The district attorneys offices in Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Oswego counties have been awarded grants through the state Division of Criminal Justice Services for the purchase of equipment that will be used to record interviews on video.
The Jefferson County district attorneys office has been awarded $9,377.
The money will go to the Watertown Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department, according to a release from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomos office.
The money will be used to maintain or replace equipment, according to Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert.
Mrs. Intschert said she was very pleased with the award.
Its one less item to take care of out of local dollars, she said.
Jefferson County Undersheriff Paul W. Trudeau said the use of such equipment is evaluated on a case-by-case basis; it is not used in every interview.
St. Lawrence County will receive $15,200 and Oswego County $11,708 for the same programs.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve said this is the second round of funding the county has received.
Previously the county received approximately $30,000, which was distributed to the five full-time police departments in the county, Ogdensburg, Massena, Canton, Gouverneur and Potsdam, and the sheriffs department.
The second round of funding will allow part-time police agencies in Norwood and Norfolk to receive audio and video recording equipment so that they can record interviews with suspects. It also will go toward building an interview room at the sheriffs department and at the Potsdam Police Department.
The grant money was made available for the purpose of ensuring fairness in police interrogations and to ensure accuracy of statements and it is being used for that purpose, Ms. Duve said. Its a two-way window; it is also a safety measure for police to protect themselves against accusations by defendants. It ensures transparency and fairness in the process to both sides.