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August 03, 2005

Time is on your side

Submitted by:
Scott Buhrmaster, PoliceOne Managing Editor

Looking at your watch during an interrogation can be a big mistake, according to trainer Pat McCarthy, an expert on developing informants and surfacing information from even the most unlikely street sources. "Even just glancing at it during questioning gives the impression that you've got somewhere else to be and that you're preparing to stop pressuring him because you need to move on to other business," he says.

"This small move can inspire a reluctant or deceptive subject to stay dedicated to his fake story or keep his silence even longer. He figures that if he digs in, he can wait you out."

Instead, McCarthy advises, you should give every impression that you’ve got all the time in the world.

"Relax. Take your time," he says. "Your body language and verbal pacing should give the clear impression that you've got all the time in the world. Your subject needs to know that you’re in it for the long haul if that's the way he wants to play it. If you're not buying his story or he's not talking, he needs to think that you’re a marathon runner, not a sprinter. You'll stay in the race until you get what you need."

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