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No Time Constraint = Successful Interview


The number one reason why investigators fail to get the truth from people during interviews is because they get discouraged and give up. Most interviews end in 30 minutes or less; few rarely last even an hour. The fact is that it takes 30-60 minutes just to establish rapport. In other words, we’re just getting warmed up. If we end the interview at that point, we are depriving ourselves of a real opportunity to succeed in obtaining truthful information. We’re quitting before we’ve even really begun.

By nature, cops aren’t well known for their patience. And it’s not entirely our fault. Most of us start our careers either on street patrol or working in the jail. Our work days are comprised of going from problem to problem, putting out fires. We must bring about an expeditious resolution to one problem, just to quickly leave and get to the next one. Taking our time is a luxury we seldom have.

So when it comes time to handle a complex criminal interview and interrogation, we haven’t had an abundance of practice with slowing things down, taking our time, and using time to our complete advantage. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do in the interview room. In order to give ourselves the very best chance of obtaining incriminating truthful information, we must be willing to remain in the room with our suspect for as long as it takes. And it takes a while.

On average, we’ll spend about 3 hours in an interview room before we begin obtaining truthful admissions from a culpable suspect. Sure, sometimes it will go more quickly than that, but other times it takes even longer. If we’ve set our internal clock at a 30 or 60 minute maximum time limit, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. The fact is, it takes time to build rapport and trust before a culpable suspect will ultimately make truthful admissions. That doesn’t happen in 30-60 minutes. That takes hours. Consider this – military intelligence personnel will interview prisoners over a period of days, weeks, and even months. There’s a good reason for that – it’s what is required before the subject becomes comfortable enough to reveal facts he’s previously concealed.

At the end of the day, just remember this – even if you’re not the best interviewer in your department, you can put yourself in a position of complete advantage if you’re willing to stay in the interview room until you achieve the desired results. Sheer determination puts you ahead of the game and is your best chance of success!


  • 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
  • Your instructional style is engaging and your tag-team style is highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • ...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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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