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State pushes videotaping of police interrogations

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants police interrogations of suspects to be recorded and he's putting up $1 million in state funding to encourage it. While TV programs often show interrogations being videotaped, there are a lot of police departments, including Buffalo, which don't, relying on handwritten or typed statements. 

The governor says around 345 law enforcement agencies across the state videotape statements. There are more than 500 police agencies across the state.

Trial lawyer Terry Connors says videotaping presents a different view to juries.

"It represents an exact replica of what was said and it captures more than just the words. It captures demeanor. It captures the way an individual presents themselves. There is a host of advantages over a standard pen and pencil question and answer," Connors says.

Trials routinely include videotape of crimes today and many courtrooms have been rebuilt to include large TV screens. If all interrogations were recorded, juries and trials would be able to listen to a story and look at the body language and everything else involved in making a statement.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says his department is considering videotape and might take advantage of the Albany money.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.