THE MAGAZINE

Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques, Third Edition

By Nathan J. Gordon and William L. Fleisher; Reviewed by Bob Sena, CPP

***** Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques, Third Edition. By Nathan J. Gordon and William L. Fleisher; published by Elsevier/Academic Press; available from ASIS, item #1917, 703/519-6200, www.asisonline.org, 400 pages; $99 (members), $109 (nonmembers).

It has been said that investigation is an art form. If that’s true, this updated edition of Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques takes the practice to a new level and demonstrates that conducting effective interviews and interrogations in an investigation is also a science.

Coauthors Nathan J. Gordon and William L. Fleisher masterfully blend the intellectual ability of professional investigators, security professionals, and attorneys to apply the “art” of interviewing and interrogation to the “science” of detecting truth and deception. The result is the For­ensic Assessment Interview Technique (FAINT), which serves as a blueprint and systematic approach for the interviewer to gather verbal and nonverbal clues from subjects to determine who is truthful and who is not.

The updated text includes new chapters on report writing and airline passenger screening, while expanding on previous editions’ coverage of statement analysis and interview assessment. Through sample interview templates, surveys, charts, illustrations, and scoring methods, the reader is shown how various forms of stimuli, such as sketches, scenarios, and stressful situations, affect a person’s behavior. The text illustrates how conducting a carefully structured interview can make the task of separating the innocent from the guilty achievable with greater efficiency and reliability.

Written in an authoritative yet simple format, the book presents sophisticated techniques such as FAINT and the Morgan Interview Theme Techniques in a manner that can easily be applied to civil and criminal inquiries. The authors acknowledge that no single approach to interviewing is foolproof. To their credit, they caution readers not to rely on any single technique, and to employ a multilayered approach involving observation and questioning, especially in the case of airline security and passengers.

Of particular usefulness are the chapter focusing on interviewing children and the mentally challenged and the chapter focusing on preemployment screening. Recognizing the sensitivity and legal issues surrounding both types of inquiries, the authors show how applying the techniques identified in the book can achieve desired investigative results. The new edition is also timely in that the authors address purported meth­ods of torture, such as water­board­ing, in our post-9-11 society.

This text remains a valuable reference for those who practice the art and science of investigations, and for readers of prior editions, this updated version’s new content merits a second look.


Reviewer: Bob Sena, CPP, is senior director of environmental safety and security at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and a former member of the New York Police Department. He is a member of ASIS and former chair of its Mid-Hudson Chapter.
 

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