on the part of the complainant. Determine the subject's relationship to the person
accused and the facts developed.
The MPI must often guide the witness to help him recall and
relate the facts of an incident.
Help the witness realize that he has important
and necessary information.
Questions should be designed to develop a detailed
account of the witness' knowledge. Constantly be aware of the human factors that
affect a witness's ability to observe and describe actions, articles, or
circumstances related to the commission of a crime.
When interviewing the victim of a crime, consider the victim's
emotional and physical state. A state of shock or hysteria may cause the victim to
give a hazy, erroneous, or garbled account.
Wild and unsupported opinions or
conclusions about the circumstances of persons connected with the crime are often
included in the victim's account.
Keep an open mind.
Weigh each part of the
victim's story in relation to the physical evidence and the testimony of witnesses.
The interview procedure used for a victim closely parallels that used for a
The victim can usually give reliable information about the events
leading to the crime.
However, his account of the details, and the events
immediately following the crime, may be subject to faulty perception resulting from
excitement and tension.
7. RECORDING THE FACTS.
The recording of the facts disclosed in the interview is necessary to the proper
conduct of the investigation and to the making of a good report.
a. Most people who are interviewed have no objection to discreet notetaking.
Notes, however, should not be taken until the subject has had an opportunity to
tell his story completely and to correct any honest mistakes made in the first
b. Some people show annoyance when the investigator diverts his attention from
them to the taking of notes. Others are reluctant to talk when they know that what
they say is being recorded.
When interviewing these persons, do not make notes
still fresh in your mind. Exceptions occur when the investigator must make note of
such things as addresses, telephone numbers, and detailed descriptions of persons
or stolen items.
c. An electronic recording device (tape or wire) is a useful means of preserving
the content of an interview.
The recordings should be kept in their entirety,
together with any stenographic transcripts made from them.
A complete chain of
custody is maintained for all such items, they may later prove valuable in legal
proceedings, if they can be duly identified and authenticated. AR 381-17 must be
followed to the letter when recording an interview.
When using wire or tape
recorders, you must get the consent of the person being interviewed.
you should get it in writing.