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Rome Police proactive in advance of new law requiring agencies to video record interrogations

Posted 4/4/18

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the law requiring law enforcement agencies to video record custodial interrogations with individuals accused of serious crimes, including homicides …

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Rome Police proactive in advance of new law requiring agencies to video record interrogations

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ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the law requiring law enforcement agencies to video record custodial interrogations with individuals accused of serious crimes, including homicides and violent felony sex offenses, is now in effect. The law, originally passed as part of the governor’s criminal justice reforms in 2017, will help ensure the reliability of evidence that is later presented at trial and guard against false confessions.

“Recording interrogations can be critical in helping convict the guilty, free the wrongly accused and uphold faith and confidence in our criminal justice system,” Cuomo said. “I’m proud that this hard-fought reform is now in effect, bringing us one step closer to a more fair and more just New York for all.”

As of April 1, law enforcement investigators are required to video record interrogations of individuals accused of most serious non-drug felonies. The requirement applies only to custodial interrogations at police stations, correctional facilities, prosecutor’s offices, and similar holding areas.

Failure to record interrogations in applicable cases could result in a court determining that a confession is inadmissible as evidence, according to the new law.

The Rome Police Department has been video recording interrogations for years already.

“The new law doesn’t change anything that we don’t already do,” said department spokesman Detective Jeffrey M. Lanigan. Rome Police have several video interrogation rooms at the Justice Building on North James Street. “It’s already been procedure here at the Rome Police Department.”

The New York State Municipal Police Training Council has outlined how agencies should properly record custodial interrogations. The Council, with its members appointed by Cuomo, designs and approves model policies to help guide law enforcement agencies. The Office of Public Safety at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services staffs the Council and assists with developing model policies.

The model policy includes the steps law enforcement must take in advance of and during an interrogation, including recording Miranda warnings; finding an age-appropriate setting if juvenile is being interviewed; camera positioning; date and time stamping of the footage; identifying all parties present for the recording.

The model policy also discusses how to properly handle footage resulting from an interrogation.

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