The following represent a sample of the pages in our App. Each line designated with an O is a link to a discussion of that topic matter.

Section 1 - Overview of The Reid Technique

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to attend a training program on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation, we offer the following as an overview of The Reid Technique. This app was developed on the presumption that the user has a working familiarity with the essential elements of The Reid Technique.

The Reid Technique is built on a core of basic principles that include the following:
Always conduct interviews and interrogations in accordance with the guidelines established by the courts

  • Do not make any promises of leniency
  • Do not threaten the subject with any physical harm or inevitable consequences
  • Do not deny the subject any of their rights
  • Do not deny the subject the opportunity to satisfy their physical needs
  • Always treat the subject with dignity and respect

The Reid Technique involves three different components -- factual analysis, interviewing, and interrogation. While each of these are separate and distinct procedures, they are interrelated in the sense that each serves to help eliminate innocent suspects during an investigation, thereby allowing the investigator to focus on the person most likely to be guilty and to interrogate that individual in an effort to learn the truth. The following material will discuss each of these three investigative elements.

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Section 1 Overview of The Reid Technique

  • O Factual Analysis

  • O The Behavior Analysis Interview

  • O The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation

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The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation

  • O Step One - The Positive Confrontation

  • O Step Two - Theme Development

  • O Step Three - Handling Denials

  • O Step Four - Overcoming Objections

  • O Step Five - Procurement and Retention of Suspect's Attention

  • O Step Six - Handling the Suspect's Passive Mood

  • O Step Seven - Presenting an Alternative Question

  • O Step Eight - Having the Suspect Orally Relate Various Details of the Offense

  • O Step Nine - Converting an Oral Confession to a Written/Recorded Confession

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Section 2 - Behavior Symptom Analysis

For almost 70 years, John E. Reid and Associates has studied the verbal and nonverbal behavior of verified truthful and deceptive subjects, including conducting two studies for the National Security Agency. From these observations we have developed a database of behaviors that correlate to truth and deception. It should be noted that the information included in this section is not, by any means, a complete discussion of behavior symptom analysis.

Behavior analysis refers to the systematic observation of a suspect's behavioral responses during a structured interview. As discussed previously, the core of the interview consists of asking investigative and behavior provoking questions. The investigator observes and evaluates the verbal and nonverbal behavior symptoms displayed by the subject as he or she answers these questions.

  • O Guidelines

  • O Evaluating a Suspect's Attitudes

  • O Evaluating Verbal Behavior

  • O Evaluating Paralinguistic Behavior

  • O Evaluating Nonverbal Behavior

  • O Behavioral Models

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Section 3 - List of Crimes

  • O Arson

  • O Auto Theft

  • O Burglary

  • O Child Abuse (sexual)

  • O Child Abuse (physical)

  • O Credit Card and Check Fraud

  • O Disclosure of Proprietary Information

  • O Domestic Violence

  • O Drug/Narcotic Cases

  • O Elder Abuse

  • O Embezzlement

  • O Employee Theft

  • O Environmental Crimes

  • O Fabricated Claims (Suspected)

  • O Forgery

  • O Fraud (Healthcare, Welfare, Insurance)

  • O Homicide

  • O Identity Theft

  • O Juvenile cases

  • O Kidnapping

  • O Product Tampering

  • O Robbery

  • O Sabotage

  • O Sexual Assault

  • O Sexual Harassment

  • O Smuggling

  • O Utility Theft

  • O Vandalism

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Investigative Information *

What is the suspect's alibi?
Are there alibi witnesses?
Can the alibi be objectively verified (surveillance video, incarceration, etc.)?
Could the suspect have hired someone to start the fire?

Financial Motivation

Was the property over-insured or recently insured?
Was there a major upcoming expense with the property?
Were there unusual survivors like a pet, insurance policy or expensive artwork?

Revenge Motivation

Does the suspect know the victim?
How was their relationship?
Did the suspect verbally threaten to harm the victim in any way?
Are there threatening emails to the victim?

Psychological Motivation

Has the suspect started small fires in the past?
How many fires has the suspect personally witnessed in the last 3 years?
What is the suspect's explanation for evidence?
Was the suspect under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the fire?

* For all of the cases we discuss in this App, Investigative Information references information that should be developed during the investigation and/or information or questions that the subject should be asked during the interview.

Behavior Provoking Questions

"What is your understanding for the purpose of the interview today?"

"Jim, we are investigating the fire that occurred (date/location)."
"If you had anything to do with starting that fire you should tell me that now."

"Do you know for sure who did start that fire?"
"Who do you suspect may have started that fire? Any name you give me will not be released back to that person?"

"Do you think that fire was started by someone?"

"How do you feel about being interviewed concerning this fire?"

"Did you ever just think about starting a fire (at location)?"

"Has anyone ever approached you about starting a fire?

Happen Before:
"Have you ever been questioned before about starting a fire?

Tell me why you wouldn't start a fire (at location)."

"Once we complete our entire investigation how will it come out on you?"

"What do you think should happen to the person who started that fire?"

Second Chance:
"Under any circumstances, do you think the person who started that fire deserves a second chance?"

Happen before:
"Have you ever been questioned before about starting a fire?"

Tell loved one:
"Who have you told about your interview today?" "What was (that person's) response?" "At any time did (that person) ask if you started that fire?"

(surveillance video, footprints, fingerprints)

"Is there any reason why we would (see you outside location of fire on a surveillance video)? I'm not saying you had anything to do with this fire, maybe you were outside for some other reason."

Interrogation Themes


Blame poor economy, unfair competition
Blame accomplice for suggesting the fire or pressuring the suspect into starting it
Blame insurance company for raising rates, declining prior claim
Minimize dollar loss


Blame victim for causing the suspect to act out of character
Blame alcohol or drugs for causing poor judgment
Minimize number of fires set
Contrast starting a fire in hopes of killing victim, or just to send victim a message


Blame stress for causing the suspect to act out of character
Blame alcohol or drugs for causing poor judgment
Blame need for attention
Minimize number of fires set

Alternative questions


Was this whole thing your idea or did someone suggest the fire to you?
Was that fire set to cover up another crime like a murder or embezzlement or was it just to get the insurance money?
Have you been planning this thing out for months in advance or did it just happen on the spur of the moment?
Did you do this as a get rich scheme or just to break even on your investment?


Did you plan this out for weeks in advance, or did it just happen on the spur of the moment?
Did you do this hoping to kill (her) or just cause a little smoke damage?


Did you do this hoping to kill people or just for excitement because you were bored?
Describe an acceptable reason for starting the fire (to keep warm, to burn brush, etc.)
Have you set dozens of fires all over the county or was it less than that? We're not looking at 12 or 15 fires are we?

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Section 4 Supplemental Information

  • O The Core Principles of The Reid Technique ?

  • O Best Practices

  • O Advisement of Rights

  • O Miranda form

  • O Special Precautions When Interviewing Juveniles and Mentally Impaired Individuals

  • O The Reid Technique: Position Paper

  • O Personality Disorders

  • O Legal Updates

  • O Power Point Presentations

  • O What's New

  • O Investigator Tips

  • O The Critics' Corner
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