When it comes to officers and investigators

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when it comes to officers and investigators questioning: Structured Interview (SI) and Cognitive Interview (CI). The SI technique is designed to maximize the eyewitness’s recall and minimize any contamination. This interview process with begin with the law enforcement officer or investigator open ended questions which is the least leading form of questioning and then get specific if required. “The initial goal is to provide every opportunity to give a free narrative
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EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS IN THE INVESTIGATIVE STAGE 4 account before specific questions are used” (Colwell, Hiscock, & Memon, 2002, p. 289). Specific questions are used to obtain clarification and allow the eyewitness to elaborate on their answers to the previously asked open-ended questions so that no detail is missed. The CI technique uses the same principles as the SI technique, but focuses on making the eyewitnesses and victims of an incident aware of all the events that occurred. In contrast to the SI technique, the CI technique incorporates mnemonics which allows the maximum recalls by utilizing retrieval cues which allows several opportunities to access information from the eyewitness’s memory (Colwell et al, 2002, p. 289-290). Although the proper techniques are available and typically used by law enforcement officers and investigators, there are still many factors that can have an effect on the accuracy of the eyewitness’s memory. Law enforcement officers and investigators need to be aware of some of these factors when collecting statements from their eyewitnesses in order to ensure the validity of these statements. Oftentimes, these can affect these eyewitness’ statements by accident. The factors that need to be considered include behavioral, psychological and environmental influences. Behavioral The first factor that could have an impact eyewitness statements is behavioral. This centers around the witness’s own actions and behaviors and how they have an effect on their ability to give an accurate and credible statement. An example of the behavioral factor is witness intoxication. It was found that “alcohol intoxication while witnessing the event was associated with a lower rate of correct identifications when the level of arousal was low during the event” (Wells, Memon, & Penrod, 2006, p. 54). Intoxicated witnesses are less accurate than sober witnesses because they cannot encode the same information and specific details as well. In
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EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS IN THE INVESTIGATIVE STAGE 5 addition, research has shown that even after a week since the event, the witness still cannot recall information about the event or identify the suspect accurately and with confidence. Intoxicated
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  • Fall '08
  • Wallace
  • Psychology, Eyewitness identification, investigator, witness

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