NYPD to Record More Interrogations
NYPD Police Commissioner is crediting CSI with motivating him to have his officers video record more interrogations. He says jurors have come to expect it, and so they plan to deliver. The department already records some interrogations, but they are branching out—expecting to record many more.
Under a pilot program, two precincts began recording interrogations of felony assault suspects in 2010. Last month that program was expanded to five precincts. Soon, under Kelly’s proposal, it will expand to all 76 of the city’s precincts.
The majority of departments within the state of New York already record their interrogations. According to ABC News, 341 of the 509 departments in New York require recordings. Eighteen states including D.C. also require recorded interviews.
Eugene O’Donnell of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice says the move is about building public trust for the Commissioner. He says cameras are a good thing, even for the cops. “They have actually had a positive impact because they are mostly acting properly on the street and in station houses. After [officers] get used to cameras, they tend to embrace them because they [cameras] vindicate them.”
Kelly says the cameras are a win-win. “Recording can aid not only the innocent, the defense and the prosecution, but also enhance public confidence in the criminal justice system.”
Of course, the union is opposed to the idea, stating that the cameras would help criminals by giving them tips on what to expect in an interrogation, or by making jurors sensitive to the criminals if the police use particularly harsh approaches in their questioning.
Still, the plan is to get the cameras up and working in coming months. First, equipment must be installed and training must occur. A $3 million grant from the NYC Police Foundation will be funding the move.
Cameras are a win-win. They keep everyone accountable. Unfortunately, even with cameras, the police are allowed to use some pretty questionable tactics when questioning an individual. Many people don’t realize that the cops are allowed to lie during an interrogation. If they think it will help, they can tell you they have all sorts of evidence against you, even if that isn’t the case. While they cannot violate your rights, they can skate around them.
Fortunately, when you are accused of a crime, you have the right to an attorney. Your defense lawyer is there to assist you in fighting the charges, no matter the evidence.