Detective investigator Miami Beach South Beach
The spoken word is usually the greatest source of investigative evidence and often is the best evidence in any judicial or administrative forum. No investigation Miami Beach South Beach is complete until every important witness, subject, and, when possible, complainant, has been interviewed. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Proficiency in interviewing assures a high degree of accuracy in fact development, helps prove or disprove the issue at hand, prevents surprise testimony from arising later, and may help impeach witnesses who change their stories. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The purpose of interviewing is to gather information. The detective investigator Miami Beach South Beach does this through a process of asking and answering questions. The word "process" denotes a dynamic interaction, with many variables operating with, and acting upon, one another. To understand and effectively employ this process, the detective investigator Miami Beach South Beach must first examine the interview as a unique form of interpersonal communication. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The interviewer has but one ultimate goal, reporting the objective truth. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Whether interviewers can reach that goal depends in large part on the personal attributes they bring to the interview process. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. But neither the ordinary experiences of growing up and living among people, nor a formal and extensive school education is of much value in learning how to obtain information from reluctant individuals. Even when interviewing cooperative witnesses, detective investigators may find it difficult to acquire all the pertinent facts they possess. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Most people learn to interview by "trial and error" practice on many persons or by watching other interviewers. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Following or using techniques of untrained or inexperienced interviewers can lead to "inbred incompetence." Effective interviewing is a skill that must be learned by special training and the experience that comes from constant practice. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Experience cannot be taught, but training in the basic concepts of the proper way to conduct an interview is an invaluable start. Anything that can be learned by "trial and error" can be learned more thoroughly and quickly through systematized study. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Qualities of Good Interviewers Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The qualities and personal attributes required to be a good interviewer can usually be developed with training and practice. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Four of the most important qualities and the keystone for success as an interviewer are:
Honesty, integrity and the ability to impress upon all interviewees that you seek only the truth regarding the matter under investigation Miami Beach South Beach; Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The ability to establish rapport quickly and under diverse conditions; Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The ability to listen to interviewees and evaluate responses; and
The ability to maintain self-control during interviews and not become emotionally involved in the investigation Miami Beach South Beach. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Create Investigative Plan Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach: The groundwork for successful interviews starts with the investigative plan. The plan establishes who is to be interviewed and in what order. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. It also defines the category of each interviewee (complainant, witness, subject). Order and category impact the preparation and conduct of the interview. For example, the physical setting of the interview room may be changed with the category of the interviewee. Psychological factors to be employed, and the detail, manner and style of questioning also vary with the order and category of interviewees. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Create Interview Plan Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach: Preparation is the key to successful interviewing. The investigator should obtain as much information as possible on the details of the case and the background, character and habits of the persons involved. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. This helps determine the most effective interview procedures applicable to each interview. In addition to an overall investigative plan, the successful investigator has a specific plan for the conduct of every interview. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. The plan should take into account the following:
The type of interview, subcategories of complainants and witnesses include victims, eyewitnesses, hearsay witnesses, expert witnesses and informants. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Each may require a slightly different approach. Specialized interview techniques include the use of polygraph and hypnosis conducted by subject matter experts (although rarely used in IG investigation Miami Beach South Beach, and then only after consultation with counsel, the detective investigator should be prepared to respond to the subject which offers to sit for one of these interviews). Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. In rare cases, the detective investigator may have to employ the specialized techniques necessary for the interview of a minor. If so, consult with counsel. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The physical and psychological factors, discussed below, to be used during the conduct of the interview. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The questioning technique to be employed (interview or interrogation), and whether the interviewee will be asked to prepare for the interview, shown documents or confronted with information obtained from other interviewees.
The outline of topics to be covered, their order, and whether it is necessary to write out specific questions to ensure they are asked precisely (especially helpful when technical issues are involved). Outlines provide clear-cut goals and objectives for the interview. Outlines describe each topic to be resolved, but usually do not include written questions that must be asked. This prevents the investigator from focusing on reading the questions, forgetting to listen to the answers (to ensure they are responsive), and failing to ask appropriate follow-up questions.
Whether a second detective investigator will be present during the interview, and the role that detective investigator will play. The manner of recording the information developed during the interview (detective investigator notes and report, the interviewee's written a statement, tape recording, videotaping, or a combination of methods). Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
The rights and responsibilities of the interviewee, as discussed in Chapter 3, especially as they will affect whether counsel or union representatives will be present, the requirement for Miranda or Article 31(b) warnings (see Chapter 9 when UCMJ violations may be involved), and the advance preparation of Kalkines warnings or grants of immunity.
