You should talk with suspects or unwilling witnesses (unwilling to
cooperate for any number of reasons) in an interrogation room.
You can control
distractions there and have a certain amount of psychological advantage.
The interrogation room should be private and free of outside distractions.
should be furnished with only as many straightback chairs as required and a table
for writing, as shown in Figure 2-3.
The temperature should be regulated to a
comfortable level to prevent later accusations that a statement was made under
Items that could cause distractions should be removed.
permissible providing you have the bell disconnected, long lengths of cord hidden
from view, and any lights facing away from the suspect.
Arrange for Witness and Interpreter.
You need a witness at an interview or
interrogation for many reasons. At an interview, you need a witness for executing
the affidavit on DA Form 2823 (Sworn Statement). In an interrogation, you need to
have a witness for the rights warning and waiver, and for the execution of the DA
Form 2823 affidavit. The witness to these events is ideally the same person. This
is just in case both you and the witness need to appear in court.
At no time
should you have more investigators than necessary.
Too many witnesses could be
used by a defense counsel to indicate a statement was made under duress.
If the interviewee is female, a female witness should be made available.
female witness can either be in the room or observing through a two-way mirror.
Under certain circumstances, an interpreter may be required for an interviewee.
You should be able to determine that you need an interpreter based on your
background knowledge of the individual. Language barriers should be the key factor
in a decision to use an interpreter. When preparing an interview or interrogation,
provide your questions to the interpreter before the interview begins.
written questions should be clear and concise and be able to yield brief, factual
answers. You do not want to get a long-winded story from someone that takes hours
You must keep in mind that the interpreter is nothing more than a "talking
machine." You are in control of the interview. An interpreter must never ask his
own questions. He must never paraphrase questions or answers and must never hold
You must ask questions to the interviewee directly.
interviewee will respond directly, with the interpreter repeating the translation
Determine Means to Record the Interview or Interrogation.
Two methods are used
to record an interview or interrogation: notes or electronic recordings.
Either you, another investigator, or a stenographer can take the notes.
are taking the notes, you should do so only after the interviewee has told
his story at least once.
Take notes only after you are sure that you are
getting truthful information.
You may need to write bits of information (such
as phone numbers and addresses) immediately.
You first want to devote all
of your attention to the story.
If an interviewee is bothered by your taking