Subject Interview Considerations
The use of the introductory statement style of interviewing, as taught by Wicklander-Zulawski, is designed to elicit signs of guilt from the suspect early in the interview. One of the benefits to this type of interview is that it allows the investigator to evaluate the subject’s behavior before making any accusations and committing oneself to an interrogation. In this interview style the subject has little opportunity to participate in the early part of the conversation.
During the process the interviewer covers several specific topics:
- Who we are and what we do. The interviewer describes his role within the organization or agency and briefly explains the core values and goals of the organization. The interviewer stresses how their job is to protect the citizens or employees. While not spoken the interviewer implies that the subject is also deserving of that protection.
- Different types of crime. The interviewer explains that part of his or her job is to investigate different types of crime or violations. The interviewer lists several types of offenses, including the one the subject is suspected of involvement in. This mention of a specific type of offence, is generally preceded by a phrase to minimize the seriousness, and occurs with a brief pause and eye contact.
- How we investigate. The investigator goes on to describe the variety of investigative tools at their disposal. Specifically, several investigative techniques that could have lead to the identification of the subject are discussed.
These three points are designed to cause a guilty suspect to react involuntarily. This gives the interviewer the opportunity to assess the subject’s reactions to the crime under discussion. If at this point the investigator has not detected any indication that the subject is guilty they can continue on with interview questions and never make an accusation. If, however, the suspect has demonstrated signs of guilt the interviewer begins to offer rationalizations and reasons for the person’s actions that will ultimately lead to an accusation.
The subject’s admission represents an important step in the interview process. It may lead to a breakthrough in your investigation and interview process. The subject may case to deny taking part in the activity. It is important for the interviewer to move the subject beyond an admission to an actual confession.
- They will be guarded and may not cooperate
- Don’t disclose too much to soon
- Consider Weingarten if you have union employees
Subject Interview Questions
- What is your personal perception of the work environment?
- How do you feel about employee “X”?
- Has he or she ever done anything to offend you? How did that make you feel?
- Do you feel the workplace is safe?
- What was the last interaction you had with the person?
- An allegation has been made against you involving employee “X” and I need you to help me understand what happened.
- “Help me to understand why there are several witnesses that have confirmed your involvement, yet you say this never happened? “
- “If you didn’t do this, what motive would someone have to file a false report against you?”
- To utilize Interview Techniques
- To document the date and time of any reported incidents.
Results of the Investigation
What do I do if the results were inconclusive?
- Word against Word
- No witnesses
- Harassment or Bullying Behavior
- No apparent tangible evidence
- Compare statements
- Look for discrepancies & Consistencies
- Don’t dismiss rumors
- Witness’ bias or lack of bias Consider other options
- Employee records
- Employee email and instant messages
- Internet Usage
- Documents on hard drive
- Office phone/cellular records
- Analyze date and time on computer systems
- Swipe card access
- Public Records (Circuit Clerk)
Depending on personal preference and the situation interviewers will choose to use the interview style that is most comfortable. Regardless of the style chosen the goal of the interrogation is the same: to obtain a confession, legally and ethically, that will stand up to scrutiny in court. To accomplish this, interviewers will use many of the same tools, despite their different choices, or combinations, of interview styles.