l>Sample lesson Plan: Interviewing, Eyewitness Evidence: A Trainer"s hands-on for law Enforcement
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Table of Contents

Section III. Measures for Interviewing theWitness by the Followup Investigator

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A. Preinterview Preparations and also Decisions

Principle: Preparing for an interview maximizes the effectiveness ofwitness participation and also interviewer efficiency.

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Policy: The investigator should review all obtainable witness and caseinformation and also arrange one efficient and also effective interview.

Procedure: Prior to conducting the interview, the investigator should?

Review easily accessible information.

This info may include police reports and also crime sceneinformation. It is essential for the interviewer to have all informationrelevant to the instance prior to conducting the interview sothat the interview have the right to be tailored to elicit the maximum amountof details from the witness.

Plan to command the interview as soon as the witness is physicallyand emotionally capable.

Once the evil is capable, any hold-up in conducting the interviewshould be reduced as there will certainly be less thorough informationavailable together time walk on.
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Select an setting that minimizes distractions while maintainingthe lull level that the witness.

Distractions will certainly interrupt the witness?s storage retrieval. Avoidinterviewing the angry in an atmosphere where distractionsare an ext likely to occur, such together a location of business. This shouldbe determined with the witness to accommodate his/her scheduleand needs.

Ensure resources are easily accessible (e.g., notepad, ice recorder,camcorder, interview room).

Secure this items prior to the interview for this reason the interview will notbe interrupted.
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Separate the witnesses.

Independent angry statements deserve to be offered as corroboration/confirmation. Witnesses must not listen others? statementsbecause they might be influenced by that information.
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Determine the nature that the witness?s prior law enforcement contact.

Prior legislation enforcement call may encompass an arrest record,prior victimization, warrants, or any kind of relationship to/with lawenforcement personnel. This details can aid put any kind of informationobtained indigenous the witness into context for the function ofassessing angry credibility and/or reliability. It additionally can assistlater in rapport development.

Summary: Performing the above preinterview preparations will certainly enablethe investigator come elicit a greater amount of accurate information duringthe interview, which may be critical to the investigation.

IMPORTANT:Clarify the this procedureinvolves generallaw enforcementcontact, not contactrelated to this case.The objective of this procedureis to evaluate thewitness?s credibility.
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B. Early (Preinterview) contact With the Witness

Principle: A comfortable witness provides more information.

Policy: Investigators must conduct themselves in a path conduciveto eliciting the most information from the witness.

Procedure: ~ above meeting through the witness yet prior to start theinterview, the investigator should?

Develop rapport v the witness.

The advancement of rapport in between the witness and interviewerwill do the witness an ext comfortable throughout the interview process.Comfortable witnesses will generally provide an ext information.In the course of developing rapport through the witness, theinterviewer can learn around the witness?s communication style(e.g., just how the witness explains everyday occasions as comparedwith how the witness describes the incident). Because that example, if thewitness appears nervous during the rapport development phase,the interviewer must not necessarily translate nervous responsesto later on questions together being fabrications.
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Inquire about the nature that the witness?s prior law enforcementcontact regarded the incident.

Prior regulation enforcement call related come the event includesinterviews by other police officers at the scene, joining in a showupand v whom, and also so forth. This information can help putthe witness?s comments into context. Execute not ask around priorcriminal record at this time. The interviewer need to ask the witnessif he/she has heard any kind of other accounts of the event (e.g.,through the media, from various other witnesses).
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IMPORTANT:Clarify the this procedureinvolves contactrelated come witnessingthe incident. Carry out notask the angry abouthis/her criminal record(this kind of informationshould have beenobtained during preparationfor the interview).

Volunteer no certain information around the suspect or case.

Telling witnesses facts about the doubt or instance may influencetheir memory of the incident. The interviewer have to ensure thatinformation indigenous the witness is based just on the witness?s memoryand not on any information gleaned indigenous the interviewer.

Summary: creating a cooperative relationship through the witnesslikely will result in one interview that returns a better amount of accurateinformation.

