Five Capital Region counties have been awarded more than $90,000 in grants to either purchase or upgrade video equipment used to record police interrogations.
The governor’s office announced the awards this week, noting the practice of recording police questioning of suspects enhances the fairness and effectiveness of the system.
Several local agencies, including some in Schenectady County, have recorded interrogations for several years.
In Schenectady County, agencies started recording questioning of suspects in 2008. The videos have since become a mainstay at trials and helped bring about resolutions of cases.
The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office was awarded a total of $20,000 to cover upgrades at the Glenville, Rotterdam, Schenectady and Scotia police departments.
The Albany County District Attorney’s Office received the largest grant, $48,613, for upgrades to 10 departments.
Justin Devendorf, media coordinator for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, said the money is to be used to upgrade the equipment and help give agencies easier access to the interviews with a centralized system. He said they are now working with vendors to determine when the equipment can be installed.
“We’re very excited,” Devendorf said.
In all, district attorneys’ offices in 29 counties statewide were awarded nearly $700,000. The grants are to be administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.
The grants will bring to about 400 the number of police agencies statewide that will be recording interviews. New York state has more than 500 police and sheriff’s departments in total, officials said.
More than $3 million in grants have been awarded to help law enforcement agencies purchase and install recording equipment since the grants were first created in 2006.
Other counties receiving grants in the Capital Region were Fulton County, $13,335; Saratoga County, $25,000; and Schoharie County, $8,724.