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WDKX.com » Blog » Agencies Get Funding For Interrogation Video Equipment
Jul 18th 2013 6:27 am
Agencies Get Funding For Interrogation Video Equipment

After police arrest a suspect for criminal activity, the next step is a lengthy interview where investigators attempt to get information and hopefully a confession.
A majority of law enforcement agencies in New York State, including all in Monroe County, video record those interrogations.

Former district attorney Mike Green, now the Executive Deputy Director of the State Department of Criminal Justice, says showing a video interview to a jury can be the key to getting a conviction.

"It's one thing for an investigator, no matter how good that investigator is, to come in and first of all try to remember everything that was said in the room, and secondly to try to convey all the subtleties of how someone was acting and circumstances. It's so much easier, so much better, so much more accurate to be able to just show the jury and say 'here it is,'" Green said.

Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department agrees. He says some agencies may be leery of implementing this technology because of tricks investigators use to get information from suspects. He believes the video will show that detectives go about their job with integrity.

"A lot of times when you go to trial, that's the thing that really convinces the jury of someone's guilt is the fact that they see the process, they see how you went through your interviews, they saw how you treated the individual, so that's also a plus. As you know, sometimes people say you did things to them in the interview room that made them confess, made them give it up. Well, the video will tell the truth," Sheppard said.

Currently, there are four counties in New York State where there is no videotaping of interrogations. The plan is to make sure every agency across the state has this technology.

For the most part, those without video equipment are smaller departments in rural areas, including Seneca County. Green says it costs about $5,000 to set up an interview room with cameras and recording devices and that may be a reason why some police departments don't record.

"What we heard from law enforcement is the number one reason why they weren't recording was resources, they didn't have the resources to purchase equipment and outfit the interview rooms in a way that was necessary," Green said. "The hope is that with this $1 million (it) will be enough for all of those departments, 150 to 200 departments that don't have it yet, to get equipment," Green said.

It's also recommended that district attorneys partner with police agencies to develop video recording protocols.