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C. Conducting the Interview

The adhering to is a summary of the order in i m sorry interviewing conceptsshould it is in instructed because that maximum benefit. These ideas are morethoroughly disputed in Memory enhancing Techniques for InvestigativeInterviewing (Fisher and Geiselman, 1992) (see additional Reading). Afterthese principles are explained, the 12 most vital procedural pointsare provided as they show up in the Guide.

There room four simple principles the interviewing participating witnesses:

Social dynamics between the interviewer and also witness.
Facilitation of the witness?s memory and thinking.
Communication in between the interviewer and also witness.
Sequence the the interview.
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Play Audio cut 3 andAudio reduced 4 (examples of twocontrasting interviewtechniques):Ask students come hypothesizeas to why one setof methods worksbetter than the other.
IMPORTANT:Explain the 4 basicprinciples the interviewingand why they areessential. Provideexamples of how theassociated procedurescan affect the informationobtained.

Social Dynamics between the Interviewer and Witness

Two purposes are vital to establishing suitable social dynamics:

Maintain or reestablish rapport with the witness.
Encourage the evil to actively and voluntarily report information,rather than passively respond come the interviewer?squestions.

Establishing rapport

When seek to acquire information that a an individual or intimate naturefrom a witness, developing a personal relationship v the witnessgains his/her trust. Rapport breakthrough will assist the witness come feelmore comfortable conveying an individual information. It deserve to be accomplishedby personalizing the interview and also by developing and communicatingempathy.

Show understanding and also concern. This deserve to be accomplished byasking about the witness?s health, empathizing through the witness?ssituation, avoiding judgmental comments, and establishing commonground through the witness.
Personalize the interview. The interviewer must treat the witnessas one individual and also not together a only statistic. This can beaccomplished by avoiding pre-memorized inquiries that soundprogrammed or synthetic (e.g., ?Is over there anything you deserve to tell methat would more assist this investigation??) and also referring to thewitness by his/her name.
Listen actively. The interviewer should ask interactive questionsthat follow up ~ above the witness?s previous responses, repeat witness?sconcerns, skinny forward, and also make eye contact.

Active generation the information

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IMPORTANT:The followinginformation top top the fourprinciples need to beconveyed or readto the class. Includeexamples that space supportedby audio cuts.

The witness must be motivated to volunteer details withoutprompting.* due to the fact that the witness, fairly than the interviewer, possessesthe appropriate information, the witness should be mentally active duringthe interview and generate information, as opposed to being passiveand waiting until the interviewer asks the appropriate question beforeanswering. The interviewer deserve to encourage the angry to be mentallyactive by directly requesting this task or by questioning open-endedquestions. An open-ended question permits for one unlimited, narrativeresponse from the witness (e.g., ?What deserve to you call me around the perpetrator??).**The interviewer need to avoid interrupting the witness?sanswer to an open-ended question.***

Encouraging the witness to actively generate information have the right to beaccomplished by?

Stating expectations. This is important due to the fact that witnesses may notknow what to expect or may have incorrect expectations of theirrole in the interview. The interviewer need to state explicitly thatthe witness is meant to volunteer information.
Asking open-ended questions. These questions permit the witnessto do many of the talking throughout the interview and also can make thewitness feel an ext in control.
Avoiding interruptions. Interrupting the witness throughout his/heranswer uniform the witness from play an active function anddisrupts his/her memory. Rather than interrupt, the interviewershould do a note and follow up in ~ a later time with any type of questionsthat arise during a witness?s narration.
Play Audio cut 5*,Audio reduced 6**, and Audio reduced 7***(examples the poortechnique)

Allowing pauses. That is vital to allow for pauses ~ the witnessstops speaking and before continuing to the next question.These periods of silence allow the evil to collection his/herthoughts and continue responding, thereby providing a greateramount that information.
Play Audio cut 8(example that goodtechnique)Conduct role-playingexercises focusing onsocial dynamics andget feedback.

