Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Obtaining Information
Three Primary Sources of
1. Reports, records and
databases, including
those found on the
2. People who are not
suspects in a crime,
but know something
about the crime or
those involved
3. Suspects in the
Reports, Records, and Databases
• Local Resources: records and reports of
your police department
• Caller ID
• All Phone Records
• All State Information Sources, such as
State Police, Department of Corrections
and Motor Vehicles, Parole Commission,
and State Liquor Authority.
Federal Sources of Information
National Crime Information Center
U.S. Post Office
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Social Security Administration
People with Information
• Complainant – a person who requests that some
action be taken
• Witness – a person who saw a crime or some
part of a crime being committed
• Victim – a person injured by a crime
• Suspect – a person considered to be directly, or
indirectly connected with a crime
• Informant – anyone who can provide
information about a case but who is not a
complainant, witness, victim, or suspect
Interview and Interrogation
• Interview – a process of obtaining
information from people who have
knowledge that might be helpful in a
criminal investigation.
• Interrogation – a conversation between an
investigator and a suspect that is designed
to match acquired information to the
suspect and secure a confession.
Characteristics of an Effective
Culturally Adroit
Sensitive to Individual Rights
Knowledgeable of the Elements of Crimes
The Interview
Plan the interview in advance
Select the time and place
Begin the Interview
Establish Rapport
Network the Interview
Interviewing Techniques
Listen and Observe
Direct Questions
Indirect Questions
Reluctant Interviewees
• Logical Approach: based on Reason
• Emotional Approach: addresses such
negative feelings as hate, anger, greed,
revenge, pride, and jealousy
Cognitive Interview
Tries to get the interviewee to recall the
scene mentally by using mnemonic
techniques aimed at encouraging focused
Open-ended narration
Probing memory codes
Enhancing Communication
• Prepare for each interview in advance if
time permits
• Obtain your information as soon after the
incident as possible
• Be considerate of suspect’s feelings
• Be friendly. Try to establish rapport
• Use a private setting if possible
• Eliminate physical barriers
Enhancing Communication
Sit rather than stand
Encourage conversation
Ask simple questions
Ask one question at a time
Listen to what is said and how it is said
Watch for indications of tension,
nervousness, surprise, embarrassment,
anger, fear, or guilt
Emotional Barriers to
• Attitudes– the ingrained attitude that telling the
truth to the police is wrong
• Prejudices – concerning a person race, beliefs,
religion, amount of education, and economic
• Fear – witnesses fear that criminals will harm
them or their family
• Anger
• Self-preservation
The Fifth Amendment
• … no person shall be compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against
Miranda Warning
Suspects must be informed of their right
1. To remain silent
2. To have an attorney present
3. To have an appointed attorney if they cannot
afford one
4. That anything they say may be used against
them in court
Miranda applies when the suspect is being
questioned and is in custody
Waiving Miranda
• A suspect can waive the rights granted by
Miranda, but must do so intelligently and
• A waiver is accompanied by a written or
witnessed oral statement that the waiver
was voluntary.
• Silence in itself is not a waiver.
Other Miranda-type Decisions
Edwards v. Arizona
U.S. v. Dockery
Minnesota v. Murphy
Berkemer v. McCarty
Illinois v. Perkins
Other Important Cases
• N.Y. v. Quarles
• Brewer v. Williams
• Nix v. Williams
Approaches to Interrogation
Inquiring directly or indirectly
Forcing responses
Deflating or inflating the ego
Minimizing or maximizing the crime
Projecting the blame