The New York Police Department will begin videotaping all post-arrest statements given to detectives, making it the largest police department in the country to do so. "Recording can aid not only the innocent, the defense and the prosecution but also enhance public confidence in the criminal justice system by increasing transparency as to what was said and done when the suspect agreed to speak with the police," Commissioner Ray Kelly told a crowd at the Carnegie Council this morning. "Furthermore, electronic recordings may help lessen the concern about false confessions and provide an objective and reliable record of what occurred during an interview."
That last bit might save the city money: according to a WNYC report, last year alone $186.3 million was paid out in judgements against the NYPD, $50 million more than in 2010, and another $180 million is expected to be paid out in the next fiscal year. The NYPD announced two years ago that it had begun a pilot program for filming interrogations and statements, but as of last month, only five of the department's 76 Precincts had the technology.
Kelly said the NYPD is seeking a grant of $3 million to begin the project, and noted that the process will be "a major undertaking, but one to which we are firmly committed." Kelly did not offer a timetable for when the initiative would be finished.