Serving the city of York, Pennsylvania, a population of over 44,000, the York PD takes pride in holding itself to the highest standards, seeking innovative solutions to peace-keeping and crime prevention, often going above and beyond state requirements to get the job done. One of the most effective tools they have in their arsenal is an interview recording system from CaseCracker, which helps the department fulfill their mission of nurturing public trust “by holding [themselves] to the highest standards of performance and ethics.”
Although Pennsylvania doesn’t currently have any laws requiring mandatory custodial interview recording, Captain J.T. Spence and his colleagues consider it a departmental requirement, with Spence even going so far as to call interview recording the “best thing that’s ever happened” to him. What he appreciates most about a reliable interview recording solution is its elimination of subjectivity in the courtroom. “Having a visual and audio record of an interview takes away all doubt about what actually occurred. No one can take a piece of your transcript notes out of context and say you coerced a suspect as it’s all there in the recording.”
Investigators have enough on their plates without having to worry about technology complicating tasks it intends to make easier—a problem familiar to Spence. He and his department value the simplicity of CaseCracker’s user interface, including push-of-a-button start/stop recording as well as its flagging feature. However, simplicity doesn’t mean the system can’t be customized. Spence reveals plans to tailor it specifically to departmental needs and preferences, including connecting the system to their own network. “The ability to have officers review and annotate footage at their desktops [instead of at the standalone unit] will save everyone time.” The department also wants to implement CaseCracker-only USB drives that will allow detectives to easily export multiple interviews related to one case and burn them to a single DVD. The ability to streamline the interview process to their individual needs has been invaluable to the department.
Another reason Spence and the York PD find value in recording their interviews is that it allows them to collaborate. Gone are the days of watching a suspect through a one-way mirror, unable to communicate with the officer inside. When it comes to important interviews, Spence and the York PD feel this is a key feature of a system like CaseCracker’s. “You never know what one guy might miss that another officer would notice,” he says, adding that they plan to connect the system to a whiteboard video screen in their conference room. From there, officers can comfortably work together and text questions and thoughts to the interviewer in real time. With more eyes and more perspectives on high-profile cases, York PD can expect even greater success rates due to their collaborative, forward-thinking practices and policies.