Mastering Your Interrogation Interview Techniques

In the quest for truth, interrogation interviews play a pivotal role in moving a case toward resolution. The conversations offer a unique opportunity to delve into the minds of those involved, and that’s why it’s so important that the process be conducted with care. Whether it’s interviewing a criminal suspect, victim, or witness, the process can unveil critical information for the court.

3 Keys to a Successful Police Interview

As the saying goes, “poor planning leads to poor performance.” Every aspect of interviews, from timing and preparation to record-keeping and content, demands meticulous consideration. Let’s recap these basic principles for a successful interview.

1. Thorough Preparation

Adequate time should be allocated to understanding the case, including concerns and allegations. Seasoned interviewers often emphasize that despite meticulous planning, though, unexpected surprises may occur during an interview. So while crafting a list of questions is helpful, rigidly adhering to them risks missing crucial elements or evidence that might arise on their own.

Maintaining flexibility during interviews is therefore extremely important, and allowing for deviations from prepared questions when necessary is key to uncovering critical information effectively. Since you can’t anticipate every direction the conversation may take, embracing each interview as an opportunity to learn something new prepares you for the unexpected in subsequent sessions.

That being said, familiarity with relevant federal and local policies, procedures, and laws is also crucial. In addition, it’s essential for law enforcement agencies to develop their own set of policies and guidelines for conducting interrogations. If your agency needs a good place to start, we have a document that can help!


2. Choosing the Right Setting

The next key is to conduct your interviews in the right setting. In-person interviews require a private, comfortable space where confidentiality is maintained. Agencies should have a designated space to conduct their interviews, ideally with the interview recording equipment seamlessly installed and integrated into the room.

These areas should have sufficient room for all parties, with chairs and a writing surface for note-taking in place. Special attention should also be given to the flooring and artwork, as well. Typically, the more neutral the setting, the better.


3. Post-Interview Evaluation

Critical to success in investigative interviews is the ability to demonstrate effective oral, written, and, above all, listening skills. Relying on a scripted interview plan that mandates asking all prepared questions may lead to a suboptimal investigative interview. Instead, the focus should be on developing a solid and detailed interview plan that aligns with the broader investigation strategy, and gathering the most accurate evidence possible for all parties to review.

After the interview, careful consideration and evaluation of notes are essential. Once again, recording your interrogation has major benefits. Assessing whether new information aligns with existing evidence and if further investigative steps are required is crucial, and also much easier when you have both audio and video evidence to review. If you need to review your existing equipment, our checklist can help!


Contact Us