Ask Them They’ll Tell You! Eliciting Police Perspectives to Improve Interrogation Practices
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Traditional research on police interrogation practices provides etic perspectives on utilizations and frequencies of coercive techniques that act as contributing factors in false confessions. However, researcher reliance on predominantly male officer participants and quantitative methodologies perpetuate the exclusion of police organizational and female officer perspectives in the extant literature. This study provides new research-based insights into emic perspectives of police organizations and their officers. Specifically, this research examines current and former female police detectives and factors that influence their selection, and usage, of certain types of interrogation practices. Research-based definitions of coercive interrogation practices, while based on legal standards, are grounded in psychological influences on suspects that are likely to contribute to false confessions. Findings from this study provide unique information regarding how participant officers, who also define practices within legal contexts, define types of interrogation techniques as persuasive, aggressive, and abusive, with no apparent consideration for psychological influences on suspects. As such, research-based interrogation practices deemed coercive (but legal) by researchers are insufficient to restrain their usage during police interrogations. Study findings indicate that individual operating philosophies of participant detectives have the greatest influence on selections of, and more importantly restraints from, particular types of interrogation usages. Ultimately, increasing understandings of practitioner-based practices within police organizations, and the implementation of human resource development (HRD) strategies for improvement of investigative and interrogation processes, will lead to positive individual and collective performances which can be aimed at reducing rates of false confession.
Rolle, Amanda Talley (2015). Ask Them They’ll Tell You! Eliciting Police Perspectives to Improve Interrogation Practices. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from