Thursday, August 6, 2015

interview bias

I currently work as a police officer in South Jersey and it's a job I enjoy very much. It gives me an opportunity to help serve and protect my community. I also like to think as a police officer, i'm a professional story teller. This means that whenever i'm dispatched for a call, such as a motor vehicle accident, domestic violence incident, assault, etc,  I have to record and document what truly transpired. To obtain the most accurate information possible, I need to be proficient in my ability to interview people.

This brings me to interviewer bias and suggestive interviewing techniques. In my experience, sometimes it's truly difficult to avoid these problems. Police arrive on the scene of a call and we immediately form an opinion on what occurred. We then subconsciously seek information to verify our initial beliefs. It takes a lot of discipline and experience to keep an open mind and to consider an alternate hypothesis from the  apparent obvious. 

After reading this section within the book about child interviews, it reaffirms the importance of utilizing open ended questions. I know in modern times, only detectives who go through extensive training and courses are qualified to conduct interviews on children to avoid obtaining false information. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    You shared that when you arrive on a call you immediately form an opinion as to the events of the call. I am aware that in your profession you are exposed to the worse side of human nature, under stressful dangerous situations. Growing up as child in a family of police and fire I have seen the result this can play on the officer/fireperson and their family. However, it is imperative to assess each situation with a clean slate and try hard not to have a pre formed thought process upon arrival at the scene. If one has a thought in their head it clouds the decision making process and closure to the event is hampered .This allows bias to continue and sometimes we are not even aware that it exist. Police departments around the country are instituting anti-bias training for their officers. The Justice Department encourages this training. Change can and is difficult no one knows what any job entails unless they walk in the path of the person. Split second decisions are made based on what is perceived and the events that are occurring. Monday morning quarterbacking the situation from the comfort of your home in no way compares to the time and place of any event that can be perceived as bias. We all must be responsible for the decisions we make and accept the consequences for our actions.

    noun: bias; plural noun: biases
    prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.