LAW140 - Interviewing and Communications in Law Enforcement

Outline info
Last revision date Dec 22, 2019 10:13:52 AM
Last review date Dec 22, 2019 10:13:52 AM

Subject Title
Interviewing and Communications in Law Enforcement

Subject Description
The majority of crimes are solved through the routine task of interviewing witnesses, victims and suspects. This course will examine the basic investigative skills and communication techniques required to support law enforcement investigations.  In this course, students will study effective communication techniques (oral and written) and will develop the capability to accurately record the various forms of information used in investigative inquiries.  Students will practice the information recording methods used by law enforcement and security professionals such as the field notebook and incident report.  In both the interviewing and investigative processes, practical exercises are used to help students develop the ability to generate concise and effective reports that reflect the professional and legal standards required for investigative inquiries.  

Credit Status
This is a Police Foundations program prescribed credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Identify information contained in the notebook - phonetic code, wordings for arrest, rights cautions
2. Demonstrate proficiency in note-book taking skills by recording hypothetical situations and accurately transferring the information to operational reports.
3. Identify various types and writing styles used in police and security occurrence reports.
4. Describe accurately, in report format, facts, investigative actions, events, people, places and objects
5. Discuss various electronic information systems and related information, e.g. CPIC, OPPPAC, and the security and confidentiality issues surrounding such access.
6. Conduct interviews with witnesses/victims and evaluate the information obtained.
7. Determine information to be included in a news release and demonstrate proficiency in a mock news release presented in front of the class.

Academic Integrity
Seneca upholds a learning community that values academic integrity, honesty, fairness, trust, respect, responsibility and courage. These values enhance Seneca's commitment to deliver high-quality education and teaching excellence, while supporting a positive learning environment. Ensure that you are aware of Seneca's Academic Integrity Policy which can be found at: Review section 2 of the policy for details regarding approaches to supporting integrity. Section 2.3 and Appendix B of the policy describe various sanctions that can be applied, if there is suspected academic misconduct (e.g., contract cheating, cheating, falsification, impersonation or plagiarism).

Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

Notebooks and notebook entries
10 codes and phonetic alphabet
Charter wordings
Introduction to report writing/report writing system
General Occurrence Report
Structured sequence of narrative
Basis for a good narrative/media release issues
Witness/victim interviewing.

Mode of Instruction
Classroom lecture, films, practical exercise and group discussion will be the primary methods of instruction.

Prescribed Texts

  • MacKinnon, G. (2010). Investigative Interviewing.  2nd ed., Old Village Press, ISBN#9780968169919
  • Memo book
  • Memo book cover (optional)

Student Progression and Promotion Policy

Grading Policy

A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices. (

Modes of Evaluation

Memo book notes to report 10%
Interview witness and provide statements 15%
Evaluation of Information and develop report 10%
Memo book scenario 10%
Midterm Exam 20%
News and Press Release 5%
Alternate Assessment (Final weeks) 30%

Approved by: Gary Galbraith