Videotaped interrogations may one day be standard practice everywhere

As Justin Fenton reports for the Baltimore Sun, the policy of videotaping interrogations has been a “long-resisted move,” but one that the Baltimore Police Department is seriously looking into. It got its start with sex-offense unit reforms, videotaping interviews of alleged victims of sex offenses.

Not every police agency in Maryland employs videotaping, but there are now 42, and one sheriff said, “It’s pretty much standard for progressive law-enforcement agencies. People are finding out that the things Hollywood portrays really don’t take place.”

Whether or not that’s true, the general consensus seems to be in favor of videotaping. Fenton reports that the Baltimore public defender’s office and the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office both support it.

While Baltimore County police have “long taped” interviews, other agencies, like the Baltimore Police Department, are only now just exploring taping options. “I’m committed to doing this,” says Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III, as Fenton reports. “But it’s not as simple as going to Radio Shack and bolting a camera into the wall.”