Facilitation that the Witness?s Memory and Thinking

Much of the information about the occurrence is save on computer in the witness?smind. For the witness come remember these events, he/she should concentrateand search v memory efficiently. The interviewer can promoteinformation retrieval in several ways:

Minimize distractions. The interviewer should ensure the physicaldistractions, such as noise or the visibility of various other persons,are minimized. In addition, the interviewer have the right to encourage the witnessto block the end these distractions by closing his/her eye andconcentrating top top the memory.
Encourage the witness come mentally recreate the incident. Theinterviewer have the right to promote the witness?s efficient recollectionof the incident by instructing the witness come mentally recreatethe circumstances bordering the event (e.g., think abouthis/her thoughts or feeling at the moment of the incident).
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Tailor inquiries to the witness?s narrative. Since the evil isthe resource of information, the interviewer?s concerns shouldbe tailored come the witness?s current thoughts and narrative. Forexample, if the evil is thinking or talking about the perpetrator?sface, the questions need to be around the face and also notabout other facets of the incident, such together a patent plate.*The interviewer should shot to understand what aspect of the incidentthe evil is thinking about. Based upon this inference, theinterviewer have to ask an open-ended question around that topicand climate follow up v nonleading, closed-ended concerns relatedto that topic. A closed-ended concern is details and limitsthe witness?s response to one or 2 words (e.g., ?How high washe??). When asking closed-ended questions, the interviewer mustensure that the inquiries are nonleading. A leading concern suggestsan answer to the witness (e.g., ?Was his hair blond??).
Play Audio reduced 9*(example the poortechnique)Conduct role-playingexercises focusingon facilitation of thewitness?s memoryand thinking and getfeedback.

Communication between the Interviewer and Witness

The interviewer has actually investigative demands to settle the crime and also thewitness possesses appropriate knowledge around the details the the crime.Both people need to communicate to each other this information.Otherwise, information may no be totally or successfully reported.The interviewer have to convey investigative demands (i.e., the types ofinformation he/she is looking for) come the witness. The investigator needsthe witness to report the occasion in more detail than would certainly be conveyedin normal conversation. The investigator should describe this need fordetail to the witness come ensure the evil is completely aware of how to providethe description.

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Witnesses may have a very great memory that the incident yet fail to communicatethe knowledge effectively. Therefore, the interviewer shouldtry come facilitate the witness?s switch of storage into efficient communication.This deserve to be completed by encouraging nonverbalresponses (e.g., drawings, gestures) come supplement linguistic descriptionsas appropriate. The interviewer should likewise encourage the evil toreport every information and not edit his/her thoughts. However, the witnessshould it is in cautioned no to guess simply to please the interviewer.It is preferable that the evil state, ?I don?t know,? or show thathe/she is uncertain around a provided answer.

Conduct role-playingexercises concentrating oncommunication andget feedback.

Sequence of the Interview

To be effective in obtaining the maximum amount of info from awitness, the interview need to be performed in stages. The framework ofthe interview is very first designed to calm the witness and also gain his/her trust.The interview should proceed with basic instructions provided by theinterviewer, followed by the witness?s narrative, and then relevant, probingquestions by the interviewer. (Note: Ideally, info should begathered using mostly open-ended questions. More specific, closed-endedquestions must be offered only when the witness stops working to administer aclear or complete response.) The interview is then closed, leave linesof communication open in between the interviewer and also witness.

The complying with is an example of a sequence to conduct the interview:

effort to minimize the witness?s anxiety. Establish and maintain rapport. Encourage the witness to take an active role in the interview. Request a ?free narrative? description of the incident. Ask the witness to mentally recreate the situations of theincident. Ask followup concerns to elicit added information regarded thewitness?s narration. Review your notes and also other materials. Questioning the witness, ?Is there anything else ns should have actually asked you?? near the interview.
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To review, the course structure need to be based upon the ideas describedabove and follow the outline: society Dynamics, Memory/Thinking, Communication,and Sequence. In ~ the end of each of the 4 sections,role-playing exercises must be conducted. Following are the an essential interviewingprocedures together they appear in the Guide.

Conduct role-playingexercises or practiceinterviews and getfeedback. Usage civiliansas witnesses whenpossible.

Principle: Interview techniques have the right to facilitate witness storage andencourage interaction both during and following the interview.

