Dont Talk to Cops. How to deal with the police.

Essay by Guy McBernsonHigh School, 10th gradeA, October 1996

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Don't Talk to Cops

'GOOD MORNING! My name is investigator Holmes. Do you mind answering a few

simple questions?' If you open your door one day and are greeted with those

words, STOP AND THINK! Whether it is the local police or the FBI at your door,

you have certain legal rights of which you ought to be aware before you

proceed any further.

In the first place, when law enforcement authorities come to see you,

there are no 'simple questions'. Unless they are investigating a traffic

accident, you can be sure that they want information about somebody. And that

somebody may be you!

Rule number one to remember when confronted by the authorities is that

there is no law requiring you to talk with the police, the FBI, or the

representative of any other investigative agency. Even the simplest questions

may be loaded and the seemingly harmless bits of information which you

volunteer may later become vital links in a chain of circumstantial evidence

against you or a friend.


Such an invitation not only gives him the opportunity to look around

for clues to your lifestyle, friends, reading material, etc., but also tends

to prolong the conversation. The longer the conversation, the more chance

there is for a skill investigator to find out what he wants to know.

Many times a police officer will ask you to accompany him to the

police station to answer a few questions. In that case, simply thank him for

the invitation and indicate that you are not disposed to accept it at this

time. Often the authorities simply want to photograph a person for

identification purposes, a procedure which is easily accomplished by placing

him in a private room with a two-way mirror at...