Determine Physical Influence Factors To Use Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach:
The physical environment in which an interview is conducted can have a tremendous impact on the ability to conduct a successful interview. The physical environment includes not only the interview room itself, but what the interviewer will, and will not, be permitted to do during the course of the interview, as these physical factors definitely influence mental activity and the control of the interview.
The physical environment such as comfort, noise, privacy, the distance between the interviewer and interviewee, seating arrangement and territoriality affects interviews. The detective investigator can enhance the interviewee's concentration and motivation with a well-lighted, pleasantly painted, moderately sized room that has a comfortable temperature and proper ventilation.
Conversely, noise, movement and interruptions, especially telephone calls, disrupt concentration, thought patterns and the mood of the interview. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. People have difficulty listening and thinking when they see cars on the street outside a window, persons moving about in an outer office, or other investigative personnel coming and going. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. The detective investigator must provide privacy and a good atmosphere for an effective interview to take place. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Generally, the person sitting behind a desk, whether the interviewer or interviewee, gains power and formality. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. For the majority of interviews planned by the detective investigator, all communications barriers such as desks, tables, personal items, etc. should be eliminated. The elimination of physical structures limits the ability of the interviewee to hide behind barriers that can provide a feeling of security as well as emotional and psychological support. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
For friendly witnesses, the room should be casual and comfortable. For a hostile witness or subject, the room should be sparsely furnished with perhaps only chairs for the interview participants. Wall furnishings should be limited to perhaps a calendar to minimize distractions. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Physical factors influence mental activity. Smoking, the use of drugs, (legal and illegal), alcohol, coffee or tea with caffeine, and food may dramatically affect the interviewee. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Health, age and stamina also must be considered. The detective investigator must decide whether to permit smoking or drinking during the interview, whether and when to take breaks, and whether food will be permitted. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. Offering a witness a cup of coffee at the outset of an interview, a seemingly innocuous courtesy, sends a definite message that the interview is likely to be run in an informal and friendly manner. The absence of such a cue may send a contrary message. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
DETERMINE NUMBER AND ROLES OF INTERVIEWERS: Whenever possible two investigators should conduct an interview. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. There are a number of reasons for following this rule, and when a second trained investigator is not available, another trustworthy person may be used as a stand-in. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Using two interviewers allows one to concentrate on asking questions and observing body language, while the other takes notes and reviews the outline to ensure nothing is skipped. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. The note taker can also provide periodic summaries mid-interview, and a concluding summary at the end, to ensure accuracy. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
Using two interviewers will minimize the likelihood that the detective investigator and the interviewee will disagree as to what happened during the interview after it is completed, and make it more likely that any disagreement that does arise will be resolved in favor of the detective investigator. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach. This is especially important when the interviews take place in remote locations, and when the detective investigator and the interviewee are of the opposite sex. When the detective investigator must travel and the budget is limited, consider using personnel from another local IG, command evaluation, or legal office as stand-ins. Detective Investigator Miami Beach South Beach.
When two detective investigators are available, one assumes the role of the primary interviewer (generally the responsible case agent) and takes the major role in the interview. The primary interviewer makes the introductions, states the purpose, establishes rapport, and asks the first series of questions. The primary interviewer is responsible for setting the tone of the interview, setting the parameters (if any), initiating the interview and observing the interviewee via all modes of communication. The primary also ensures that secondary interviewers know exactly what is required of them.
It is an accepted rule that the primary and secondary interviewers DO NOT interrupt each other. This rule will allow each detective investigator to plan his or her own strategy and employ that strategy throughout the interview. The detective investigators may decide to switch roles as topics change, or at other logical breakpoints. This allows the detective investigators to display different personalities to the interviewee, in order to develop the most information from each interviewee.
Phases Of The Interview: The interview may be divided into several phases or segments, each with its own purpose.
The following phases are discussed below: introduction; establishing rapport; questioning for information; summarization for accuracy; and closing.
