Interviewing Children During Police Investigations
Category: Law Enforcement
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for law enforcement and it deals with speaking with children during routine investigations.
During your next investigation, don’t overlook children as potential witnesses.
When you respond to calls that require a report, like a domestic violence incident or a crash, do you document the presence of people at the scene? Of course, you do. But what about children? Do you speak with children like they are possible witnesses? If not, you may be missing some important information.
Imagine you respond to a non-injury crash. While parallel parking, a driver backs into a blue BMW. When you get there, you see two men standing on the sidewalk. One man owns the car. His license is suspended. The other man has a valid license and he claims he was the driver.
You are not so sure. You don’t see anyone around except the young boy playing across the street.
When you speak with 9-year-old Johnny, he points out the man who was really driving. If you did not talk with Johnny, you wouldn’t know that there was a witness who could identify the real driver.
This was a simple example where the stakes were pretty low. In other investigations, like when people are injured, the stakes are much higher. But the same principle applies. The more evidence we have, the greater the chances for success. We have all heard the old saying that children should be seen and not heard. But during your next investigation, ignore that old saying. Many times, children should be both seen and heard.
And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off.