Policy: The investigator have to conduct a complete, efficient, and also effectiveinterview the the witness and encourage postinterview communication.

Procedure: throughout the interview, the investigator should?

Encourage the witness to volunteer details without prompting.

This permits the angry to keep an active role in the interview.Unprompted responses often tend to be more accurate than those givenin response to one interviewer?s questioning. Usage a structured format(e.g., fill-in-the-blank form) only after you have gathered asmuch info as possible from open-ended questions.

Encourage the witness come report every details, also if they it seems ~ trivial.

Sometimes the witness may withhold appropriate informationbecause he/she think it is unimportant or out of order. Every informationthe witness provides is important.
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Ask open-ended inquiries (e.g., ?What can you phone call me around thecar??) and also augment through closed-ended, particular questions (e.g.,?What color was the car??).

Open-ended questions permit the witness to play an energetic role,thereby generating a higher amount the unsolicited information.Open-ended responses additionally tend to be an ext accurate and promotemore efficient listening on the component of the interviewer. Theinterviewer likewise is less likely to command the witness when framingquestions in this manner. Ideally, details should be gatheredusing generally open-ended questions. An ext specific, closed-endedquestions must be used only when the witness stops working toprovide a clear or complete response.

Avoid leading concerns (e.g., ?Was the automobile red??).

Leading concerns suggest response and may distort thewitness?s memory.
Show slide 34 >>Reiterate the importanceof usingprimarily open-endedquestions.

Caution the witness no to guess.

Witnesses, an especially child witnesses, might guess in an attemptto please the interviewer. Instruct the witness to state any kind of uncertaintyhe/she may feel worrying an answer.

Ask the witness to mentally recreate the situations of the event(e.g., ?Think about your feelings at the time?).

Recreating the circumstances of the occasion makes storage moreaccessible. Instruct the witness come think around his/her thoughtsand feelings at the time of the incident.

Encourage nonverbal interaction (e.g., drawings, gestures,objects).

Some information have the right to be daunting to express verbally. Witnesses,especially children and also witnesses responding in various other thantheir very first language, may have challenge with verbal expression.Witnesses? recall can be enhanced by encouraging them come drawdiagrams the the crime scene, perpetrator?s scars, and so forth orto use gestures to show actions.
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Avoid interrupting the witness.

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Interrupting the angry during an answer discourages the witnessfrom playing an active role and disrupts his/her memory.Do not immediately continue questioning as soon as a witness pausesafter one answer. Throughout a pause, the witness might be collectinghis/her thoughts and could continue to carry out information, ifprovided ample time.

Encourage the angry to call investigators when additionalinformation is recalled.

Witnesses will frequently remember additional, valuable informationafter the interview. Remind the evil that any kind of information,no matter just how trivial it may seem, is important.
IMPORTANT:Emphasize the usefulnessof allowing?pauses.?

Instruct the witness come avoid stating details the the incident withother potential witnesses.

Witnesses have to not listen others? accounts since they might beinfluenced by the information. The self-reliance of witnesses isimportant because that corroboration the the information they have providedwith other witnesses? statements and other evidence in theinvestigation.

Encourage the witness to avoid call with the media orexposure come media accounts worrying the incident.

Media information may contaminate the witness?s memory. Mediarequests because that a story or uses of compensation may encouragewitnesses come fabricate information.

Thank the witness because that his/her cooperation.

This reinforces the rapport that has been developed and also theinterviewer?s commitment come the witness, encouraging the witnessto proceed to cooperate.
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Summary: information elicited indigenous the witness throughout the interviewmay carry out investigative leads and other vital facts. The aboveinterview steps can enable the angry to provide an accurate,complete summary of the event and also encourage the witness to reportlater recollections. Witnesses generally recall additional informationafter the interview that may be crucial to the investigation.

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D. Recording Witness Recollections

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Principle: The document of the witness?s declaration accurately and completelyreflects all info obtained and also preserves the truth ofthis evidence.

Policy: The investigator should provide complete and accurate documentationof all information acquired from the witness.

Procedure: during or as quickly as reasonably feasible after the interview,the investigator should?