Phase one starts with a three-part introduction. Investigators should introduce themselves and identify the office they represent. To establish credibility and introduce an air of formality, the investigators should produce their credentials. If an informal atmosphere is desired, credentials need not be shown unless requested. Second, where appropriate, identify the interviewee. Third, one investigator should explain why they want to talk to the interviewee. Almost everyone experiences apprehension when the meaning of an interview is not clear to them, so investigators should address this at the start of the interview. The third part of the introduction should include a clear statement of the purpose for the interview. The statement need not, indeed usually should not, reveal detailed facts of the case developed to date. Rather, it provides interviewees an overview of what is to come. The statement of purpose should provide a reason for cooperation that leads interviewees to believe they will benefit from their cooperation. For example, if interviewees know the purpose is to learn what they know about an incident, one benefit of cooperation could be that they may be eliminated from suspicion of wrongdoing.
The second phase of the interview is rapport. There is little chance of a successful interview unless the interviewee can be induced to talk. Most people resist giving information to strangers; therefore, interviewers must attempt to establish a sincere and trusting attitude with interviewees to enlist their full cooperation. Rapport is a process and the effort should continue throughout the interview. Furthermore, the effort must appear to be genuine and not affected, or it will be counterproductive.
Rapport offers investigators the opportunity to find out what is important to the interviewee, enabling them to determine the most effective interviewing and questioning strategies or styles. It may be nothing more than a handshake, smile, professional demeanor, or the way the purpose of the interview is explained. Establishing rapport may require a more involved discussion of some matter that is important to the interviewee. Rapport includes words, tone, inflection, gestures, facial expression, stance, etc. Rapport conditions the interviewee to talk to the investigators and establishes a secondary, non-verbal method of communication.
The fourth phase, summarization, allows the detective investigator to summarize the salient parts of the interview to ensure continuity and accuracy. Often the interviewer will clarify or add to the information provided earlier in the interview. The summary is an important part of the interview, especially in the one interviewer interview, because it provides both parties an opportunity to ensure the investigator has recorded all pertinent information accurately. In the two-person interview, the secondary interviewer usually summarizes from notes just taken and may ask any questions not asked by the primary interviewer. The fifth and final phase of the interview is the closing.
The close is the continuation of the effort to create rapport and an atmosphere that will ensure the door is left open for future contact. Investigators should thank interviewees for their cooperation or express empathy for lack of cooperation. They should reassure interviewees about any concerns they may have raised regarding the interview or information provided. In this final phase, investigators should give interviewees the opportunity to provide information concerning matters not specifically covered during the interview and ensure they know how to contact investigators should they remember or obtain any additional information. Investigators should also obtain any other identifying data required; including how and when to contact interviewees again should it become necessary.
Use Active Listening: Active listening is the most important interviewing skills. It is a good technique for improving communication skills in any context, but it is critical for interviewing, because the investigator does not always have the opportunity to re-interview key witnesses. Active listening is much more than simply concentrating on what the other person is saying, because it requires investigators to test the accuracy of their own perceptions constantly.
Active listening begins by putting interviewees at ease and letting them know what they say is important. This is accomplished by minimizing the investigator's own talking while reacting positively to interviewee comments..Head nods, body language that suggests interest, brief statements like "yes," "I see," "go on," etc. let interviewees know the investigators understand what they are saying and consider it important. This encourages them to keep talking. Questioning should be used for clarification and feedback. Paraphrasing, or putting into your own words what the other person seems to be communicating to you, is the central skill in active listening. This technique enables interviewees to know whether or not their point is getting through, or whether the detective investigators have misunderstood and need further explanation. It minimizes the potential for the interviewee to take exception to the investigator's subsequent report of the interview.
Investigators must remember that most interviewees have not developed the skill of active listening, and may misinterpret what they are being asked, even when the question is skillfully phrased. Consequently, interviewees often give an answer that does not respond to the question. Unfortunately, investigators who are not good active listeners do not realize that they never got an answer to their question until they try to write a report of the interview. Nonresponsive answers can be important and useful, because they may reveal what the interviewee is really concerned about and provide a useful basis for follow-up questions. However, the detective investigator must also be sure to get the answer to the question.
To be able to paraphrase effectively, the detective investigator must keep an open mind and avoid making assumptions or judgments, both of which are distracting. Active listening tests the detective investigator's own ability to perceive accurately, and demonstrates that the investigator must share in the responsibility for the communication. The proper interpretation of an interviewee's body language is an important part of the skill of active listening and is another reason why, when possible, two people should conduct interviews. While one takes notes, the other concentrates on watching the interviewee to ensure the interviewee's body language (non-verbal communication) is consistent with what the interviewee is saying. Body language may reveal that a verbal denial is really a silent admission.
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