As of January 1, Indiana Rule of Evidence 617 came into effect, requiring all interviews done while a subject is in custody to be recorded both in audio and video in order to be submitted as evidence.
For Decatur County, coming into compliance received a helping hand in the form of a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in the amount of $9,984. The funding flows to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute from the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant under the United States Department of Justice, Decatur County Sheriff's Sgt. Robert Duckworth explained. Using this grant funding, a video and audio recording system has been installed at the Decatur County Jail that meets the state's evidentiary requirements.
The total cost of the system is $14,000, Duckworth noted, and the difference will be absorbed through a lease-to-own program. The system digitally records multiple video angles in the same room and catalogues
the recordings for use as evidence, he explained. It was installed at the Decatur County Jail in order to enable access by all agencies working in the county. Not only have the Sheriff's Department deputies been trained to use it, but also the Greensburg and Indiana State Police detectives, Duckworth noted.
ÒWe received this grant in order to make this resource available for all Decatur County Agencies,Ó Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen said.
Duckworth noted it is yet another example of how acting as a team can increase the effectiveness of everyone's efforts. This is shown not only through this grant but also in the Decatur County Traffic Safety
Partnership, which works with the Indiana State Police to ramp up enforcement on the county's roadways during strategic portions of the year.