Police Interview Question – “A Suspected Suicide”?May 10th, 2020
Oral Board Question
“You are working the night shift and, whilst on patrol, you are called to the scene of a suspected suicide.
How do you intend on handling this situation?”
This can be a more difficult question than at first seems to be the case.
That is because it is a very open-ended type of question. You are presented with the rough sketch of what is supposed to have taken place and are now asked to piece together the most optimum course of action to take.
Before you study our sample answer, take a few moments to write down a 150-word answer on how you would answer the question. This exercise is important. You need to test your own ability to answer these questions and, by comparing it to our sample answer, it helps identify where you have gone right from where you are going wrong.
In your answer, try to figure out what specific actions you would take to handle the situation from arriving at the scene to what you would do once you arrive.
Finished the exercise? Let us now review a sample answer.
“First, I would not immediately assume that a suicide had taken place. After all, it is not uncommon for apparent suicides to be homicide but covered up and reported to law enforcement as otherwise. As a result, the scene of the apparent suicide may not be safe, and I must prepare myself accordingly.
Once I have established the scene is safe, I would proceed to check for any signs of life. Where necessary, I would apply aid – such as CPR.
Emergency services will be on their way at this point, so I must preserve the scene of the crime to ensure that no tampering of evidence will take place.
Once the scene is safely secure and witnesses/suspects are kept away from the body/scene, I would contact my supervisor to explain the situation to him.”
This answer is clear, concise, and it demonstrates a strict line of logic and a certain degree of decisiveness.
You can tell by reading his answer that he moves, step-by-step, toward addressing all aspects and angles of the suspected suicide.
The candidate has demonstrated to the oral board panel that he would:
- Establish officer safety – not assuming it was a definite suicide.
- Protect life – where necessary, aid was applied.
- Preserve evidence – crime scene secured away from witnesses/suspects.
- Contact Chain-of-command – acknowledging and aware of command of power.
This is the kind of detailed, pragmatic answer the police interview panel want to hear. It is rich in detail; it explains the rationale behind the officer’s line of thinking, and it strikes the optimum balance between officer safety and preserving the scene of the crime.
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