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Interview and Interrogation Training: Obtaining a Written Statement Part II

In part 2 of a 3 part series, this week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Dave Zulawski, CFI, Shane Sturman, CFI, and Wayne Hoover, CFI discussing the process of obtaining a written statement during the interview process.

In this conversation we’re going to discuss the content of the statement. Most organizations standardize the type of statement that they use.

  • Probably the most commonly used statement is the narrative, which is the interviewer allowing the subject to write a statement in their own words, but being led by the questions of the interviewer.
  • Some organizations prefer to have a question and answer, where the questions are actually included, immediately followed by the subject’s responses.
  • Other organizations try to standardize the statement, and you use a “fill in the blank” form to accomplish a more detailed statement than we might typically receive.
  • With the amount of telephone interview that is occurring today, audio/visual recording may make this a little simpler.

A common mistake that occurs when attempting to obtain the statement is the interviewer assuming that the subject knows how to write the statement. Most people don’t know how to begin the statement, or put the events in chronological order. Therefore if you simply hand the subject a piece of paper and ask them to write a statement, you may end up with a document that is more of a detriment than an asset. So we’re going to guide them through the process without dictating. We might do this by asking questions and having them fill in the details.

After obtaining the details of the statement one of the most important parts of the statement is the “writing from the heart” aspect of the document, which is often the most incriminating piece of the statement. For example, “I felt bad,” or “It’s never going to happen again,” and so forth.

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To finish the statement it’s really important to let everyone know that it’s the truth, and having them affirm that in the statement. Once that’s completed, have them initial any errors, and then give them one page at a time to initial and number the pages (1 of 3, 2 of 3, etc…). Finally, have them sign the completed statement. The interviewer then signs the statement, and the witness signs the statement as well. 

Every loss prevention investigator should continuously strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in Law Enforcement, Loss Prevention, Security, Asset Protection, Human Resources, Auditors or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

To learn more about interview and interrogation training and how you can further develop your professional skill sets, please visit or for additional information.

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