TV’s New Look at the Reid Technique for Police Interrogations

Crime shows have been a popular television genre for decades, but in recent years, we’ve seen some changes in how the interrogation scenes are being portrayed. It’s no longer just gritty questioning in TV dramas. Now we’re seeing documentaries investigating agency practices. This is helping to make the public aware of different interrogation tactics. Agencies need to make sure they’re keeping up-to-date with today’s most effective interrogation protocols. Training for the latest interview methods and upgrading to modern interrogation recording equipment can help keep your process compliant.

Changing the Public View of the Reid Technique

The era of the Reid Technique isn’t just shifting in the public safety sector—it’s also being reexamined by the media too. In the past, popular TV shows would showcase the Reid Technique “in action” to create tension and add excitement with new confessions. But now that approach is getting critiqued. Instead of fictionalized crime dramas, we’re seeing more and more shows geared toward true crime; and one new miniseries is taking a hard look at how police interrogations are handled in the real world.

“The Interrogation Tapes: A Special Edition of 20/20” is a docuseries covering six true-crime cases. Throughout the show, legal correspondents and interrogation experts work to show the audience how different interrogation tactics and analyzing the suspect’s speech and body language can lead investigators toward the truth. Yet, in one case, the result actually proves to be a false confession. Highlighting this instance puts the pressure on the Reid Technique.

As research scientist Sujeeta Bhatt explains, “The Reid Technique is used because it is effective in getting confessions. The issue that you run into though is that you have a high rate of not just true confessions, but false confessions.”

By bringing this risk of false confessions to the attention of the general public, the show serves as yet another reminder that agencies need to be extremely careful in how their interrogations are conducted. For example, it’s now widely accepted that the use of deception is particularly devastating for juvenile interrogations. Investing in specialized interview training can be a great place to start. Agencies can also protect themselves and avoid false confessions by reviewing their current interrogation protocols. An updated handbook and using audio video recording equipment for every interview are invaluable in the pursuit of justice.

Law Enforcement Transparency and the Modern Age of Interrogations

At iRecord, we’re here to serve and protect the professionals who protect and serve our communities in law enforcement and public safety. Our integrated solutions for digital evidence management and police interrogation recording equipment can help keep your process smooth and streamlined, and make it easier to respond to FOIA requests or court-requested interview redactions. With police transparency becoming of even greater concern each year, agencies can’t afford to not upgrade their systems. We can help!

Whether you’re ready to transform your onsite interview room or you’re looking for help developing new interrogation protocols and policies, we have the resources you need to get the job done right. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re always here for you!

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