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  • Celebrating 20 Years of Training Excellence 2004-2024

The Interview Environment

All of us have visited friends and family at their home. Usually, we’re quite comfortable. We know where everything is. But how about when you visit the home of someone you’ve just met – things tend to be a little different, right? We’re more concerned about proper etiquette and respecting their privacy. We usually ask for permission to use the bathroom in addition to asking where it is located. When we’re with friends and family, we’re a bit more free and relaxed. And when we’re in our OWN house, well, we’re really at ease.

It’s no different when we’re interviewing people in the course of one of our investigations. If we choose to interview them at their home or place of work, we are at a distinct disadvantage. They have total physical and psychological control in such an environment. If they want to answer their phone, get themselves something to eat, discipline their children, answer the doorbell, go to the bathroom – they just do it. And there’s not too much we can do about that, especially since we’re on their turf. The potential distractions are too numerous to count. It’s even easier for them to tell us to leave and get out of their house. We face every disadvantage in such an environment, especially the concern for our own safety.

On the other hand, if we interview people at a location within our control (like a properly designed interview room at your facility), we regain control of all of the above factors and more. We now have the physical and psychological advantage. It’s much more difficult for people to do as they please in “someone else’s house.” We can ensure our privacy and that we are free from distractions. We can ensure that the environment is calm, quiet, and lends itself to the conditions right for someone to let down their guard and provide truthful information.

The environment is a vital factor to determine our likelihood of success in the ensuing interview and interrogation. It’s that important. No phones, no interruptions, no distractions. If you haven’t been practicing this essential key ingredient for success, you’ll want to add this to your tool box.

  • It not often that you go to a training that you really, really want to pay attention to. Because of the high quality information and style of presentation, I knew that if I looked away I was going to miss out.

    —Quinten Graves, Oregon State Police
  • This training provided the 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
  • The information presented was highly relevant to my job and was presented in a manner that was organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • This training by far has been the most informative and most effective I've attended. The instructors engaged the students in a manner that made me want to speak my opinion, ask questions, and participate.

    —Julio Ibarra, Merced County Sheriff’s Office
  • Instructional style is engaging and highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • Your training 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
  • Incredible training with amazing real world instruction. I have been taking law enforcement classes for over 30 years and by far this is the best presented and most useful.

    —Det. Brian Dale, Portland Police Bureau
  • Your training 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
  • This was, by far and away the best training I have received in 15 plus years of Law Enforcement. The instructors are experienced, engaging, articulate, and very entertaining. I will be recommending this training to multiple agencies.

    —Mark Paynter, Oregon DOC
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful training classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch 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
  • 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
  • Effective teaching teams! The presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda