Police procedures for interrogation are some of the most critical issues associated with criminal proceedings in the United States
Police procedures for interrogation are some of the most critical issues associated with criminal proceedings in the United States. How law enforcement officers go about this issue determines the willingness of the suspect to cooperate and give evidence that will be admissible. Successful interrogations should not use maltreatment or force but rather simple psychology to get a confession. According to Marques, and Milne (2019), police officers need to decide on the interrogation technique to prove most effective when dealing with suspects. There should be a pre-investigation interview, observance of human rights and proper interrogation steps to make this process worthwhile. lt is also essential to consider these steps to ensure that the criminal justice system is fair to all citizens. Rushin, and DeProspo (2019), indicate that in order to apply these procedures practically, police departments should consider the seriousness of the issue and support the plan to enforce proper interrogation techniques.
These techniques vary from the PEACE program, Kinesics lnterview, and the famous Reid Technique. Failure to observe interrogation protocols has led police officers to inadmissible evidence making their efforts futile. To ensure that criminal justice procedures are observed, police officers need to understand the steps involved and the psychology behind these steps to implement their plan successfully.
Pre-lnterrogation lnterview Before a formal interrogation, the police officers need to interview the suspect to determine if the person is a witness or a perpetrator. The information collected during this stage is usually helpful to the police since they can know how to handle the interrogation once it begins formally. Police officers must understand that this interview does not need reading of the Miranda rights since it is meant to gauge the suspect hence gaining visibility on how to handle the interrogation (Kassin et al., 2007). This interview cannot be used to accuse or coerce the perpetrator. Police officers are expected to learn as much as possible from the suspect during this period. Their body language, choice of words, or behavior should lead the officer in determining a stand on the deceptiveness of the suspect. However, with cases of juveniles or youth, it could be signs of stress. With this interview, the police can determine whether a formal investigation is necessary or not.
Miranda waiver To achieve a successful interrogation, police officers need to read the Miranda rights to the suspects. However, police officers can use techniques to get the suspects to waive these rights hence proceeding with the interrogation without counsel. According to Kassin et al. (2007), there is a four-step technique that officers can use to convince the suspect to waive their rights. First, some officers insist on the importance of truth-telling before reading the Miranda rights. Second, the officer will nod while reading the rights so that the suspect also nods in agreement. Third, the officer will pass the warning as a mere formality. Lastly, most officers will tell the suspect that that is the only chance to show their side of the story. ln most cases, this method works since most people will want to say to the truth of their side of the story (Kassin et al., 2007). Suspects waive their rights since they think that invoking them will make them look guilty.
Peace Method The PEACE method is an interrogation technique not popular in the United States, which is less confrontational. What happens is that a police officer lets the suspect tell their side of the story without any interruption even if they contradict themselves.
The PEACE method involves: Preparation and Planning, Engaging and Explaining, Account, Closure, and Evaluation.
The PEACE method involves: Preparation and Planning, Engaging and Explaining, Account, Closure, and Evaluation. The interrogation of suspects is considered as the most vital stage in an investigation and should be conducted with utmost professionalism (Hartwig, 2005). These five steps prevent the interrogator from deceiving the suspect during the interrogation.
i. Preparation and planning: During this step, an officer is expected to plan how the interrogation will take place by setting the date, time, and agendas to be covered. An officer may be required to visit the crime scene to collect more evidence to establish if the suspect’s story will corroborate with the scene.
ii. Engage and explain: The officer should involve active listening during the investigation, but before the start, he/she should inform the suspect of the reasons and objectives of the interview.
At this point, Miranda rights can be read to the suspect.
At this point, Miranda rights can be read to the suspect.
iii. Account: The suspect should be interrogated in a straight forward manner without the use of jargon or intentional confusion. The questions should be short for clear clarification of their side of the story.
iv. Closure: After the questions, the officer should read the account to the suspect to ensure that the stories are aligned and there are no mistakes. v. Evaluate: At this point, the interrogator evaluates the record given by the suspect to establish if they are decisive or a witness. The officer may check for any inconsistencies and determine the need for further action.
Kinesics lnterview This method is more similar to the famous Reid’s technique, but it mostly focuses on the non-verbal cues of a suspect. Every 3 to 5 minutes, an interrogator should analyze the behavior of the suspect during an interrogation since a single act may not be reliable. ldentification of patterns, when confronted with specific questions, should lead the interrogator to a solid conclusion. The Kinesics interview involves four steps which are: orientation, narration, cross-examination, and resolution. Criminal justice officials should understand the importance of verbal and non-verbal behavior to do their jobs more efficiently (Out, 2015). Communication should be considered as a relationship between two or more entities.
i. Orientation: This step involves informing the suspect of their rights and the objective of the interrogation. Suspects are given a right to counsel before the interview, while others such as juveniles may choose to have a lawyer present during the examination (Verhoeven, 2018). The suspect should be made aware of the facts of the case before the questioning process begins.
ii. Narration: During this step, the suspect is expected to give an account of their story regarding the incident. The interrogator is expected to ask questions in case there are contradictions to clarify the matter.
iii. Cross-examination: This step employs the kinesics study of the suspect, and their non-verbal behavior is monitored. The officer will most likely tap into the emotions of the suspect by bringing out evidence that is contradictory to their statement. Police officers use the P.A.S. program in this step, which involves Problem-Agitate-Solve. By bringing out the problem in the suspect’s report, the individual should be driven to the point of agitation so that the officers note down their behavior. Sudden outbursts, fidgeting, crying, or even laughter may help the police unveil answers.
