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Dignity & Respect

One of the teaching blocks of our three day interview & interrogation class is a component covering gender and cultural differences. How do we deal with interviews involving subjects of the opposite sex or from a different culture? How can we brush up on these differences so as to avoid making a faux pas that has disastrous consequences? The long answer involves a lot of outside reading, study, and practice. The short answer is much simpler – treat people with dignity and respect.

While it would be ideal to arm ourselves with as much information as possible about gender and cultural differences, it’s not always practical. The one thing that is universally understood is treating someone with dignity and respect. This means using a tone of voice and demeanor that reflects an abundant awareness that you are dealing with another human being. Remembering to smile, using a polite tone of voice, and extending common courtesies are all part of bridging gaps between gender and culture. And doing so also helps compensate for any failures on our part to inadvertently recognize these differences.

For example, let’s say I arrive at the home of a family whose culture requires that I remove my shoes before entering the household. When I approach the front door and see a porch full of shoes, that should be my first clue as to how things roll in this house. If I’m a patrol officer, I’m certainly not going to be able to remove my duty boots before entering the house, but I can exhibit a modicum of respect by talking to the home owner about this. I could explain, from the porch, that I’m not able to remove my boots and do not want to disrespect the practice in her home. I can ask the home owner if she would prefer to speak to me outside or whether it’s ok to enter with my shoes on? By simply asking the question, I’m showing my awareness and treating the home owner with the dignity and respect her customs deserve.

The different types of these situations we can find ourselves in are countless. Just remember to stop, consider your response, and to use a tone and demeanor that indicates you wish to be respectful. Most people will make great allowances if they sense we are genuine, sincere, and respectful.

  • The information that they have presented is highly relevant to my job, and was presented in a manner that was highly organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • Your class gave me the confidence and tools to interview the suspect for over 5 hours and to bring a closure to the case.

    —Daniel Phelan, San Jose Police Department
  • ...Provides useful tools necessary for assessing the veracity of a suspected child abuser, which goes a long way in helping to protect children.

    —Sunny Burgan, MSSW, LCSW, Social Work Supervisor, Santa Clara County DFCS
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch Police Department
  • Your instructional style is engaging and your tag-team style is highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend the Interview and Interrogation training presented by Paul Francois and Enrique Garcia.

    —Todd Almason, Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office
  • You two are an effective teaching team, and your presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda
  • I highly recommend this training for any Probation staff who have the necessity to interview/interrogate individuals for investigation purposes.

    —R. Bret Fidler, Santa Clara County Probation Department
  • Your class has made the greatest and most direct impact on my assignment of any training class that I've taken.

    —Ken Gelskey, National City Police Department
  • I will continue to use and pass on this information because I really believe in the instructors and their approach.

    —Kimberly Meyer, Washoe County Sheriff's Department