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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93547 Find in a Library
Title: Techniques of an Interview
Author(s): M R Herzog; J H Hausch; R Coleman; R Lewis; C Hebbring; M Johnson; S Crine; S Elliott
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Conducting an effective interview in connection with an arson investigation depends upon using appropriate interview techniques, the interviewer's qualities and traits, and conformity to Miranda requirements.
Abstract: One technique for interviewing involves stimulating the conversation, which can be done by asking brief questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer. A second technique is to guide the conversation into the proper channels so as to obtain complete and detailed information on subjects in which the interviewer is interested. A third aspect of interviewing is corroborating the information furnished by the witness. Complete corroboration depends on getting the information in a form that permits corroboration by others. When interviewing juveniles, investigators should know and apply the local and State laws regarding their questioning. The qualities and traits of a successful interviewer include neatness of dress; cleanliness in personal hygiene; an outgoing personality; a leadership posture; intelligence; an understanding of the basics of psychology to permit analysis of the interviewee; and the ability to fein anger, sympathy, understanding, or other emotions designed to elicit the desired response from the interviewee. Above all else, the successful interviewer must be tactful and be a good listener. To ensure conformity to the legal requirements for an interview, Miranda rights should be stated to the interviewee and assent to the interview given. In the case of civil or insurance investigators, the interviewer is not restricted by Miranda or any other legal obstacle in asking questions. The first interview should usually be at the fire scene, and the second interview should be conducted after the investigator has progressed in the origin-and-cause investigation and has spoken with firefighters and neighbors. The second interview should not be conducted at the subject's workplace home but at a place where the interviewer has control of the interview. Five footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Arson investigations; Interrogation procedures; Interview and interrogation; Miranda rights
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