Document the witness?s statements (e.g., audio or video clip recording,stenographer?s documentation, witness?s written statement, writtensummary utilizing witness?s own words).

Documentation is imperative in the instance that the witnesscannot be located later. Usage of the witness?s own words ensuresthat the information is recorded accurately. Additionally, insome jurisdictions, the witness?s statement need to be signed tobe admissible in court.
NOTE:These actions areconducted through thewitness.

Review written documentation; ask the witness if there is anythinghe/she desire to change, add, or emphasize.

This is advantageous for clarifying the information received indigenous thewitness to ensure the information has been tape-recorded accurately.This also provides an extra possibility for witnesses come rememberadditional information.
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Summary: Complete and also accurate documentation that the witness?sstatement supports a effective investigation and also any subsequentcourt proceedings.

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E. Assessing the Accuracy of Individual elements of aWitness?s Statement

Principle: Point-by-point factor to consider of a declare may permit judgmenton which materials of the declare are most accurate. Eachpiece of info recalled by the witness may be mental independentlyof various other elements.

Policy: The investigator have to review the individual facets of thewitness?s statement to identify the accuracy of every point.

Procedure: after ~ conducting the interview, the investigator should?

Consider every individual ingredient of the witness?s statementseparately.

A witness may not have information around all facets of anincident. Thus, part recollections may be correct while othersmay it is in incorrect.
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NOTE:These steps areconducted after theinterview, there is no thewitness.

Review each aspect of the witness?s explain in the paper definition of theentire statement. Look because that inconsistencies in ~ the statement.

Note any kind of inconsistencies for future reference. Also, note that theinconsistency the one aspect with one more does not imply thatthe entire statement is inaccurate.
Show on slide 43 >>Step 2 examines theinternal consistencyof the statement.

Review each facet of the statement in the paper definition of evidenceknown to the investigator from other sources (e.g., various other witnesses?statements, physical evidence).

Note any inconsistencies between the witness?s statement andother information. This inconsistencies have the right to be helpful in assessingthe accuracy of facets of angry statements as well as indirecting the investigation.
step 3 examines theexternal consistencyof the explain asit relates to other informationobtained in thecase investigation.

Summary: Point-by-point factor to consider of the accuracy of each elementof a witness?s statement can assist in concentrating the investigation. Thistechnique prevents the typical misconception that the accuracy the anindividual element of a witness?s summary predicts the accuracy ofanother element.

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F. Maintaining call With the Witness

Principle: The witness might remember and provide extr informationafter the interview has actually concluded.

Policy: The investigator should maintain open communication to allowthe witness come provide additional information.

Procedure: during postinterview, followup contact with the witness,the investigator should?

Reestablish rapport with the witness.

The investigator need to ask the witness about something personalthat complies with up ~ above his/her previous call with the angry (e.g.,?Has your eight healed??). Witnesses will continue to administer informationto investigators through whom they have a consistent positiverelationship.

Ask the angry if he/she has actually recalled any extr information.

This reinforces the idea the the evil is one active part of theinvestigation. Witnesses typically recall added informationfollowing the early interview.
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Follow interviewing and documentation steps in subsections C,Conducting the Interview, and D, recording Witness Recollections.

Go earlier and testimonial this material. (See pages 15?22. Referstudents to overview pages 22?24.)

Provide no details from various other sources.

Witnesses might ask the investigator about information the hasdeveloped because the early stage interview. Providing the angry withspecific information acquired from various other witnesses or from physicalevidence may affect the witness?s late of the incident.

See more: How Long Does It Take To Read A Page Aloud, Giving A Conference Paper

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should other details arise following the early stage interviewthat different from, contradicts, or corroborates info thewitness provided, this information can be clarified v thewitness at this time. However, the investigator can present thatinformation come the witness in a nonleading manner. The investigatorcan provide the witness v neutral information, together asasking if any type of vehicle was present at the time of the incident, NOT?Are you sure there was not a blue Ford in ~ the scene??

Summary: Reestablishing contact and also rapport through the witness oftenleads to restore of additional information. Maintaining open communicationchannels v the witness transparent the investigation have the right to leadto extr evidence.