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Grant to buy equipment to record suspect interviews

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Legislature this week accepted a $24,345 state grant to buy audiovideo equipment to be used by the District Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies to record interviews with suspects.

Tape recording, which has been a trend for large police agencies in recent years, has been used to quell courtroom disputes over whether interrogations were conducted legally.

District Attorney Michael J. Violante, who applied for the grant, said equipment will be sent to the Sheriff’s Office and to the Niagara Falls, Town of Niagara and Lewiston police departments.

The county’s three city police departments – Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport – already record interviews, but Niagara Falls has multiple interview rooms and needed more gear, Violante said.

Also accepted this week was a $121,880 state grant to fund a new case manager position with the Probation Department’s Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime program for 18 months, with two subsequent one-year renewal options.

The salary is $51,832 a year, and the remainder of the grant will cover fringe benefits and office equipment.