ALBANY, N.Y. -- More than $70,000 is coming to Western New York, that officials hope to use to prevent wrongful convictions and protect investigators from false accusations.
The money will pay for recording equipment and video storage at the Buffalo, Tonawanda and Blasdell police departments. Some of the money will also go to the Wyoming and Allegany County District Attorney's offices for the same purposes.
The $70,000 is among more than $500,000 in grants has been awarded to New York’s law-enforcement agencies to purchase video recording and interrogation equipment.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Monday that a total of $508,492 would be given to 20 law enforcement agencies to purchase video recording equipment to ensure integrity during criminal investigations.
The Rochester Police Department will be the recipients of the largest amount of funding, $55,751, provided to any single law enforcement agency.
Also in the region, the Wyoming County District Attorney's Office will get $24,677.
"This equipment will aid law enforcement agencies across New York in helping to ensure justice is served, the rights of individuals are preserved and officers are protected," Cuomo said in a statement.
Half of the grant’s funding will come from Vance’s office.
The funds come from settlements with international banks violating U.S. sanctions, and the other half will be matched by federal funds from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Over $64,000 will be provided to the six police departments in the mid-Hudson region.
The Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office will get $5,204 from the grant.
The grants, combined with previous funding, total to over $3.5 million that the state has provided to police and prosecutors to support video recorded interrogations in recent years, the state said.
All 62 counties in the state have at least one law enforcement agency equipped with the technology to video record interrogation interviews, according to a statement from Cuomo’s office.
“These grants will enhance law enforcement's ability to solve crimes, but also prevent wrongful convictions and protect departments from the frivolous civil law suits that arise from unfounded claims of misconduct," Michael
Green, executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Criminal Justice Services, said in a statement.
Additionally, purchasing the equipment will allow law enforcement offices to increase the number of rooms available for taking statements and will increase the data storage capacity for existing equipment, state officials said.
Eligibility was available to police departments, sheriff’s offices and district attorney’s offices located outside of New York City.