Investigator Tips

Current Investigator Tip

Clarifying Misrepresentations About Interrogation Techniques (updated May 2023)

May 19, 2023

Over the years social psychologists, defenses attorneys, and some academicians have
offered a number of criticisms of current law enforcement interrogation practices, and, in
particular, the Reid Technique. Some of...

Previous Tips

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...

Interrogation Procedures: Promises of Leniency

Nov 01, 2007

Interrogation Procedures: Promises of Leniency

For a confession to be admissible as evidence it must not only be trustworthy, but also voluntary. The test...

Proper Techniques for Witnessing A Confession

Sep 01, 2007

No investigator wants to have his testimony questioned because it is his word against the defendant's. It is precisely for this reason that the investigator needs to have a witness verify...

The Role of a Subject's Attitudes in the Detection of Deception

Jul 01, 2007

Early in John Reid's career, he had a secretary named Mildred. In addition to typing and filing reports, Mildred scheduled appointments and greeted subjects as they entered the...