Investigator Tips

Current Investigator Tip

Blame the Suspect’s Perception of the Victim’s Actions and Behavior in Sexual Assault Interrogations

Aug 25, 2021

One of the fundamental principles of Theme Development, (Step 2 of the Reid Nine-Steps of Interrogation), is to shift the blame for the suspect’s criminal behavior to someone or something other than...

Previous Tips

The Danger of Threatening Inevitable Consequences During an Interrogation

Mar 01, 2011

A recent Frontline episode dealt with interrogation techniques and false confessions.1 The presented case involved the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Bosko from Norfolk, VA. The following is a synopsis of...

Research Review: The lie, the Bluff and False Confessions

Jan 01, 2011

One of the most controversial aspects of criminal interrogation involves the use of trickery and deceit. While Federal and State Supreme Courts routinely uphold confessions that were obtained from interrogations during which...

Investigating Attention- Motivated Fabricated Crimes

Nov 01, 2010

Every year there are a dozen or so incidents involving fabricated crimes that make national headlines because the motive behind the reported crime fascinates the general public. Recently a woman in...

Using Baseline Behaviors to Establish "Truthful" Responses.

Sep 01, 2010


During our training seminars, participants have asked about the value of identifying a suspect's truthful behavior by asking questions to which it is known that the suspect is telling the...

Documenting Field Confessions

Jul 01, 2010

Documenting Field Confessions[i]

Following a successful interrogation the investigator will convert the oral confession to a court admissible document. This document may be handwritten by the suspect, a...

Responding to Defense Experts' Characterization of Interrogation

May 01, 2010

In 1998 David Lykken wrote a book titled, "A Tremor in the Blood: The Uses and Abuses of the Polygraph Technique". In it, he advocated the use of his own "Guilty Knowledge...

Designing an Interview/Interrogation Room

Mar 01, 2010

I recently taught at a newly constructed police department. The architecture was beautiful featuring a massive open community room. The detective's work area was equally impressive with state of the art computer...

The Esteem-Motivated Offender

Jan 01, 2010

It is human nature to seek acclaim and recognition. Given the choice, most people would rather be well known and respected than an obscure outsider who is unimportant and ignored. Typically, this...

Civil Liabilities Associated With False Confessions

Nov 01, 2009

Civil Liabilities Associated With False Confessions

Training in the field of interrogation teaches investigators not only how to conduct effective interrogations, but also the legal aspects of obtaining admissible confessions...

Incongruous Behaviors

Sep 01, 2009

A fundamental principle of behavior symptom analysis is that truthful suspects send the same message on all three channels of communication.* Deceptive suspects may send different messages...

Motives For False Confessions

Jul 01, 2009

To date, the innocence project has freed in excess of 200 individuals from prison based on DNA evidence.* These innocent defendants were found guilty of serious felonies such as murder and...

Behavior Symptom Analysis During Roadside Interviews

May 01, 2009

Many serious crimes have been solved as a result of a traffic stop or chance encounter with a police officer:* A vehicle is stopped for running a red light and it...

The Psychopathic Suspect

Mar 01, 2009

The Psychopathic Suspect

March-April, 2009

Imagine what it would be like to make everyday decisions without caring how your choices affected others and to live...

Evaluating Exaggeration Within a Response

Jan 01, 2009

During a recent congressional hearing a CEO of one of the big three auto makers was asked, "Isn't it true that you have been trying to sell your company for several...

Selling a Suspect on the Benefits of Confessing

Nov 01, 2008

As a general guideline, an investigator should not address consequences during an interrogation. In fact, the investigator goes to great length to avoid discussing any possible consequences the suspect faces if...

Planning A Formal Interview

Sep 01, 2008

Planning A Formal Interview

Over the last 30 years I have conducted thousands of interviews on issues ranging from employee theft to homicide. Despite...

The Use of Visual Aids During an Interview or Interrogation

Jul 01, 2008

Investigators rely extensively on their verbal communication skills to elicit information during an interview and to persuade a suspect to tell the truth during an interrogation. It is often beneficial to reinforce...

Evaluating One-On-One Allegations

May 01, 2008

One-on-one allegations are very common in criminal investigations. The accuser may be an alleged victim. The accused, of course, denies involvement and offers an explanation for the false allegation. In other situations...

Are you a good listener?

Mar 01, 2008


An investigator's ability to solve cases relies extensively on his/her ability to develop rapport, ask the right questions, identify deceptive responses and...

Conducting A Custodial Behavior Analysis Interview

Jan 01, 2008

Investigators who attend our training seminars learn the value of conducting a Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI) as a reliable means of eliminating innocent suspects and identifying the guilty suspect during the...