Police Interrogation Training and Practices with Adult and Juvenile Suspects: A National Survey of Police Officers and Detectives

Warner, Todd, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Reppucci, Nicholas, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Largely as a result of the innocence project, many highly publicized cases involving wrongful convictions and false confessions have captured the attention of the public casting a spotlight on the manner in which police interrogate suspects. And yet, very little research exists examining the training officers receive for interrogating suspects and the possible link among trainings to the techniques they use during questioning. This study explored police training experiences regarding the interrogation of adult and juvenile suspects and is the first study to directly compare the reported interrogation practices of police with adult suspects to juvenile suspects. Data were collected from 340 police officers attending a national training seminar at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Participants completed surveys about their interrogation training experiences and practices with suspects. Results indicated that: (1) interrogators learn specific strategies for interrogation via a combination of on-the-job training from a more experienced officer and a formal training, most likely the Reid method, (2) there does appear to be a relationship among the content learned during trainings and actual practices inside the interrogation room, and (3) based on the self-reported interrogation practices of police, it appears that youth and adults are interrogated in very similar ways. Implications for public policy and directions for future research are discussed.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Interrogation, Police, Juvenile
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