Nassau police will receive over $205,000 in grant money designed to help purchase videotaping equipment to better document interrogations of suspects in custody, state officials said.
The Long Beach Police Department, which is scheduled to receive $9,169, is the only other Long Island law enforcement agency among the 20 that are receiving the funding statewide this year.
Nassau will receive $205,233, or more than 40 percent of the total $508,492 grant. The next highest amount, $55,751, was awarded to the Rochester Police Department. Carmel, in the Mid-Hudson region, will receive the smallest award, $4,849.
“This equipment will aid law enforcement agencies across New York in helping to ensure justice is served, the rights of individuals are preserved and officers are protected,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement announcing the funding. “Through this collaborative effort we are taking action to increase confidence in the criminal justice system and making this a more fair New York for all.”
The money is earmarked for the first-time purchase and installation of video equipment. As much as $3.5 million already has been granted to other New York law enforcement agencies.
“Society has become so enamored with videotaping that juries are expecting it at every step,” said Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney, adding his officers do things the old-fashioned way now, taking statements with pen and paper. “This is going to be a very good tool for us.”
Half of the grant money is supplied through asset-forfeiture funds secured through settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions, the remainder through federal funds distributed through the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, officials said.
“Clear video footage taken during an interrogation can help prevent a wrongful conviction or protect investigators from false accusations,” DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said in a prepared statement. “These grants will enhance law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes, but also prevent wrongful convictions and protect departments from the frivolous civil law suits that arise from unfounded claims of misconduct.”