Videotaping as Part of Interviewing Best Practices

While some are still are undecided about whether recording a witness’s complete interview will potentially cause a witness to suppress information, the evidence that it protects the witness and can reduce false confessions has grown. Learn specific ways that videotaping when it comes to interrogations is being shown to help more than it “harms.”

What departments around the country are realizing now is what UCLA Professor Richard Leo succinctly stated to The Pittsburg Tribune Review and posted in in a recent article on the subject:

“Video recording of interrogations removes the secrecy of the interview and opens officers to scrutiny.” Leo’s research focuses on police interviewing practices.

“As a result, interrogators are less likely to use impermissible or questionable techniques, including the psychologically coercive and improper ones that are the primary cause of false confessions,” he adds. “Recording creates an objective, comprehensive, and reviewable record of an interrogation, making it unnecessary to rely on the incomplete, selective, and potentially biased accounts of the disputants over what occurred.”

So how is videotaping helping more than harming (as some critics argue)? Here are a few ways:

  • It’s protecting the accused. As Leo states, “interrogators are less likely to use impermissible or questionable techniques” when interrogating suspects
  • It creates a record. A video recording of an interrogation offers so much more than audio recordings or transcripts. It creates a record that is “objective, comprehensive and reviewable” in Leo’s words.
  • It resolves disputes. A video recording is easy to refer to when disputes arise over what was said during trial.
  • The public wants it. Regardless of how many critics there are who argue more confessions will be suppressed under video recording, stats are showing that convictions and speedier trials are resulting from its use. In fact, as the Pittsburg Tribune Review’s article Video Exalted as Interrogation Tool for Police points out, “nationwide, police use of videotaped interviews with suspects has grown in the decade since Illinois became the first state to require video-recorded interrogations in 2003. Since then, 17 states and the District of Columbia implemented similar requirements.” And this was as of December 2013.

If your law enforcement department is not convinced of the time, cost and resource savings that electronic recording systems offer, iRecord can run a product demo and even set up a free appointment to discuss the benefits and answer your questions today.

And if budget constraints are an obstacle, we have some solutions in mind and can discuss trading in your current system for one that is not only up-to-date but utilizes open source software, allowing you to share recordings easily and maintain updates without additional costs.

Contact us today to learn more!

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