When most people hear the word interrogation, they jump to the many negative connotations of the word and assume things such as verbal abuse are taking place behind the scenes. Thanks to the audio recordings of interrogations, the reality of the situation is finally revealed.
According to the El Paso County Colorado Sheriff’s Office:
“Recording ‘improves the image of the police in the eyes of the public. They see the fallacies shown on television are not what happens in real life.’”
Research bears this observation out as well. All around the country as criminal cases get brought to trial, attorneys and law enforcement alike are seeing the number of false confessions fall as recordings enable lawyers to quickly point out inconsistencies in confessions and recorded interrogations.
The challenge with unrecorded confessions and unrecorded testimony is that the observer, be it the jury, the prosecution or whomever, has little “proof” that the interrogating officer did not abuse the rights of the suspect through using coercive tactics or abusive approaches.
And this lack of knowledge, combined with the reality that some law enforcement officials do apply these means to extract confessions pave the way for Hollywood to color our ideas about how the law works, how justice is served and more—and this perception is often overtly negative, even if the suspect turns out to be guilty after all.
The great advantage of recording interrogations is that it keeps both the interrogation officer and the suspect accountable for what is said and what is done on “tape.” With this accountability, truth can be extracted more quickly and justice served.
If your law enforcement agency has not adopted an electronic recording system to capture testimony and more, we encourage you to get started today.
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