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From Third-Degree to Third-Generation Interrogation Strategies: Putting Science into the Art of Criminal Interviewing

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Technical Report,01 Mar 2017,01 Mar 2017

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The interviewing strategies of the American law-enforcement system are more than seventy-five years old. Psychologically manipulative and guilt-presumptive, these methodologies replaced the brutal third-degree interrogation tactics of the previous century, but have recently come under scrutiny for being both ethically and operationally unsound. These findings have prompted a paradigm shift toward more ethical, effective, and scientifically validated tactics. This thesis set out to explore the advantages of integrating next-generation practices into the interview-training ethos of the Department of Homeland Security DHS Office of Professional Responsibility OPRthe internal affairs component of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. An evaluation of evidence-based interrogation practices and governmental policy analyses, along with insight from subject-matter experts, provided the data for this exploration. A series of recommendations derived from the lessons learned of the U.K. PEACE model, the practices of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and research by the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group offered insight for the optimal training of interviewing techniques and their long-term retention in the field. Assuming the recommendations for OPR are both scalable and replicable, this model should be relevant and valuable for the professional practices of other DHS agencies responsible for conducting interrogations as well as for law-enforcement agencies nationwide.

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  • Sociology and Law

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