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Page Title: Conducting the Interview
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has not been publicized, it is best to pick a place that will not attract attention to the subject. Introduction and Identification Introduce yourself courteously and make certain the subject is aware of your correct identity. Also make certain of the identity of the person before you. A hasty introduction or an appearance of one at the beginning of the interview may cause an embarrassing situation or may make the subject think that his or her presence is of little importance and that the information he or her is able to give is of little value. A few minutes spent in a proper introduction gives you time in which to evaluate the subject and the approach you have selected; and the subject is given an opportunity to overcome any nervousness and get in a better frame of mind  to  answer  questions. When the introduction is completed, make a general statement about the case without disclosing any of the specific facts that have been developed. If  appropriate,  warn  the  interviewee  of  his  or  her rights. The warning is required only where there is reason to believe that the interviewee is involved in the offense in question or that he or she may be involved in another offense, the investigation or prosecution of which may be jeopardized if the warning is not given. Conducting the Interview Interviews   are   classified   as   either   formal   or informal.  The  informal  interview  is  used  primarily  at the scene of the crime to screen those persons who have pertinent   information   about   an   offense.   After establishing  that  a  person  does  have  information regarding the offense or incident, immediately segregate him or her from the others and interview him or her formally as soon as practical. Also, take the names and addresses  of  all  persons  in  the  vicinity  for  future reference. The formal interview is conducted to obtain specific information concerning an offense or incident from a person  believed  to  be  aware  of  such  information.  The formal interview may be conducted at the scene, at a place convenient to the subject, or at your office. Attitude and actions usually determine the succcss or failure of the interview. Be friendly and businesslike; try to get the subject into a talkative mood and to guide the conversation toward the subject’s knowledge of the case. Permit the subject to tell his or her complete story without unnecessary interruptions. Phrase the questions to maintain a free flow of talk from the subject. Take care not to coach or lead the subject into merely telling you  what  you  want  to  hear.  Mentally  note  any inconsistencies  and  obtain  clarification  after  the  subject has  completed  his  or  her  story.  Specific  types  of approaches are as follows: . The indirect approach is generally used in the interview. The subject is aware of the reason for the interview and is permitted to discuss the facts with you rather than answer probing questions. He or she is encouraged to talk about the incident and to give a true and complete account of his or her knowledge of it. .  The  more  direct  type  of  questioning,  usually reserved for the interrogation of a suspect, maybe used when  the  subject  shows  fear,  dislike,  or  distrust  of interviewers;  dreads  retaliation  by  criminals;  desires  to protect  friends  or  relatives;  or  displays  a  general unwillingness  to  talk  for  reasons  best  known  to  himself or  herself. COMPLAINANTS.— The complainant is interviewed first, if possible, to find out whether the crime  did  occur  as  alleged  when  interviewing  a complainant,   be receptive and sympathetic; let the subject know that you recognize the importance of the complaint and intend to take proper action. Be tactful and open-minded toward the subject and his or her complaint,   but  equally  realistic  and  careful  in developing  complete  information.  Attempt  to  establish the motive for the complaint and determine the subject’s relationship to the accused. Be alert to detect any grudge or jealousy. Always assure the complainant that appropriate action will be started promptly and that a complete  and  thorough  investigation  will  be  conducted. VICTIMS.— When interviewing the victim of a crime, particularly a crime of violence, consider the victim’s emotional and physical state. A state of shock or  hysteria  may  cause  the  victim  to  give  a  hazy, erroneous, or garbled account of the crime. Wild and unsupported  opinions  or  conclusions  regarding  the circumstances of persons connected with the crime are often included in the victim’s account. Retain an open mind and evaluate each element of the victim’s story in relation to the testimony of witnesses and the physical evidence. WITNESSES.— Frequently  guide  the  witness  to help him or her to recall and to relate the facts of an incident as they were observed. Try to make him or her realize that he or she has important and necessary information. Design your questioning to develop a detailed account of the witness’ knowledge. 6-45

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