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Ethical Interviewing

NCJ Number
Policing Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1991) Pages: 42-60
E Shepherd
Date Published
19 pages
In their encounters with the public and other police agencies, police officers tend to engage in conversations characterized by superior/subordinate talk. However, these conversations can be conducted in either an ethical or unethical manner.
Ethical, or I-You, conversations are those which imply respect for the other person. Unethical conversation is that in which the speaker adopts a one-sided, self-centered perspective. In terms of interviewers, those who are unethical subscribe to a morality founded on expediency, distorting reality prior to and within the interview. Unethical interviewing is characterized by depersonalizing talk and the use of I-It language. Nonassertive police officers often use unethical interviewing as a result of stress factors including internal pressures, absence of coping skills, and absence of ethical moral models. The right ethos for ethical interviewing can be created by getting rid of distorted notions and practices of "appropriate" social relations and implementing a service-wide commitment to ethical conversation techniques. 31 references