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

Catching A Suspect In A Lie: Not Always A Symptom Of Guilt

May 01, 2007

A skilled investigator learns to withhold certain inside information from a suspect during an interview in the hope that he can catch the suspect in a lie. For example, the suspect may...

Electronically Recorded Confessions

Mar 01, 2007

The topic of electronically recording interviews and interrogations comes up frequently during our seminars. Clearly, there is a national trend in which through state court decisions or legislative efforts police officers...

The Use of Rationalization During an Interrogation Theme

Jan 01, 2007

Two conditions must be satisfied before a person decides to commit a crime. The first is that the individual must believe that he or she will not...

Guarding Against Claims of False Imprisonment

Nov 01, 2006

The concept of "false imprisonment" is usually associated with a criminal act relating to abduction or kidnapping. However, this web tip relates to false imprisonment as a civil suit. The definition varies...

Quoting Statements in an Open Account: Truthful or Deceptive?

Sep 01, 2006

Quoting Statements in an Open Account: Truthful or Deceptive?

September- October

During most interviews the investigator should develop an open, or narrative account from the subject. It is called an open...

The Role of Motivation in Detection of Deception Research

Jul 01, 2006

Early reports on the accuracy of the polygraph technique were largely anecdotal. For example, if ten suspects were administered a polygraph examination on a particular crime and one of them failed and...

Eliciting A Subject's Willingness to Submit to a Voluntary Interview

May 01, 2006

In most instances, subjects will agree to answer an investigator's questions if the conversation occurs at the subject's home, place of business or over the phone. From an investigative perspective, however, it...

The Use of an Interpreter During an Interview

Mar 01, 2006

A question that is frequently asked during our seminars concerns the proper use of an interpreter during an interview. This is particularly true when we train military personnel who regularly utilize translators...

The Significance of Identifying Precipitators during a Criminal Investigation

Jan 01, 2006

The first step of any criminal investigation is factual analysis. This describes the process of collecting and analyzing information and evidence surrounding a crime. One of the goals of factual...

Common Errors in Evaluating a Suspect's Truthfulness Through Behavior Symptom Analysis

Dec 01, 2005

Over the years we have been consulted on cases in which an investigator was absolutely convinced that a particular suspect was lying when, in fact, the person was telling the...

Common Errors in Evaluating a Suspect's Truthfulness

Dec 01, 2005

Over the years we have been consulted on cases in which an investigator was absolutely convinced that a particular suspect was lying when, in fact, the person was telling the...

Responding to a Suspect’s Request to See Evidence During an Interrogation

Nov 01, 2005

It is rare to conduct an interrogation under circumstances where the investigator has absolute proof of the suspect's guilt. At the outset of most interrogations there is merely circumstantial or...

The Significance of Specific Denials During Interviews and Interrogations

Oct 01, 2005

Recently, I reviewed a videotaped interview of an 17-year-old suspect who was being questioned about starting a fire that burned down his parent's home. During the interview the investigator asked...

If a Lie is Repeated Often Enough, Can The Person Come to Believe That The Lie Is True?

Sep 01, 2005

During our seminars participants ask many interesting questions about the psychology of lying and factors that affect lie detection. A common question relates to the effects of repeating a false...

Evaluating the Suspect Who Accepts Some Responsibility for the Crime

Aug 01, 2005

During the course of interviewing a suspect who is guilty of committing a crime it is not uncommon for the suspect to acknowledge some level of responsibility for committing the...

The Use of Follow-Up Questions During an Interview

Jul 01, 2005

The primary goal of an interview is to develop meaningful information from a subject. The first step in this process is to ask the right questions. However, merely...

Electronic Recording of Interviews and Interrogations

Jun 01, 2005

It has long been recognized that a confession is the strongest piece of evidence a prosecutor can produce against a defendant in a court of law. Consequently, any competent defense attorney will...

Use Caution When Expressing the Urgency for a Suspect to Confess

May 01, 2005

It is human nature to put off unpleasant decisions. Being in my 50's, I know that I need to eventually get long-term care insurance. Even though I fully intend to...

Do You Invite People to Lie to You?

Apr 01, 2005

No one wants people to lie to them. Yet, I have encountered numerous parents, teachers and investigators who regularly invite deceptive answers from people they question. I am certain they do not...

Developing an Interview Strategy

Mar 01, 2005

Some interviews are free-flowing and spontaneous. Often, these interviews are conducted in an uncontrolled environment such as a street corner, an employee's office or over the telephone. Because the person...