information. You should be able to consult the name-index file and the reports to
gain essential background information about a person. This procedure will prevent
duplication of effort in setting background information.
It will also provide
summary knowledge until complete background information can be developed.
PART J - THE INTERVIEW.
a. Only a few people in the immediate vicinity of a crime can give information
that will be of value. Find these individuals and separate those who have valuable
information from those who do not. The problem is best solved by the skillful use
of the interview.
b. In an interview, the person questioned usually gives his account of the
incident in his own words and in his own way.
2. PLANNING THE INTERVIEW.
a. Time of Interview. A person should be interviewed as soon as possible after
the incident. This reduces the possibility of his forgetting or being influenced
not to talk.
Generally, question witnesses, victims, and complainants at their
Allow enough time to conduct a thorough interview; poor
scheduling can result in a rushed interview.
Important details are then
b. Place of Interview.
Willing witnesses, excluding those interviewed at the
scene, are usually interviewed, where they feel psychologically comfortable. They
might be in their homes or offices. It is all right, however, to interview persons
in a police setting, if they are not uncomfortable or are not caused undue
c. With suspects and hostile witnesses not interviewed at the scene, it is best
to question in a proper interrogation room.
(Such a room is described later in
this lesson.) Any other available location where the investigator enjoys the
psychological advantage will also do for questioning.
3. INTRODUCING YOURSELF.
a. Introduce yourself courteously to the person being interviewed. Make certain
that he is aware of your identity. Show your credentials if the person has a doubt
as to your authority to conduct the investigation.
b. A hasty introduction or an appearance of haste at the beginning of the
interview may cause an embarrassing situation. It could make the person think that
his presence is of little importance and that the information he has is of little
A few minutes spent in a proper introduction are not wasted; the
introduction gives you time in which to evaluate the person and your approach; the
person is given a chance to overcome any nervousness and is usually in a better
frame of mind to answer questions.