witness to both these actions would ideally be 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.
b. If the interviewee is female, a female witness should be made available. She can either be in
the room or observing through a two-way mirror.
Means to Record Interview/Interrogation
a. There are two methods to record an interview or interrogation: notes or electronic records.
Either the interviewer or a stenographer can take the notes. Allow the interviewee to tell his story at
least once. Notes are taken only after you are sure that you are getting the truth. You first want to
devote all your attention to the story. If an interviewee is bothered by note taking, you might delay the
note taking until later. When using an interrogation room, use secretarial assistance. Remember, the
goal of recording the interview/interrogation is to construct a written statement. Notes should be as
complete as possible.
b. An electronic recording device may make the job easier. It limits note taking time. It also
ensures that an interviewee's entire statement is recorded. However, there are some limits. The
interviewee must be informed of the plan to use a recording device. In most cases, therefore, note taking
will be needed.
Conducting an Interview.
a. The beginning of an interview is the only time when you do all the talking. You need to
relate information to the interviewee. Include your name, position, and credentials. You also need to
state the nature of, and the reason for, the interview. You should not treat this lightly. Do not rush
through a quick explanation. Take your time and express concern for the person. Relate the importance
of the case, especially with victims. The introduction sets the mood for the entire interview. By
showing concern, you are certain to receive more cooperation than if you just started asking questions.
b. Next, give a general statement of the status of the case. Do not disclose any specific facts or
details. For example, to the larceny victim you would say, "I understand your house has been
burglarized; I would like to talk with you about it."
c. You need to keep in mind the emotional state or attitudes of the victim or witness, especially
if the incident is recent. The interviewee may not want to talk. He may be influenced by some
prejudice. His perception or memory of the incident may be exaggerated. A calm, steady, concerned
approach will help lessen emotional swing. Digressions may occur; you must always make an effort to
"stick to the facts." The concern and consideration you give to a victim's injuries or losses will give a
truthful victim the incentive to