Group wants to change police interrogations

July 21, 2010 4:06:42 PM PDT
The way police do interrogations could be changing. The Innocence Project of Texas is pushing a plan to get law enforcement to record every second of suspect questioning, but officers say the proposed mandate is absolutely unnecessary. This measure had some legs to it during the last legislative session. Supporters say all they are asking for are full, truthful recordings. Opponents say state lawmakers have no business deciding that.

Interrogations are critical to authorities conducting criminal investigations and in some cases they end with the suspect confessing. Yet, police admit they don't always record them from start to finish.

"More or less we tell them what to expect, the areas they're going be talking about, so that you're not ambushing them," said Mark Clark, Executive Director of the Houston Police Officers' Union.

The debate over whether to change that method is about to be reignited and The Innocence Project of Texas is once again leading the charge. The group believes aggressive law enforcement tactics often cause innocent people to confess to crimes they did not commit.

"You put it all out there and then the jury or a judge can see what really happened instead of what the state wants to say happened," said Jeff Blackburn of The Innocence Project of Texas.

The HPOU says it's unnecessary and strongly opposes such a measure. The police union believes departmental policy should dictate how interrogations are conducted, not state law.

"We're not going to lie, we're not going to cheat in order to make a case," said Clark.

The Innocence Project says it's committed to this cause and is pushing so hard for change because police have proven they can't always be trusted to do the right thing.

"If they were honest and they were doing this anyway, they shouldn't care whether there's a state law or not," said Blackburn.

So what do you think? You can vote in our poll above and tell us what you think in the comments below.


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