innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

City to Consider Cameras in Police Interrogation Room

This article appeared in the Baltimore Sun on September 26, 2006:

City to consider cameras in police interrogation rooms

Metro Digest

The Baltimore Police Department has deployed cameras on some of the city's most crime-ridden streets, but it does not have similar surveillance devices inside interrogation rooms.

Now, with officers facing accusations of misconduct, Council President Sheila Dixon wants to discuss the department's policy on internal monitoring.

Dixon introduced a resolution last night inviting Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm to explain his department's policy "on the use of video and audio recording in custodial interrogations." She wants the hearing to analyze how cameras can prevent wrongful convictions and protect officers from false accusations.

Police Department spokesman Matt Jablow said there are no cameras in interrogation rooms.
"It's not a policy," Jablow said. "That's just how it's always been."

Dixon said the department has sent her a draft policy from the 1970s that requires another officer to be present during an interrogation.

"We need to come into the 21st century," said Dixon, adding that if officers are doing their jobs properly they should have no problem with the cameras.

"It provides more accountability," Dixon said.

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