Oakland police criticized for recording only parts of interrogations


An Oakland Tribune investigation published today has found that the Oakland, Calif., Police Department is alone in the Bay Area in its policy of tape recording only portions of interviews with suspects and witnesses. Two recent high-profile murder cases – including the murder of an Oakland Post editor – have bought Oakland Police practices under scrutiny, but police officials defended the practice, saying it allows them to better win the trust of the suspect or witness being interviewed.

Other local law enforcement agencies, which almost always tape entire interviews, disagree. The San Francisco Police Department records entire interrogations and has found that the practice has helped solve crimes.

"Recording is the best evidence, and we encourage it if at all possible," said homicide Lt. John Murphy with the San Francisco Police Department, which investigates an average of 85 homicides a year.

Read the full story here

. (Oakland Tribune, 12/18/07)

California does not have a state law requiring that law enforcement agencies record custodial interrogation. Does your state have a law?

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Read about the need for mandatory recording of interrogations.

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