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Why you should record interviews

It doesn’t matter if it is a witness, suspect, or business owner


AP Photo/LM Otero

Recording your interviews is critical to a case. It doesn’t matter if it is a witness, suspect, or business owner. Get into the habit of recording your interviews to make sure you are capturing the most detail possible. If you choose to use direct quotes, you will need the audio recording to support that statement in your report. In fact, more than 25 states require officers to record all custodial interviews. [1]

Relying on just body-camera recordings for interviews can also be an issue if your agency restricts the use of post-incident viewing. In those cases, a simple audio recorder will be beneficial.

And if you are in any detective unit, picking a good interview software or voice dictation recorder can make documenting interviews in a police report quicker. You can tag key points in the recording and reference the exact spot of the recorded statement in your police report.


1. Bang BL, Stanton D, Hemmens C, Stohr MK. Police recording of custodial interrogations: A state-by-state legal inquiry. International Journal of Police Science & Management. 2018;20(1):3-18

RELATED: 5 reasons digital recordings are valuable for suspect interviews

Joshua Lee is an active-duty police sergeant for a municipal police department in Arizona. Before being promoted, Joshua served five years as a patrol officer and six years as a detective with the Organized Crime Section investigating civil asset forfeiture, white-collar financial crime, and cryptocurrency crimes.

Joshua is a money laundering investigations expert witness and consultant for banks, financial institutions, and accountants. He is also an artificial intelligence for government applications advisor and researcher.

Joshua holds a BA in Justice Studies, an MA in Legal Studies, and an MA in Professional Writing. He has earned some of law enforcement’s top certifications, including the ACFE’s Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), ACAMS Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and the IAFC’s Certified Cyber Crimes Investigator (CCCI).

Joshua is an adjunct professor at a large national university, and a smaller regional college teaching law, criminal justice, government, technology, writing and English courses.
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