Ahead of the Curve in Pennsylvania

Det. J.T. Spence of York PD PA kindly agreed to speak with Heidi Wells about why recording makes sense and how his department is using their new CaseCracker interview room recording solution.

HW: Pennsylvania currently does not have any laws regarding interview recording.  Your department has chosen to put in an interview room recording system anyway.  Can you tell me why? 

Det. Spence: Recording is the best thing that has ever happened to me when it comes to interviewing.  Having a visual and audio record of interviews takes away all doubt about what actually occurred during an interview.  No one can take a piece of your transcript notes out of context and say you coerced a suspect as it is all there in the recording.


HW: What makes CaseCracker your solution of choice or different from other systems you looked at? 

Det. Spence: We’ve had the system a short time so we are still figuring out how we want to use it.  But overall we like the simplicity of the user interface.  The guys can start and stop recording with a push of a button and we are trying to get them to use the flagging feature as well.  Right now the system is stand-alone but we plan on connecting it to our network as we think the ability to have officers review and annotate at their desktops will save everyone time.  We are also thinking about issuing CaseCracker only thumb drives so the detectives can easily export multiple interviews that relate to each case and burn them onto one DVD.


HW: When you have a high profile case is it useful to be able to have more than one detective view the interview while in progress? 

Det. Spence: Absolutely.  You never know what one guy might miss that another officer would notice.  In fact, we plan on connecting CaseCracker to our whiteboard video screen in the conference room so that groups can comfortably watch important interviews.  We sometimes text the officer conducting the interview with additional questions so it helps to be able to view together.