While many law enforcement agencies require their officers to record interviews with suspects, a new bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder makes it mandatory for all departments in the State of Michigan to do so.

Video CameraAccording to The Macomb Daily, the law, which took effect on March 28, 2013, “… requires the recording for police departments armed with the proper equipment as outlined by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. Most large police departments in Macomb County are equipped and already record most interviews, while smaller departments are less likely to have the proper equipment. The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and Clinton Township police are among those who already record interviews.”

Macomb County’s situation is similar many throughout the State, and smaller departments shouldn’t have much of a problem outfitting their facilities with the proper audio and video recording equipment. Richmond Sgt. Tim Fair said, “We’ll probably add the equipment. I don’t think it will entail a whole lot of added expense.”

To a make it easier for departments to comply with the law, the Michigan legislature is expected to approve a funding bill that would supply agencies with the necessary funds. The law was sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Paw Paw and received support from both prosecution and defense lawyers alike, because it protects both sides. And while it had a nearly universal support, the law doesn’t come without drawbacks according to some people. Criminal defense attorney James Galen believes the there needs to be harsher penalties for those officers who do not comply with the law.

He told The Macomb Daily that “from a pure defense-attorney side, I would like to have seen a greater penalty.” He added that “you’re always going to have someone who doesn’t want to follow a rule.”

What do you think?

Do you think the new legislation is a good idea? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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