Interviewing Tips for Patrol Officers

National Police Training
November 8, 2012 — 1,684 views  
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Interviewing Tips for Patrol Officers

A large part of patrol work involves interviewing potential suspects. Patrol officers can greatly improve their interview techniques with the following tips.

Let the Suspect Begin

It is always important to let a suspect begin during the interview process. Ask the suspect for their version of the events. This can help to establish a baseline for later inconsistencies in questioning. It is imperative not to interrupt or ask any questions until the suspect is finished.

Start with Simple Questions

A patrol officer can start with simple questions to help put a suspect at ease. This is a great way to get a suspect comfortable. Many suspects will often confess to crimes when they feel they are in a safe and comfortable environment. This also helps to establish a rapport. A suspect may feel more inclined to confess when he or she feels a bond with the patrol officer.

Read Body Language

Reading body language is one of the most important skills a patrol officer can develop. This understanding will help patrol officers know when to push questions and when to let issues drop. A seasoned patrol officer makes this technique look effortless.

Ask Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions force suspects to explain themselves. Asking simple yes or no questions allows suspects to answer without detail. An open-ended question demands an explanatory answer.


A great interview tip for patrol officers is to bluff. This is often a necessary technique when a confession is required due to lack of hard evidence. Telling a suspect that he or she has been caught in the act on camera is a popular bluffing technique for officers.

Progress to Fast Paced Questions

When a good rapport has been established, and a suspect is feeling comfortable, patrol officers can turn up the heat. Patrol officers can begin asking questions with a quickening pace. This will immediately surprise the suspect. This is a good way to catch a suspect in a lie. He or she will not be prepared for the bombardment of questions.

Let the Suspect Sit for a While

A final interview tip for patrol officers is to let their suspects sit for a while. Leaving a suspect alone in a room for a half hour can greatly increase the chances of getting a confession. This allows the suspect time to think about his or her actions. The suspect will grow nervous, and be much more willing to confess.


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