For more than half a century, something called the Reid technique has been a primary police interrogation method for getting confessions from suspects. It includes repeated accusations of guilt, the presentation of real or invented evidence and a slow build-up of pressure that makes admitting a crime seem like the easiest way out. One of the largest police consulting firms, which has trained hundreds of thousands of cops and federal agents at almost every major agency, said it is dropping the Reid technique because of the risk of false confessions, The Marshall Project reports.
Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, which says it has worked with a majority of U.S. police departments, said it will stop training detectives in the method it has taught since 1984. “Confrontation is not an effective way of getting truthful information,” said Shane Sturman, president and CEO. “This was a big move for us, but it’s a decision that’s been coming for quite some time. More and more of our law enforcement clients have asked us to remove it from their training based on all the academic research showing other interrogation styles to be much less risky.” Northwestern University law Prof. Steven Drizin said, “This is big news in the interrogation world.” John E. Reid & Associates, which licenses the Reid method, did not respond to a request for comment. “At some point, the technique itself has to take responsibility,” said Saul Kassin, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “What Wicklander-Zulawski has realized is that once you start down the road of using trickery and deception, the misuses are inherent in that.”