MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION
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An ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to electronic recording of interrogations.
On behalf of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, we write to oppose Senate bill S 7877 and Assembly bill A 5213-A, which would amend the Criminal Procedure Law, in relation to electronic recording of interrogations, and urge that it not be enacted by the Legislature.
The proposal requires videotaping of all custodial interrogations of the 170,000 felons arrested annually. The fiscal implications of the bill are enormous. Failure to record a custodial statement could result in the suppression of an otherwise reliable statement by a defendant.
The scope of the proposal is also of great concern. In the definition sections related to Custodial Interrogation and Place of Detention would preclude most on-scene or squad car questioning of suspects. Clearly, the delay in questioning a suspect in many unfolding crimes will prove detrimental to a successful investigation and may delay the critical concern of first responding officers to locate additional crime victims, or ascertain the presence of weapons, or to facilitate the setting up of a sterile crime scene to gather forensic evidence. Any legislation that impedes this primary law enforcement mission runs contrary to sound public policy.
Using funding that was briefly made available by the State, many counties throughout New York State have already begun voluntary pilot programs videotaping interrogations. Twenty-nine counties and the NYPD either have or are developing videotaping pilot programs. Funding for additional pilot programs would be far more helpful than a rigid, one-size-fits-all statewide unfunded mandate with suppression sanctions for failure to comply.
Since this bill would result in serious fiscal implications and be a detriment to successful investigation procedures, we strongly urge that it not be enacted into law.
New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.