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Joanna Hoyt
01-02-2011, 03:18 AM
Scenario: The police (from the state police or county sheriff's dept--this is a township in rural NY,there are no local police) have responded to a 911 call about a woman found dead due to falling off a cliff. When they arrive the main witnesses/obvious suspects, the victim's housemates, are gathered at the clifftop, a 30-minute walk or short ATV trip through the woods from their common house. There is reason to suspect homicide, though not to be sure of it (you folks already confirmed that on an earlier question).

You folks have said the witnesses would be taken to the police station.(There is a state police station nearby.) Would that happen as soon as police arrive, or after people have been able to get down to the victim and certify her dead, or...? And once they get to the police station, do they wait in a common room while one at a time goes to answer questions (and if so, are the already-questioned sent somewhere separate from the still-unquestioned)? or are several people being interviewed at once?

I'm writing from the POV of the witness who found the body. Would she likely be interviewed by one person or several? Of what rank? How should she address them?

What would be done with/for a tearful and hysterical person among the witnesses?

Obviously the police will be carefully searching the area where the body was found, presumably in the absence of the witnesses. Would they also search the dead woman's room? Would they remove all her papers and belongings or just look through them or remove whatever things they thought might provide useful information?

Answers to any of these would be greatly appreciated.

tarkine
01-02-2011, 03:28 PM
Scenario: The police (from the state police or county sheriff's dept--this is a township in rural NY,there are no local police) have responded to a 911 call about a woman found dead due to falling off a cliff. When they arrive the main witnesses/obvious suspects, the victim's housemates, are gathered at the clifftop, a 30-minute walk or short ATV trip through the woods from their common house. There is reason to suspect homicide, though not to be sure of it (you folks already confirmed that on an earlier question).

(I would assume that the police on arrival would ask basic questions: Did you know her? how well? what was your relationship with her) - they would be on a fact finding mission - they may ask what her job was, what she was doing out at that time, did she usually take a walk, did anyone have a grudge to bear - they would try and interview peopel seperately, so there is no coersion and in theory people should be telling them roughly the same story... although people's recollection of things is different.

i can remember sitting watching a video and then having to answer basic questions, like what colour shirt was the guy wearing, and out of a room of about 10 people, five came up with different answers or else said "didn't notice"

You folks have said the witnesses would be taken to the police station.(There is a state police station nearby.) Would that happen as soon as police arrive, or after people have been able to get down to the victim and certify her dead, or...? And once they get to the police station, do they wait in a common room while one at a time goes to answer questions (and if so, are the already-questioned sent somewhere separate from the still-unquestioned)? or are several people being interviewed at once?

I have worked for the police dept in Australia (not as a police officer) but the police would bring the witnesses in and put them in different interview rooms - because they wouldn't want them together to make up a story of what happened. The interviews would be recorded (videod).


I'm writing from the POV of the witness who found the body. Would she likely be interviewed by one person or several? Of what rank? How should she address them?

It would be likely that there would need to be a female officer in the room. Usually two police officers - maybe a detective (sorry i don't know that part of the procedure)

What would be done with/for a tearful and hysterical person among the witnesses?

(They may offer them a water, some tissues, or talk to them trying to calm them down)

Obviously the police will be carefully searching the area where the body was found, presumably in the absence of the witnesses. Would they also search the dead woman's room? Would they remove all her papers and belongings or just look through them or remove whatever things they thought might provide useful information?
(Sorry I'm not sure on this)

Answers to any of these would be greatly appreciated.


Hope it helps :D

cbenoi1
01-02-2011, 07:36 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Howdunit-Book-Police-Procedure-Investigation/dp/1582974551/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

-cb

jclarkdawe
01-03-2011, 07:14 AM
Scenario: The police (from the state police or county sheriff's dept--this is a township in rural NY,there are no local police) have responded to a 911 call about a woman found dead due to falling off a cliff. The first question you need to establish is when exactly this turns from a rescue (live person) to a recovery(dead person). A phone call reporting a dead person does not mean that the dead person is actually a dead person. Even trained people have screwed this up, and temperature can make a difference here. If the temperature is cold, it can obscure some of the signs of life.

As long as this is a rescue operation, the priority is rescue. Once it shifts to a recovery operation, the police investigation takes priority. So until the death is confirmed, this will be a rescue, with rescue a priority.

Second question is how quickly after the police arrive do they begin suspecting the possibly of a homicide?

But for any of the questions further on, I'm going to assume that the police have cause to suspect a homicide and the operation has shifted to recover mode.

When they arrive the main witnesses/obvious suspects, the victim's housemates, are gathered at the clifftop, a 30-minute walk or short ATV trip through the woods from their common house. There is reason to suspect homicide, though not to be sure of it (you folks already confirmed that on an earlier question).

You folks have said the witnesses would be taken to the police station.(There is a state police station nearby.) Would that happen as soon as police arrive, or after people have been able to get down to the victim and certify her dead, or...? After they certify she's dead and have cause to suspect a crime. Questioning about what happened would be casual until the police begin to suspect a crime. Once in recovery mode, and once they suspect a crime, then the police would get a lot more formal. And then the police would begin to isolate the witnesses. Among other things, there's a good possibility the killer is among the assembled people.

And once they get to the police station, do they wait in a common room while one at a time goes to answer questions (and if so, are the already-questioned sent somewhere separate from the still-unquestioned)? Not if it can be avoided. or are several people being interviewed at once? Probably, but depends upon resources. Questioning wouldn't really begin until after the crime scene is processed.

I'm writing from the POV of the witness who found the body. Would she likely be interviewed by one person or several? Probably two, but it depends. It also depends upon how much of a suspect she is. If she doesn't seem very significant, probably only one person would interview her. Of what rank? Depends upon how important she is to the investigation. If she's not very important, she could be interviewed by a uniformed officer. If she's important, then probably a detective. She could start with a uniformed officer, who might ask a detective to join them. How should she address them? Usually by rank, such as officer, detective, sergeant, et cetera.

What would be done with/for a tearful and hysterical person among the witnesses? Depends upon how bad they get, but initially water, tissues, and a lot patience.

Obviously the police will be carefully searching the area where the body was found, presumably in the absence of the witnesses. An area of significant size would be taped off and no one would be allowed into this area without permission. Would they also search the dead woman's room? Probably, but it depends in part on why they think it is worthwhile. Would they remove all her papers and belongings or just look through them or remove whatever things they thought might provide useful information? Again, probably, but it depends upon why they think it's worthwhile.

Answers to any of these would be greatly appreciated.

A lot of this is going to be dependent on how and why they think a crime occurred.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe