macro, micro and mini (subtle) expressions to learn how to respond to them:

  • Macro expressions: these are the usual facial expressions that you can see without difficulty, because they typically are shown across the entire face, and last a few seconds. Most people don’t need help to spot macro expressions, but if you do, Micro Facial Expressions Training Tool will help you.
  • Micro expressions: these are very brief expressions that are so fast that most people do not see them. They reveal attempts by people to conceal how they are feeling. They may be the result of deliberate suppression, or they may occur when people are unaware of how they are feeling, the result of unconscious repression.
  • Mini or Subtle expressions: these are very small expressions that are usually limited to just one area of the face. They occur either when an emotion is just beginning to be felt, or a leakage of concealed emotions.



In RETT: Crime you will see a suspect’s reaction to an interrogator after the interrogator has told him he knows the suspect has committed a serious crime. You will see sadness first. You will also choose whether or not the incriminating evidence can be introduced at a trial. If it cannot, then the suspect will walk unless the interrogator gets a confession. If it can be introduced, a confession will save time and money, but isn’t essential.

You will be offered a number of choices about how to respond to a suspect’s emotions. After you make a choice, you will receive feedback from Dr. Paul Ekman about the advantages or disadvantages of your choice. We encourage you to select all of the choices, even ones you might not consider making, in order to learn from the feedback provided for each choice.

View every emotion the suspect shows

  • Select every choice about what to say and listen and watch the feedback about each choice.
  • You will learn from the feedback even about choices you would never make.


View the suspect’s reactions when the incriminating evidence can or cannot be introduced in court

  • What might be best to say depends not just on the suspect’s emotional reactions, but whether or not the incriminating evidence can or cannot be introduced in court. 
  • You can switch from can or cannot introduce in court whenever you wish.
  • Once completed, click the ‘I’m Finished’ button to see a recap of what you’ve learned.


It is up to you: what to watch, what feedback to get, and how much of Responding Effectively training you use. Remember you don’t have to finish it all in one sitting. You have RETT for one year. Use the Navigation button to view where you are in the program and to change your selections. The choices are yours!


To make this most applicable to you, please answer the following questions:

  • I want to see a

Male Interrogator - Cannot be introduced in court - Contempt


Before choosing your response, read through all the choices, then click to select the best one.
  • A) "Make us prove it, Jimmy, and we'll go for the max this time."
  • C) "Come on, Jimmy, you're smarter than that!"
  • D) "Do you really want to roll the dice when you have this chance to influence the outcome?"
  • E) "This is a felony; help yourself here."

Click here if you haven’t gone through all the available scenarios and responses.

Congratulations on completing the RETT: Law Enforcement tool. Below is a summary of the different scenarios that may arise with suspects, and a recap of the best ways to respond. 

Remember that the primary goal of RETT is to help you become more considered in how you respond to another person’s emotions. Your ability to recognize and identify “micros” can be a key to forming your next question or response – especially if/when the displayed “micro” is a “hot spot”; i.e. inconsistent or contrary to what the subject (in this case, the suspect) is saying or doing.

Evidence of guilt which can be introduced in court:

  • Sad Expression: He knows he did it, and he knows you have the evidence to prove it. Therefore, reinforcing the suspect’s feeling of guilt may be less critical than your display of understanding, encouragement, and even sympathy. Enhance rapport; use his name, avoid challenge or confrontation.
  • Fear Expression: While both elements of the “Carrot/Stick” strategy may have their place, you will have to decide which to use first – and to what extent. It is often smoother to switch from the “Carrot “ to the “Stick”. Enhance rapport by using the suspect’s first name and use the collective pronoun “we” to reinforce that rapport. Use the “Stick” only as a reminder and as a reality check. Avoid confrontation and disrespect – both could be counterproductive.


Evidence of guilt which can not be introduced in court:

  • Contempt Expression: The unilateral features of the Contempt micro make it unique. However, the displayed arrogance/smugness might be directed either at you or at some external recollection. Be careful not to escalate your or his emotions. However, restating his response may serve both as a reality check and as a cause for him to need to lie to you again.
  • Angry Expression: Responding to anger with anger may escalate the situation and even become counterproductive. Seeing/hearing his anger does not identify “why” he is angry. A reality check in the form of a reminder of possible consequences might shake him from his denial.
  • Disgust Expression: Is his displayed micro of disgust directed at you? At himself? At his situation? Keep your own emotions in check. Confrontational and/or challenging approaches need to be offset by facts that reinforce his guilt while letting him make choices about the consequences of his actions.


RETT trains you to consider the first thing you’re going to say, not what will come next and next after that. While RETT should make you more thoughtful about what to say, it can’t train you how to say it – that would require in-person coaching.
If you want to learn more about emotions, what triggers them, and also how to respond to them, read Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed, and his book co-authored with the Dalai Lama Emotional Awareness. If you are interested in Ekman’s ideas about how to increase compassion, read his latest book Moving Toward Global Compassion.




Bill Clark, NYPD Homicide Detective (Ret.), Creator/Consultant NYPD Blue

Paul F. Kelly, ASAIC U.S. Secret Service (Ret); U.S. Army Intelligence/Interrogation School; Director , NA Workshops, PEG

Sergeant Philip Saraff, Glendale Police, CO; ORIS Consulting