Dealing With Interrogation – Good Cop & Bad Cop
Any fan of police dramas has seen it dozens of times: a suspect, sitting at a table in a concrete room, is confronted by two cops. These two cops often alternate, each playing either good cop or bad cop. Good cop tries to project empathy, saying things like “if you just cooperate with us…” and trying to seem supportive and understanding. Bad cop, in contrast, acts aggressive and makes accusations and sometimes derogatory comments.
This tactic, even though it has been made famous by TV and movies, is still designed as a psychological ploy. For example, sometimes good cop will defend you against bad cop’s assertions. Being interrogated is intimidating enough, but by appearing to defend you, good cop is trying to make you identify with him so you will open up and yield information. Remember: they’re both police officers and quite possibly friends.
The police have extensive training in psychological manipulation. These techniques have proven effective at extracting information from people which can be used against them, even if they are innocent. The police are also legally able to lie to you as much as they want. On the other hand, lying to THEM is illegal. They will sometimes try to corner you into lying, and if you do-no matter how small the lie-they can prosecute you for that alone, and it certainly won’t help if you face a jury.
At all times, the best and safest policy in dealing with the police is to refuse to talk at all. As the famous reading of the rights says, you have the right to remain silent. No matter what they say-and remember of course that they could be creating elaborate lies-you do NOT have to reply to them or even acknowledge them.
In a lot of situations, unless they have an arrest warrant, the police will simply send a detective to your home. Note that detectives in these cases tend to be in unmarked cars and street clothes. Unless they have a warrant, you do not even have to answer the door if a detective comes knocking at your door. Even if they call and ask you to, you never have to go to police headquarters to “clear things up” with them.
By keeping silent, you can avoid lying or giving away information that could work against you, even if you are innocent. However, if you do face interrogation, remember at all times that this is just an act. Never feel intimidated by their words, even if bad cop is screaming at you.