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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75586 Find in a Library
Title: Subtle Art of Persuasion
Journal: Police Magazine  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:6-16
Author(s): W Hart
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The legal and psychological subleties of modern police interrogation techniques in view of the Miranda decision are contrasted with the simpler and more coercive methods of the past by detailing the methods of expert interrogators in various police departments.
Abstract: The change in police interrogation techniques mandated by the Miranda decision has resulted in redoubled efforts by police agencies to build cases through training police interrogators in psychological techniques, which have generally displaced the physical approaches of earlier times. However, many interrogations often require a rare mixture of subtle skills and personal self-control in an exhausting contest of wills with the suspect. Police agency efforts to train their officers in the legal and psychological skills of modern interrogation are exemplified by the training programs of the FBI Training Academy at Quantico, Va., where FBI agents are given a 55-hour course that includes films and slides covering the opening and closing phases of an interview, preparation for and evaluation of interviews, criminal law and procedure, role playing sessions, and training in both verbal and nonverbal communication. However, interrogation at its best is more an art than a science. Experienced police interrogators interviewed to determine the causes of their success agreed that successful interrogation demands careful preparation, deep reserves of patience and self-control, a show of sympathy -- genuine or not -- for the suspect, a nonjudgmental approach to even the most outrageous offenses, and an ability to instill trust in the suspect. On the other hand, they differed over whether interrogators should bluff suspects and lie to them, whether single interrogators or two-person teams are preferable, and when and how tape recording and note taking should be used. No references are given.
Index Term(s): Coercive persuasion of offenders; Criminal investigation; Evidence collection; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Interview and interrogation; Miranda rights; Police legal limitations; Psychological evaluation; Suspect interrogation
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