7-7 Interview Room Procedures
Policy Type: Local
Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department
Initial Policy Approved: 1/25/2014
Current Revision Approved: 1/25/2014
Interview rooms are commonly used in the investigative process. The intent of this policy is to ensure that these facilities are utilized in the most professional manner possible. The purpose of this directive is to provide written guidelines for the proper use of interview rooms to ensure the protection of department personnel and the safety of the arrestee/prisoner.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.
- INTERVIEW ROOM - Any room(s), whether located in VCU Police Headquarters or at an off-site police facility, that are used by VCU police officers to either conduct custodial interviews of arrestees or non-custodial interviews of witnesses, victims or suspects. These rooms are not prisoner holding cells or temporary detention rooms.
- Authorized personnel:
- The Department’s interview room may be utilized by any VCU police officer for both custodial interviews of arrestees and non-custodial interviews with witnesses, victims, or suspects.
- The room can also be used by officers from outside agencies as long as the officer is accompanied by a VCU police officer.
- No more than two (2) law enforcement personnel should be allowed in the interview room while an interview or interrogation is being conducted, unless circumstances warrant an exception.
- The basic responsibility for the safety and security of persons brought into any interview room remains with the original officer unless relieved by another officer or detective.
- Custodial Interviews:
- To address the protection of department personnel and the safety of arrestees/prisoners, all persons to be interrogated shall be searched prior to being brought into any interview room.
- Each arrestee or prisoner will be placed in a separate room apart from other prisoners.
- Arrestees and prisoners will be handcuffed prior to being placed in the interview room. Handcuffs may be removed at the discretion of the officer having physical custody of the prisoner.
- The interview rooms are not holding cells. If an arrestee or prisoner is left alone in an interview room, there must be a constant monitoring of him/her at all times. Monitoring may be either by visual contact through an open door, window, or two way mirrors or by video and audio monitoring by an officer in the control room. Department personnel shall remain in close proximity to the room and be readily available to intervene on behalf of the arrestee/prisoner at all times. However, in cases involving juveniles, an officer shall not use video monitoring, but will always accompany the juvenile.
- The arresting officer will ensure that the human needs of persons placed in the interview rooms are met (i.e., restroom, water, food, etc.).
- Officers shall be keenly aware of their proximity to arrestee/prisoners while in interview room. Officer safety shall be paramount in all situations.
- Officers shall secure their weapon while using the interview room. A weapons lock box is provided for this purpose.
- Non-Custodial Interviews:
- If in the opinion of the officer, a frisk for weapons is necessary, they should ask the suspect or witness to consent to the frisk.
- There must be a constant monitoring of witnesses at all times. Monitoring may be either by visual contact or by video and audio monitoring by an officer in the control room. Department personnel shall remain in close proximity to the room and be readily available to intervene on behalf of the suspect(s) or witness(s) at all times. However, in cases involving juveniles, an officer shall not use video monitoring, but will always accompany the juvenile.
- Interview Room Maintenance and General Guidelines:
- Prior to and after utilizing an interview room, the room shall be searched for weapons and/or contraband that may pose a threat to not only officer safety, but also suspect safety.
- Interview rooms are to be maintained by department members who have received training on the proper use of the audio and visual recording devices and proper handling of a suspect in their care.
- The interview rooms shall not warehouse or store any department-issued equipment.
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
None - New policy