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Protect suspects and police

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 police custody and accused of serious crimes such as murder or rape.

It seems like a no-brainer that such a requirement would protect both the suspects and the officers involved. With a physical record of the proceedings, there would be no questions about what was said and whether those comments were coerced in some way.

But according to a 2012 study only about half of Buckeye State law enforcement departments regularly record interrogations.

If the bill passes, officers will also have to record interrogations of suspects charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, attempted rape and sexual battery.

Of course, that means there will be requests for funding to purchase proper equipment to both record and preserve that data. But in our view, those would be dollars well spent to ensure the rights of the accused and to protect the investigators from allegations of wrongdoing as well.

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. The bill should be approved.

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