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Interrogation recording is good idea

Once in a while a piece of legislation is introduced that makes the general public ask, “Wait, we weren’t doing that already?”

Ohio lawmakers have just such a proposal in front of them now, in the state Senate. It would make mandatory the recording of interrogations of individuals in custody and accused of serious crimes like murder or rape. It seems a no-brainer that such a requirement would protect both suspects and the officers involved in the interrogation.

But according to a 2012 study only about half of departments that responded to a survey recorded interrogations.

“We should be at 100 percent,” Niki Clum, legislative liaison for the Ohio Public Defender, told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

If the bill is passes, officers will also have to record interrogations of suspects charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, attempted rape and sexual battery. That means there will be requests for funding for proper equipment to both record and preserve that data, but it is well worth the expense.

It shouldn’t take much discussion to get full support on this one, folks. It is a bipartisan effort that serves both the law enforcement agencies and suspects in protecting them from false allegations later.

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