Albany County Sheriff’s Office gets $17.6K for video interrogation equipment

ALBANY COUNTY — The Albany County Sheriff’s Office will get $17,629 in federal funds for videotaping interrogations, the governor’s office announced on Wednesday.

A new state law will require police to record, on video, interrogations in serious felony cases,  including homicides and violent felony sex offenses.

More than $650,000 in grants is being awarded to help 28 local law enforcement agencies in 23 counties across the state either purchase recording equipment or replace existing systems that are either faltering or in need of upgrade.

“Video recording an interrogation protects the both the innocent and law enforcement alike,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a release from his office. “This funding will give prosecutors and local police agencies the resources they need to help protect their communities and create a fairer and more just criminal justice system for all.”

All 62 counties have at least one agency capable of video-recording interrogations. Since 2011, New York has provided more than $4.15 million to approximately 365 police agencies and prosecutors’ offices across the state for the purchase and installation of video-recording equipment. County district attorneys’ offices and local police agencies outside of New York City could apply for the grants, which are fully federally funded and administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Once the new state law takes effect on April 1, a failure to record interrogations in applicable cases could result in a court determining that a confession is inadmissible as evidence. The rule applies only to custodial interrogations at police stations, correctional facilities, prosecutor’s offices, and similar holding areas.

In anticipation of the law going into effect, the New York State Municipal Police Training Council issued a model policy, outlining how law enforcement agencies should properly record custodial interrogations. The Office of Public Safety at the Division of Criminal Justice Services staffs the Council and assists with developing model policies.

Properly video-recorded interrogations can ensure the reliability of evidence that is later presented at trial. Video-recorded interrogations are also an effective measure to prevent false confessions under coercion.


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