Andra Chamberlin, a trainer with the National Children’s Advocacy Center, led the day-long seminar, which focused on interview techniques officers can use when interviewing children who have been physically or sexually abused.
“This is a room full of experienced and knowledgeable individuals, and the interaction has been interesting,” Chamberlin said during the group’s lunch break. “This class is designed to help them by providing interview techniques that can be used in dealing with children, but most of the techniques are valuable in interviewing any age.”
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said training is valuable for any member of law enforcement.
“We want to be able to offer training seminars like this on a fairly regular basis,” he said. “Andra Chamberlain is a nationally respected expert that has trained hundreds of members of law enforcement. We appreciate her being here, and I know everyone here will leave with a better grasp on interviewing children.”
Adair said members of every police department in the county were present at the seminar as well as members of the Walker County Department of Human Resources.
“I’ve already gotten positive feedback from some of the people here,” he said. “Many have said they are working cases now that this will be beneficial toward. This training will certainly be helpful in the future, but it can also be helpful right now.”
During the seminar, Chamberlin spoke on issues including interrogations versus child forensic interviews, asking the right questions, how effective rapport gets information, why kids don’t remember, disclosure to recantation, custody issues and false allegations.
“This seminar covered a wide area of topics, but they all were meant to help us better communicate with children,” Adair said. “Interviewing a child is very different from interviewing an adult. I believe some of the information today has been invaluable to our local law enforcement.”