Begin Main Content Area

​Questioning Techniques (3.75 Hours)

Course Number: CR-553
Course Length: 3 Days or 4 Separate Blocks

Classes are available on a limited basis.

The interviewing series consists of four complete days of instruction in the art and science of gathering accurate and more complete information from persons by means of oral interviews and assessing non-verbal communication. This involves oral interaction, interpretation of non-verbal behaviors, and assessment of deception. This process is discussed from the standpoint of various interviewing situations including mere encounters, traffic stops, vehicle collision investigations, interviews of victims and witnesses, interventional interviews, and interrogations of criminal suspects. Beginning with Interviewing I, and progressing through Interviewing IV, the participant explores the alternatives available for obtaining information from those who wish to furnish assistance, as well as those who attempt to conceal information. Each successive workshop builds on the preceding one, but is complete by itself. Through the use of videos, demonstrations, and classroom exercises, participants learn how to prepare for interviews, assess subjects, and conduct routine and formal interviews. Participants review and assess actual interviews and critique them for proper application of strategy and tactics. Interviewing methods introduced are discussed within the range of routine interviews to the interrogation of a suspect in custody.

Interviewing II: Employment of Strategy and Tactics in Questioning has several distinct sections of discussion. This workshop begins with the principles and suggested practices of facility enhancement – general interview, victim interview, witness report, or arrested suspect’s statement. Where you interview, and under what conditions you interview, affects the outcome. The workshop makes specific suggestions for improvement of any facility used to conduct interviews, with an emphasis on selecting the best available location and working to enhance its contribution to a successful interview. Next, participants learn how to make the initial assessment of each subject, and how to determine the approach that will maximize the quantity and quality of information obtained. By avoiding both qualitative and confirmatory feedback, the questioning process becomes more productive. The types and uses of various questioning techniques are discussed, along with the types of denials expected from suspects and non-suspects alike. Handling denials and using the process of conversation management lead to a more progressive questioning technique. Backgrounding, active listening, the formation of questions in different forms, and verbal probing techniques are discussed. Content includes active listening techniques, common listening errors, the proper technique to obtain descriptions of persons and items of interest, developing baselines for determining honesty, handling denials, using rationalizations, making progressive accusations, and handling a stalemate. The primary thrust of this workshop is to expose each participant to the potential utility of different questioning techniques, how to obtain more detailed information in compliant subjects, and how to progress beyond denials in non-compliant subjects. Exercises include obtaining improved physical descriptions from victims and witnesses, assessing victim and witness accuracy in perception, and analyzing different questioning techniques.