MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Police Department is joining the list of at least 22 counties or cities in Tennessee that use cameras to record interviews and interrogations.
Many defense attorneys told FOX13 that MPD should have started video recording suspects a long time ago, especially when the department got body cameras.
One local sheriff said he is both surprised and glad MPD is on board with so many other law enforcement agencies nationwide.
"Anytime you have video where you can show the judge and the jury what is going on. How you did your interview. How you collected your evidence and what you got on this case," said Bill Rasco, sheriff with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department.
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People in Memphis had believed MPD had cameras to record interviews after the series "First 48 on A &E."
One memorable scene on YouTube was then homicide Lt. Toney Armstrong interviewing mass murder suspect Jessie Dodson in May 2011.
Dodson was convicted and is now on death row. Those video cameras didn’t belong to MPD because the department did not have any.
"It boggles the minds of the jury that there is no camera in an interrogation room,” said Attorney Michael Working. “It is probably the most important moment in the case."
Memphis police are now installing their own video cameras and microphones in the interview rooms in the homicide division.
Multiple police sources told FOX3 the department is working out some issues with the new technology.
Working said MPD needs to get it fixed or risk losing cases.
“It is totally baffling that it has taken the Memphis Police Department this long," said Working.
At least 23 departments from Chattanooga to Nashville and even Shelby County Sheriff’s Office record interviews – Memphis will make 24.
The next place for the cameras and other recording devices will be at the precinct level.
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