Interrogation Rooms: Best Practices for Public Safety Agencies

With so much on the line for a criminal case, both law enforcement agencies and child advocacy groups need to ensure that all aspects of their investigative process are in line with the highest standards for collecting accurate evidence. And arguably the most important evidence they’re going to gather are suspect interrogations and victim or witness testimonies. They can’t use just “any” space to conduct those interviews. When interviews are conducted on site, an agency’s interrogation rooms must be thoughtfully designed both logistically, as well as aesthetically. Every detail matters.

Police Interrogation Rooms for All Types of Interviews

Every public safety agency wants to defend the innocent and fight for truth. But that requires a productive exchange of information. Nervousness is a natural human response when being interviewed, especially when the other person is a public safety professional. So in order to obtain the necessary information for the investigation, we need to make sure that the interview subject is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. That’s why it’s critical to consider how the interrogation rooms themselves are set up. The environment itself needs to be professional and appropriate for all types of interviews.

When we consider the world of public safety as a whole, child advocacy centers in particular go to great lengths to ensure that all of their interviews take place in a safe, comfortable, and neutral environment. Yet the same can’t always be said for police departments’ interrogation rooms, which have traditionally gone in the direction of being somewhat stark or even “intimidating.” A sparse design makes sense. But modern interrogation rooms are taking more inspiration from the CAC approach.

Gathering Evidence in a Neutral Environment

In order to collect candid and accurate evidence, we need to reduce the perceived scrutiny and pressure of the entire interview process. For example, agencies can pay more attention to removing any reminders of the criminal justice system in the interrogation rooms. Seeing a framed certificate of a police training course is a lot different from having a watercolor landscape on the wall. Removing any reminders of what the consequences might be for telling the truth can actually help bring the truth to light.

We can’t only be considered with the victim’s state during an interview. It’s crucial to consider the varying degrees of trauma experienced by both victims and suspects involved in criminal investigations. From there, agencies will be better equipped to design interrogation rooms that help establish a sense of calm and encourage cooperation. Every interview room should be appropriate for both victims and suspects alike. A professional environment goes a long way for setting the right tone, and allowing the interview evidence to become as detailed as possible.

Integrating Furniture with the Right Recording Equipment

Another fundamental practice for public safety agencies is to equip their interrogation rooms with the appropriate furniture. Typically one table, two or three chairs, and a couple of pieces of artwork on the walls are all that’s needed. The type of furniture you select is obviously important—thinking in terms of an office waiting room is a good baseline—and equally important is how and where those items are placed.

When interrogation rooms are designed appropriately, with suitable furniture arrangements, the space will work to facilitate effective communication. From there, the other piece of the puzzle is to install the audio video recording equipment in the right places too. Agencies need to provide the court with clear visibility of all participants, so every interaction needs to be captured from multiple angles.

Considering all of the best practices for organizing a modern interview recording room may not be easier, but with the right solutions provider on your side, your agency can get on the right path for having a suite of interrogation rooms that will meet every requirement of delivering effective, accurate interview evidence!

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