FAIRBORN – Interviewing and interrogating is a work of art – varying situations will call for those conducting the conversations to utilize different styles, such as the Hollywood-familiar good cop/bad cop.
“Interviews are like a chess game,” Fairborn Detective Brian Neiford said. “They’re always going to say something, you’re going to go off that and they’re going to direct where the interview goes with the story they give you compared to the evidence you have and what you know.”
During week five of Fairborn’s Citizens Police Academy Nieford shared facts regarding detective work.
Interviews are non-confrontational, utilized fact-based questions and and used for information gathering. Interrogations on the other hand are more confrontational, ask accusatory questions and aim to obtain a guilty confession from a suspect. However, it is not unheard of to begin with an interview and end with an interrogation depending on the flow of the conversation.
Factors that play into a successful interview/interrogation are room arrangement, building a rapport, observing the attitude and body language of the interviewee and establishing a story and/or inconsistencies within such.
“You always have to be paying attention to what they’re saying, key off discrepancies in their story and inconsistencies,” Neiford said.
Interview and interrogating styles include:
– Reid methodology, which is taught and used nationally and is specific in how it is utilized.
– Good cop/bad cop, in which one detective will approach the suspect in a friendly-fashion while another will approach in the opposite manner. Neiford said it is not commonly used.
– Confrontational or non confrontational is approaching the suspect in a confrontational or accusatory manner or laid-back manner, respectively.
– Clearing the innocent, which takes place when it becomes clear that the suspect is not guilty during an interview and is just as important as getting a guilty confession, according to Neiford.
– The multiple suspect approach means detectives are dealing with multiple suspects and they must determine who to interview first, as doing so will allow the evidence or confessions to “fall like dominoes,” Neiford said.
“Certain situations and personalities of the suspect may dictate the style of the interview,” Neiford said. “Most detectives try all kinds of styles and eventually pick one that works best for them or develop their own style from things they take away from all the styles or participating in interviews with different detectives.”
Upon the arrival of detectives to a scene after a crime has occurred, they are briefed on what has taken place before walking through and observing the leftovers of the crime first-hand. They’re purposes is to understand what has taken place, determine what is or isn’t included in the scene, gather evidence to be presented in court and convict the responsible individual.
“We have to have the scene tell us everything,” Fairborn Detective Ryan Whittaker said. ” … The crime scene holds [all] of our answers.”
The scene is roped off for the purposes of protecting the area from destruction, contamination and/or the removal of any evidence. It is then documented via video and photos, followed by labels, measurements and sketches. Whittaker said theoretically, the measurements could allow investigators to go to an empty field and recreate the scene if necessary.
Evidence, included DNA, is also collected.
“If somebody were to break into someone’s house or car, the cops will come out and process the scene for DNA,” Whittaker said. “The second thing they’ll ask for is your DNA … The reason we ask for that is because if it’s your car or house, your DNA is going to be there … What they’re asking for is an elimination standard from the victim … That’s to show who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.”
An individual from the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab later spoke during week five of the Fairborn Police Department Citizens Police Academy, in which she debunked the idea that crimes can be solved before the credits roll, as some television shows will depict.
Week six of the Citizens Police Academy will highlight firearm safety and less lethal weapons.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532 or on Twitter @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.