Nearly $700,000 in grants from the state will assist police agencies in the North Country and around the state to purchase or upgrade video systems to record interrogations, according to Gov. Cuomo.
The grants include $15,200 to be divided between the Potsdam, Norwood and Norfolk police departments, and the St. Lawrence County sheriff’s office.
“With these grants, New York State is giving local law enforcement the resources they need to enhance the integrity, fairness and effectiveness of our criminal justice system,” Governor Cuomo said.
New York State has invested more than $3 million to allow law enforcement agencies to purchase and install video recording equipment since the first grants were awarded in 2006. The grants will be administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
DCJS Executive deputy commissioner Michael C. Green, who tried cases in which video recorded interrogations were used as evidence, said, "Audio and video recording of interviews of suspects on serious cases is a powerful tool to help hold those who commit serious crimes responsible for their conduct and at the same time help prevent wrongful convictions.
The St. Lawrence County District Attorneys’ office will receive the grants and provide them to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
“The practice of video recording interrogations helps prevent wrongful convictions and at the same time, protects investigators from false allegations. These grants will provide an important and recognized tool to law enforcement agencies that will help better protect our communities, Cuomo said.”
In addition to administering the grant funds, the district attorney must partner with agencies to develop video recording protocols that detail, among other items, the types of crimes with which an individual is charged that would require the interview to be recorded.