States Tell Police To Turn On The Camera
Law enforcement officials in Illinois are rushing to comply with a new state law that requires police to record their in-house interrogations with suspected killers. The law, the first of its kind nationally, was shepherded through the Illinois Statehouse two years ago. Since then, similar legislation has passed in Maine, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia. At least 15 states have considered similar measures this year, and comparable court-ordered regulations are in place in Minnesota and Alaska.
Supporters say the technique helps prevent false confessions while giving police a concrete piece of evidence in court.
Illinois officials warn, however, that statehouses should consider the resources needed to make these laws work. Sheri Mecklenburg, general counsel to the superintendent of the Chicago police department, estimates it will cost upwards of $4 million for Chicago alone to implement the system.
“It’s a costly endeavor and hopefully it will be worth it,” she said. “But states have to realize they must appropriate funds for this.”
Illinois is spending an additional $1.4 million for agencies outside of Chicago, state officials report.
Some state and local law enforcement agencies have resisted the efforts, saying the recordings are unnecessary, expensive, or both.
This year, at least 15 states have considered related measures. Recently, lawmakers in Wisconsin pledged a similar bill in the wake of a disputed interrogation that contributed to the dismissal of a homicide case against a former police officer.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Stateline.org (05/04/05)