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Interacting with Police
by a Mother & Prison Psychologist
In my conversations with people I come across subjects that I wonder if I have discussed with you. What I am writing about is something that I clearly learned from your Dad's commentaries about law and law enforcement and I have observed in my career, but I may not have shared with you. Recent discussions brought this to mind again and I want to be sure you know this.

If for any reason police officer(s) want to question you about something even if you think you have no knowledge, be sure that you do not talk with them without a lawyer present. So much of what you say can be misinterpreted or misconstrued. While there are many effective, diligent and intelligent law enforcement personnel, some may not use appropriate interviewing techniques and may focus on a single aspect of an investigation and miss others. Also law enforcement and prosecutors can bluff, pretend to know things they don't know just to see what you will say. They will also threaten with jail sentences in an attempt intimidate the interviewee into revealing information that they think he might not disclose otherwise. This can frighten and even trick a person into making statements that could be used against him. This means you must have the legal protection from the beginning of an interview with any law enforcement investigator even if you don't know anything or don't have any information you think is relevant. Also, accused individuals will implicate innocent others in crimes just to free themselves or to negotiate lighter sentences. I have seen situations in which the primary offender "got off altogether" while an innocent individual or one only peripherally involved was the only one to receive a prison sentence or he received a stiffer sentence that the primary offender. I see multiple examples of where the justice system did not work as well as it was supposed to. We must be aware that we are dealing with fallable human beings and even when their motives are good, they can be deadly wrong.

Also keep in mind that you should not agree to a search of your property unless the police have a search warrant.

Well, dear, your Mom is no Pollyanna. I believe in the grace of God and that people are capable of good. However, we people are all fallible and capable of being wrong. I don't intend to disturb you, but it pays to be cautious sometimes. I am acting like a normal parent of a young adult--wondering if I have told you everything I know and I think you need to know to get along in life. I love you and I am proud of you.