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The Perspectives of American Police Officers Regarding Suspect Interrogation and Interview Legislation

Hakan Can and Durant Frantzen

Abstract
Interrogations are a central component to criminal investigations, yet few studies have
explored the views of police investigators toward interrogation techniques and policies. A
random sample of law enforcement officers assigned to criminal investigations units in
Texas was surveyed regarding their attitudes toward commonly used interrogation methods.
In total, 135 homicide and other police investigators responded by questionnaire, reporting
on their views toward interrogation tactics and the frequency they conducted custodial or
noncustodial interrogations. Results showed that homicide detectives were significantly
more likely to favor rapport building and gaining the suspect’s confidence and to conduct
interrogations at the police station as opposed to in the field. Respondents choosing to
conduct interrogations after giving the Miranda warnings were more apt to use evidence
disclosure tactics but also more likely to become antagonistic toward the suspect. Results
were analyzed and compared to previous research, policy issues, and methodological
limitations.

Keywords: Police, Interrogation, Miranda warnings, Confessions