Most people don’t enjoy talking to police officers, because these conversations often unfold as a result of misconduct or suspected misconduct. If you’re pulled over, if you’re being interrogated, or if you’re just being interviewed, it pays to know how to talk to police officers – because even a single mistake could land you in serious trouble.
First, an important disclaimer: the context of your conversation matters. There’s no real reason to treat police officers as the enemy when you’re interacting with them in normal circumstances. If they’re standing in line in front of you for coffee, you probably don’t need to apply all the advice we’re about to go over.
The same is true if you’re walking past a police officer on the street or if you know a police officer personally. Most of the advice we’re about to dispense should be employed only when you are under suspicion of a crime, when you’re being interviewed or interrogated, or when your interaction with the police officer feels more serious and formal.
Golden Rules for Interacting With Police Officers
If you’re talking to a police officer in an official capacity, these are some of the golden rules you should follow.
- Don’t talk. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question (with a handful of very limited exceptions). One of the goals of a police officer interrogating a subject is to extract a confession or at least glean more information as quickly as possible; they’ll employ a barrage of different tactics to try and get you to admit to something.
Anything you say is going to be recorded and remembered, so even the tiniest slipup could be used against you. That’s why the best advice is to just remain silent as much as possible. If a police officer asks you a question, remember that you don’t have to answer. Don’t volunteer any information, even if you feel compelled to do so. The more you talk, the more vulnerable you’re going to make yourself, and the more you remain silent, the more power you’re going to have.
- Understand your rights. Upon arrest, you’ll usually be read your Miranda rights – a set of personal rights to which every individual is entitled under these conditions. Listen closely to these rights or learn what they are before you’re ever arrested. You should also understand that if you’re not under arrest, and if you’re not being detained, you may be free to leave. Make sure to ask police officers for clarity about whether you’re being arrested and whether you’re being detained.
- Don’t talk without a lawyer present. If you’re being interrogated by the police, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer and get them by your side as soon as possible. Everyone has a right to have a lawyer present. Your lawyer’s job is to mediate this interaction as much as possible, making sure that police officers obey the law and that you’re treated fairly. They’ll also be able to contextualize the questions that police officers are asking and provide you with advice on how to answer those questions. Without this professional guidance, it may be easy to incriminate yourself.
- Remain polite. Some of the advice in this guide treats police officers as if they are an enemy, and in some ways, they are. But it’s still a good idea to remain as polite as possible. Being polite, calm, and friendly during your interactions with police officers will likely encourage them to remain friendly with you and treat you fairly throughout this experience. If you antagonize police officers, swearing at them or insulting them, they’re going to be more motivated to put you away.
- Never admit to anything. In some ways, this is redundant with the first point of this article, but it bears repeating: never admit to anything. Don’t admit that you committed a crime. Don’t admit your whereabouts. Every admission is a way of boxing yourself in.
- Don’t believe threats or promises. Police officers are obligated to tell you the truth. They’ll often use threats or promises to encourage different types of behavior. If a police officer says that you’re going to go to prison for a long time, or if they promise that they can eliminate the risk of a prison sentence if you just confess, don’t believe what they say. Listen to your lawyer.
- Don’t lie. Avoid lying to the police. If police officers catch you in a lie, they can use this information against you. It may also make them more motivated to investigate you further.
Hopefully, you won’t have to interact with police officers beyond making small talk when you run into one in innocuous circumstances. But if you do end up being interrogated or investigated, you now have the tools and concepts necessary to get through it without making things worse on yourself.
This is Rohan, I’m a Digital marketing Expert, Full time Content Writer and founder of BoxerTechnology.com I can help people across the world through my articles. I am sharing the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.