iv. Resolution: After the cross-examination, the officers can determine the truthfulness or deceptiveness of the suspect. Reid Technique The Reid technique is the most popular method in the United States, which involves nine steps. This interrogation only takes place when the police officer is reasonably sure that the suspect was involved in the case. The steps are: i. Confrontation: The interrogator creates discomfort in the interrogation room to increase stress levels in the suspect. They are informed of the suspicion against them and the evidence mounting against them. The detective should be confident so that the suspect believes the police officer. Legally coercive and deceptive techniques are permissible as long as the suspect is not coerced to write the confession (Bang, 2018).
ii. Theme development: At this point, the interrogator comes up with a story that will most likely include the suspect committing the crime and the reasons behind the motive. The officer tries to consider why the suspect would commit the crime and why the suspect would like to think he/she committed the crime iii. Handling denials: ln addition to elevated stress levels, the officer should lower the confidence of the suspect by stopping all attempts of denial. When the suspect tries to attempt a negation, the officer interrupts and tells the suspect that they will speak later when given a chance. Officers should look for decreased denials or no denials to determine if the suspect is close to a confession. lf the denials drop after the theme development, then the officer is on the right path.
iv. Overcoming objections: When the suspect starts to get familiar with the theme, they may try to object the story by giving up a denial that the officer may turn around. At this point, the officer may agree with the objection but convince the suspect that it was only a one time mistake that would not happen again. The suspect’s guilt begins to increase, and he/she may confess.
v. Gaining the suspect’s attention: To get the attention of the suspect, the interrogator should play the good cop instead of the accusatory cop. They can do this by getting closer to the suspect to keep them in the mood of cooperation. Since the suspect is confused and frustrated, they may decide to confess to getting away from such feelings.
vi. Handling the suspect’s body language: At this point, the suspect’s body language should indicate defeat. They will most likely have their head hung low, and their shoulders hunched to show low confidence. The officer is expected to lead the suspect to accept a motive for the crime. Eye contact is established to maintain stress levels and need to escape.
vii. Alternatives: Officers may give different scenarios as to why the suspect committed the crime in the hope that the suspect will choose one option. The suspect is expected to give a shrug or behavioral sign to one of the options, which leads the police officer to a conclusion. At this point, the officer escalates things before the suspect changes their mind.
viii. Encouraging the suspect to relate the offense orally: After the non-verbal cue, the officer should engage the suspect in a verbal confession. The suspect should engage in conversation with the police telling them what happened. The officer calls in witnesses to hear the confession which makes the suspect more stressed. ln his/her mind, having a new detective in the room means that the disclosure is final.
ix. Converting an oral confession to a written one: For the admission to be admissible in court, the suspect should confess in writing or on video. He/she then goes ahead to sign the confession statement claiming it was done voluntarily and was not coerced.
Part B – Practical Application To address the issue of interrogation steps, it is best to ensure that police officers follow the plan to the letter. This can be achieved through an analysis of the effectiveness of the measures when applied practically. The Reid Technique is the most common method used in the United States. Analyzing the conversations held between police and suspects should shed light on the discursive practices of police interrogation (Reynolds, 2012). How the police get a confession should adhere to these strategies to the letter without swaying from the point. A recent survey showed that two-thirds of police departments use the technique and train their officers about it (Gallini, 2010. The practical application can be achieved by police units ensuring that all detectives are trained on the Reid Technique, and the interrogation sessions follow the plan. Police departments should also adapt to the technique without exceptions.
Those to be involved in the practical application will be police officers and detectives since they interact mostly with suspects. Police officers mainly conduct patrol and enforcement but may be involved in interrogations if it is a particular case they have been following for a while. However, detectives will mostly conduct examinations since they have more time dedicated to fact-finding. They are usually trained and experienced in investigations. Police officers as well could be skilled and trained in conducting detective work and may be involved in an inquiry. Whoever is required should be well aware that the purpose of the interrogation should determine whether the suspect is lying or telling the truth (Kassin, 2010). They should choose their questions wisely to guide the suspect, to say the truth, and avoid false confessions.
The Reid technique has influenced every aspect of modern police interrogation from the setup of the interview room to the behavior of the police (Kozinski, 2018).
The Reid technique has influenced every aspect of modern police interrogation from the setup of the interview room to the behavior of the police (Kozinski, 2018). Since the operations today are technologically advanced, resources such as surveillance cameras in interrogation rooms are necessary to ensure that the police act accordingly, and capture video confessions of the suspect. Police departments must give provisions towards interrogation training to guarantee its effectiveness. Having inadmissible evidence will make police work futile and degrade their reputation. lt is, therefore, vital to ensure that proper resources are allocated to the interrogation unit to support conviction of crimes.
Conclusion For the practical application to be useful, the results will depend on the input of the police unit to reform or refine their interrogation techniques. lt is expected that with this plan, evidence collected will be admissible in court and the police will achieve more confessions. Police officers will be able to discern when a suspect is lying by only studying their body language. Learning the art of interrogation gives police officers confidence and more control in the investigation room. Above all, the police department should support this strategy by giving adequate attention and resources to the plan. With the support of the department, the officers will acquire proper training that will help in the execution of the interrogation.it is possible for the criminal justice system to rely on analytical procedures rather than force and maltreatment to catch criminals.