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Art of Questioning

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The organizational needs of a police agency are constantly changing all the time (Dantzker, 1999). This is especially due to the changing forms of crime in society an agency may be situated. Hence, all angles should be explored considering possible situations in that society. The suspect that happens to be the live-in boyfriend has acted in such a manner as to warrant further investigations into his involvement in the crime. This conclusion was arrived at due to the following actionable factors.

He initially refused to let his girlfriend, the mother of the missing child, speak to the interviewing officer alone. This shows that he did not want the mother to share information with an officer in his absence. At best, she might have known some random factors relevant to the case but had not pieced them together. A police detective would have made sense of it and come up with incriminating evidence against him. On the other hand, she may have had intimate knowledge on details of the crime involving him, and he did not want her to reveal it to an officer. Considering the fact that interrogators, especially in the American police, may become too zealously committed to the belief a suspect is guilty, one should give him the benefit of the doubt (Ofshe & Leo, 1997). However, he acted to prevent a possible witness from giving information to the police that might have helped in the investigation. That already counts as obstruction of justice because the witness could supply evidence to the authorities.

His reluctance to cooperate with the interrogating officer: this is typical of criminals that want to hide any knowledge of their involvement in a crime. They will avoid law enforcement at all costs. Their human instinct forces them to run away from any involvement, which in this case could lead to being imprisoned. His actions definitely betrayed a need to avoid law enforcement officers at all costs. It is no secret that people often avoid police interrogations, even though the police maintenance for a secure environment may decrease instances of crime (Acosta, 2006). They fear they will use aggressive third degree techniques to make a person confess to a crime regardless of their innocence or guilt. However, this does not occur during initial questioning, in fact, accusatory interrogation is only permitted when there is sufficient evidence. People have come to know this through continued interaction in police situations, why then would someone have something to hide so early in the investigation. Similarly, the person is in a precarious position because they are a likely to be a potential suspect candidate on the premise of the situation and possible motive.

The suspect was decidedly nervous and uneasy during the interview process: during the interview process, the suspect had a defensive attitude, which would lead the interviewer to conclude that the person had something to hide. He was also particularly interested in what the other interviewees had to tell the interviewer, especially when it came to the mother of the victim. The usual problems in interviews or interrogations, especially in the United States, are false confessions. Coerced and volunteered confessions are the bulk of these, the latter may be in the interest of a third party.  In the case in question, this was definitely not the problem. In similar cases, someone close to the family is the likely perpetrator. If not, then a member of the family has significant knowledge of the events that led up to the crime. In a normal incident like this, everyone in the family of the victim is usually quite ready to help the authorities in their investigation if they are innocent.

How do I plan to overcome any reluctance when it comes to cooperation in the investigation? The logical thing to do would be to reassure the family members they are not undergoing a witch-hunt to uncover a perpetrator in their midst. This gives them a reason to gang-up and perceive the police as attackers. One should make them comfortable with the idea of a police investigation, which will require their assistance. The family members will be easier to interact with, which will make them less capable of hiding valuable information pertaining to the investigation. If the diplomatic approach does not work, it may be necessary to secure pertinent suspects to the case. In this case the mother is more likely to disclose information if her boyfriend is not in the vicinity. She should also be assured of her protection if she had incriminating evidence against him. This can be achieved by enforcing a witness protection program and assuring her that it works in witness’ best interests.

Utilization of open or close-ended questions and reasons: open questioning mean asking questions that require the interviewee to answer them in their own words. Closed questioning on the other hand refers to asking questions with preset possible responses from the interviewee, for example in the form of YES or NO (Ofshe and Leo, 1997). In this incident, open questioning is the most preferable close questioning eliminates the possibility of probing deeper during the questioning. Secondly, closed questions reduce the chances of reading between the lines in the suspect’s responses. Therefore, it makes open questioning advantageous in that the interviewing officer uses them to assess the way the suspect answers questions rather than giving them options that makes it hard to catch them in a lie. Finally, open questioning allows the interviewing officer to make notes as the questioning proceeds. In contrast, it is practically impossible to make take meaningful notes out of YES or NO responses. In conclusion, it makes sense at some point, to employ closed questioning to get answers to specific questions. Thus the use of both open and closed questioning would paramount in ensuring exclusive interview process.

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