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Mandatory Interrogation Recording Could Improve All Sides of Law Enforcement

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The U.S. Department of Justice has decided law enforcement agencies including the FBI, DEA and ATF must electronically record interrogations of people in custody. What could this mean for the future of law enforcement since some of these agencies have been resistant to this change in the past?

University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Harris said many local and state law enforcement agencies have already been using recordings for interrogations. 

“They know there’s a better way. Once you’ve tried doing this, once you’ve used recordings in court. It’s crazy not to, because it improves the process.”

Harris added the recordings will not only reduce court time, law enforcement may get more guilty pleas, and being able to look back on interviews will reveal more information that may have been forgotten from the initial interview.

"Law enforcement will be able to know that the entire thing is being recorded so they won’t have to constantly duck down into papers and take notes,” said Harris.

For the agencies that are resistant to the new practice, such as the FBI, Harris remembered on officer in Minnesota who once said, “Recording interrogations was the best reform that was ever shoved down our throats.”

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