Why Do Some States Have Mandated Interview Recording and Others Don’t?

The requirement to record interviews in a criminal or investigative context varies from state to state. In fact, you can find differing policies even from one jurisdiction to another. That’s why agencies need to remain informed. Following the proper protocols can help ensure that you remain compliant. Even better, some agencies are choosing to go above and beyond, recording their interrogations every time, no matter their local regulations.

Policy Differences for Recording Interview Evidence

Introduced on September 26, 2023, the Federal Accountability in Interviews Reform Act (H.R. 5736), as referred to as the “FAIR Act,” calls for the mandatory recording of interviews conducted by officers and employees of Federal law enforcement agencies. The requirements apply to any custodial and non-custodial interview, but would not pertain to communication with a confidential informant. If approved, these measures could have the potential to strengthen the validity of our justice system in many ways. But the question of state-by-state legal action would still remain, which can make it difficult to have consistent legal accountability across the country.

Although federal law may require certain interviews to be recorded in specific contexts, such as interrogations in federal criminal cases, it’s important to remember that states have different legal systems and law enforcement policies. As such, some states choose to prioritize the use of recorded interviews, while others do not.

The willingness of lawmakers to introduce and pass such legislation can widely vary from state to state. But that doesn’t mean agencies can’t hold themselves to a higher standard. Individual law enforcement agencies can still have their own policies and practices in place regarding the recording of interviews. It’s a great way to ensure that the most accurate and reliable evidence is being delivered to the court. That’s why more and more agencies are adopting their own policies, whether or not it’s been mandated by the state.

Interview Recording and Law Enforcement Culture

The decision to mandate interview recording is definitely complex. Each jurisdiction has its own combination of legal, financial, cultural, and policy factors that need to be considered. When you boil it down, though, the culture within law enforcement agencies is often what plays the most significant role in determining whether interview recording is mandated.

If there is already a strong culture of transparency and a commitment to best practices, mandating recording for custodial interviews is a natural next step. Other times, it’s reviewing the public perception, advocacy claims, and political pressure that will drive changes in law enforcement policies. No matter the reason for making the switch to a reliable interview recording system, our team at iRecord is here to help!

Simplify Your Process with an iRecord Solution

The biggest barrier for agencies to upgrade to a modern interview room with onsite audio video recording equipment tends to be related to finances. It’s no secret that mandating interview recording often requires new resources, and with tight budget constraints, agencies with limited funds may be less inclined to make recording interviews standard practice. Fortunately, there are solutions.

Every year, federal and state grants are offered that can accommodate new agency recording solutions. If the associated costs are standing in your way of upgrading your process, please know that we can help you both identify the relevant grant opportunities and guide you through the grant application process to submit a winning proposal.

It all starts with a quick consultation. Send us a message to learn more about our integrated solutions with a demo. We’d be happy to connect

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