This paper seeks to address a situation in a local police department, where a nine year old male child has been reported missing. This is amidst weakening relations between the local police department and the local government as well as negative publicity of the police department, especially with regard to its interrogation procedure. The paper will take the form of a general order to be adopted by the Chief of Police in the department as he addresses the media.
Comrades, members of the press and members of the society, greetings. We are gathered here to review the unfortunate well publicized occurrence last week of the disappearance of a nine year old male child. As you all are aware, various members of this society took part in the search for the child, and have offered relentless support to the family and to the police department.
Last week, when our team was called to investigate the matter, the police team, well wishers and the press were already gathered in the scene. I wish to expound on the procedure that the department adopted in the course of preliminary investigations as well as the current development of the issue. These people present included the mother of the child, her live-in boyfriend and the child’s sister. As the family members and neighbors interacted with the press team, our officers opted to take their time to observe their responses. The officers took note of every development before asking the members of the family and a few neighbors to share information in an interview. During the interviews, it was revealed that the child had last been seen playing alone near his home the previous day. On the day of disappearance, the child’s mother and his sister were at home. However, the boyfriend was away purportedly on a job.
According to the family members and neighbors, the child was not in a habit of wandering off. After interviewing the neighbors revealed that the family was encountering domestic problems, an observation that the mother later reluctantly admitted. Additionally, it was revealed that her boyfriend had, in one occasion, insulted the missing child. Although there was no evidence of drug and substance abuse, the interviews disclosed that the man was high-tempered and had, on several occasions, threatened to harm his girlfriend and her children. Initial regular questioning of the man revealed unusual behavior. Some of the investigating officers remained at the scene of crime. They conducted an extensive search in the apartment block where the child was reported missing, in hope of establishing some links. After searching, police officers found the child’s body in one of the rooms of an unoccupied apartment.
There were boot marks on the floor of the dusty apartment that matched those of the boots that the boyfriend wore, and cigar butt near the body that matched the type he smokes, as confirmed by the mother of the child. Attempts to question him based on the new developments revealed some eccentricity that led our officers to become suspicious; they decided to hold him custody awaiting further investigations. It should be noted that the suspect was made aware of his rights through the Miranda warning, as is evident on tape recorded during the process. Credible evidence has been collected through the interrogation process and the suspect has been closely monitored for tension as he answers the interrogators’ questions. Other critical signs are being observed in accordance with standard detective procedure, as investigations proceed. Other physical evidence has been presented to the office of the coroner, and we await full investigation reports. While the police department expresses our heartfelt condolences for the family and friends of the deceased, we also feel that we need to use this chance to review the much publicized negativity regarding the department’s conduct, especially in regard to our information inquisition procedure.
First, I wish to state that there are standard procedures that govern our conduct in the course of performing our duties. As many of you might be aware, there have been disagreements between the police department and the local government, a situation that has led to slowed operations in this department. We are appealing for calm and cooperation from all members of the community as we resolve the stalemate. Much of the negative remarks made regarding our office have to do with this issue. However, I wish to reiterate that we have been historically sorted to uphold the rule of law, especially concerning treatment of persons being questioned in a manner that upholds human dignity in accordance with the law. The following is the standard procedure adopted in the course of inquisition in all states and it applies to this department.
Whenever a crime is reported, our officers are tasked with the duty of identifying the criminal. As such, their first step is locating and apprehending the suspect. The officers proceed into gathering enough evidence to facilitate prosecution in a court of law, where the defendant is declared guilty or not guilty (Greenwood & Chaiken, 1977). Every step in the investigation process requires the investigating officer to take notes of the developments. A suspect is always made aware of his or her rights through the Miranda warning, and may opt to sign a rights waiver form. After the suspect has signed the waiver of rights form, the investigating officer proceeds in to the instrumentation phase of investigation. Instrumentation enables the police officers to utilize specially designed devices to identify the individual who might have committed the offense.
Interviews and interrogations play a significant role during the investigation process. Nevertheless, each one of them is done in a unique setting. In most instances interviews are done in a cordial setting, where witnesses feel psychologically and physically comfortable at home or at work. On the contrary, if interrogation is conducted in an uncomfortable setting, such as an interrogation room, a witness or suspect may be under a considerable amount of psychological pressure. In most cases we interrogate habitual criminals or suspects of serious crimes, such as kidnapping and rape. During interrogations it is common to make audio and video record of the suspect as he or she responds to the interrogator’s questions (Hess & Orthmann, 2009).
A point to note is that during interrogations investigating officers must have psychological advantages over their suspects. In fact, interrogation appears to be like a psychological war between investigators and the suspects. In such a case, suspects confess only after being overpowered by the investigators. Interrogation is a form of an art, and police officers master it through extensive studying and experience. Police interrogators act as per the age, intellect and profession of the suspect. This means that a lawyer is interrogated differently from a doctor, a manager or an unskilled worker. Likewise, a child is interrogated differently from an adult or a senior (Karmen, 2009).
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In essence, conclusive investigations require an investigator to have ample information about the suspect, the victim and the scene of crime. Based on the above facts, our department would significantly encourage the society to closely work together with the police force and not to fight it. We also shall endeavor to co-operate with all, though seeking your opinion and support in all matters of interest. Thank you very much.