Your check of background information may also reveal potential personality
Although you are a professional, there may be a time when, due to
personal deep-seated emotions, you will not be able to objectively participate in
an interview or interrogation.
In this case, you should arrange for another
officer to: take your place.
Assuming you know about the incident and about the person you
will talk with, you are ready to prepare questions. Construct a general outline of
the areas you want to cover and the facts you need to ascertain. Your goal is to
obtain a true statement.
A carefully planned outline or set of questions will get you there. Structure the
outline so that you will obtain, verify, and clarify missing or confusing
The outline should be able to obtain facts that you expect the
interviewee to know.
For example, you would expect the victim to know the time
frame of a robbery and the items missing.
You would also expect the suspect to
know what items were taken and who else was involved.
You need to identify what
information someone is expected to know so that you can tell if they are lying or
do not have the information.
The questions that come from the outline should be in a logical sequence.
question should naturally follow the response to the previous one. Of course, you
cannot anticipate all responses. Your inquiry may lead into a different area than
The expected elements of information should, however, be the
minimum information gained in the interview or interrogation.
One key to a successful interview is asking appropriate questions. This means the
questions must get to the point. They must stimulate recall and allow a person to
describe environments, conditions, and events.
Photographs and sketches can be
used as prompts.
Questions that yield "yes" or "no" answers should be avoided.
The goal is to have the interviewee tell his story or describe the incident under
investigation, not just nod in agreement or disagreement.
Schedule Time and Location. An interview or interrogation should be scheduled at
the earliest possible time.
You would want to talk to a witness and get a
statement while his memory is still fresh. You want to talk to a suspect before he
has had time to think of alibis or talk with 'accomplices.
There are times,
however, when you have to delay an interrogation.
You might need to collect
evidence or research the suspect's background.
The length of time devoted to an interview or interrogation varies.
scheduling a talk with a victim or witness, you should be at their convenience.
The interview should not be rushed or hurried. Likewise, an interrogation must not
have a predetermined time limit, or continue for so long as to suggest duress.
The location of an interview or interrogation also varies.
It may occur at
the scene of an offense.
However, during a formal interview, a victim or
willing witness may be interviewed where they would feel comfortable. This could