CRJ426 Investigative and Forensic Interviewing
Colorado State University Global
Interview and interrogation requires understanding a wide range of nonverbal cues as well as being proactive and knowing how to read the room and when to ask the right questions. The interrogations we see in movies and on TV are nowhere close to what actually happens when a suspect is being interviewed by an investigator.
There is a situation in Walmart that involves the theft of cash from the registers during the night shift. The store security has conducted several interviews but feels they have identified the suspect.
It is crucial to inform the employee of the company policies that have been violated and what the consequences for those violations are. Do not make up additional violations or consequences and let the employee know where these policies can be found if you cannot provide them with a copy right at that moment. Theft is a very serious crime and hurts the company, but keep in mind that it is not possible to punish all cases of employee theft. The goal is to stop the behavior as well as investigate the cause. It can be helpful to review company policies and practices to make sure that they can be applied to a wide range of situations that would also dissuade the behavior.
Prior to actually conducting the interview, it is important to run through how and when you want to present certain facts and information (Schafer & Navarro, 2016). Make sure that all of your documents and evidence for when you need them. For this particular situation, it would be wise to prepare a written statement that will be given to the employees (Perez, 2003). This form should be given to employees prior to the interview that they will need to fill out. This form will go into their employee file as well as the investigation file. The document should ask for their name, the date and a statement along these lines: I understand that this interview is being conducted by the company’s internal affairs department. I have been informed that I may remain silent or choose to not answer any question. I have been informed that I have the right to stop this interview at any time. Stopping the interview will not be seen as an admission of guilt nor will any lack of response to any of the questions.
All of the employees being interviewed should sign and return the document. This can lessen liability.
Because of the seriousness of this situation, another good idea would be to document the interview with a video recorder (Schafer & Navarro, 2016). Make sure the employee knows they are being filmed and always verbally document when the interview starts and stops. It is also wise to be conscious of the amount of time the interview lasts (Perez, 2003). As the interviewer you have the option to inform the interviewee how long the interview should last, but also that that time is not set in stone (Perez, 2003).
Once the interviews begin, pay attention to the times that they arrive and follow up with them in regards to any lateness. Also make sure that the interview times work with the employees schedules and work with them on times that do work for them. It is important that they are all treated fairly in this.
NOTES AND RECORDING
It is always important to take notes during the interview, regardless of the fact that it is being taped. Make notes of things that may be important; this can be more than just the things they say but also the things they don’t say and their physical reactions. It is also important to make notes very short; interviewees can become stressed out if every little thing they say is being written down, it can also throw off their concentration (Schafer & Navarro, 2016).
In this type of situation, it would not be advised to bargain with dismissals or specific punishments, this can lead to false confessions (Layton, 2006). Do not ever promise anything in exchange for the truth or tell them everything will be fine if they confess. It’s important to remain impartial even if you do not agree with charges. Additionally, if it comes to polygraph testing no employee should be made to feel that they will be immediately fired if they fail the test. If they offer to tell the truth or confess but only for something in return, refuse the offer if you have nothing to counter with and do not stoop to their level.
Always remain in control of the interview. The best way to maintain control is through building rapport (NITV Federal Services, 2017). Interviews like this can be intense and stressful especially if the accused is innocent. A lot of times companies are not very in touch with their staff, this can be especially true for night shift workers. Some interviewees may test you by asking to take a lie detector test to prove their innocence. This can be a hazardous thing; although not admissible in court, the suspects defense team could use it if they pass. Make sure that you only present evidence that you want to present, do not let the conversation slide to “if’s” and “maybe” if you can’t back it up (Schafer & Navarro, 2016). Only use the information you have, do not make speculations or interpretations.
Layton, J. (2006, May 18). How Police Interrogation Works. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://people.howstuffworks.com/police-interrogation1.htm
NITV Federal Services. (2017, April 12). Understanding the Role of Control Questions in Standardized CVSA Interview Formats. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.cvsa1.com/interviewing-and-interrogation/understanding-the-role-of-control-questions-in-standardized-cvsa-interview-formats/
Perez, M. R. Standards and Guidelines for Internal Affairs: Recommendations from a Community of Practice, Standards and Guidelines for Internal Affairs: Recommendations from a Community of Practice (2003). Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Police Department.
Schafer, J., & Navarro, J. (2016). Advanced interviewing techniques: proven strategies for law enforcement, military, and security personnel. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, Publisher, LTD.