Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Suffolk County Moving to Videotaped Interviews of Suspects

The best way to ensure reliability of police statements is videotaping. Now, Suffolk County Police have announced that they will begin videotaping interrogations. (Full article here).
Following a growing movement sweeping much of the nation and a high-profile case that attracted attention to the need to record suspects’ statements, Suffolk County is set to begin videotaping interrogations in homicide cases, a move many praised as a long-delayed step that could both protect the innocent and provide clearer proof of guilt.

County Executive Steve Levy and Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said police had installed a digital system that would make good on a pledge they made several years to begin taping these interrogations.

In a joint statement, the officials said the “new system should protect detectives from accusations of misconduct and from accusations of coerced confessions or misconstrued statements.”

But police departments’ use of video also could protect suspects whose statements are made under duress, taken out of context, exaggerated or altered, which many viewed as at least as important.

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