7.110 - Recorded Statements

Effective Date: 10/01/2020

7.110-POL

This policy applies to all employees in the creation and preservation of audio recorded statements.

This policy does not apply to technologies governed by the issuance of a search warrant.  See Manual Section 6.185 Search Warrants.

Employees trained in the use the Axon Capture will use this mobile application on Department-issued smartphones to create and preserve audio statements. Employees will upload audio recorded statements into Evidence.com.

This policy does not apply to in-car and body-worn video. See 16.090 In-Car and Body-Worn Video.

1. Sworn Employees May Take Recorded Statements

Sworn employees may take recorded statements from people involved in an investigation in accordance with RCW 9.73 and Manual Section 6.060 Collection of Information for Law Enforcement Purposes.

See 7.110-TSK-1

2. Employees Will Use Axon Capture or Digital Audio Recorders to Record Audio Statements

Employees will use Axon Capture installed on Department-issued smart phones or digital audio recorders as the primary recording devices for audio statements.

Audio statements captured with Axon Capture and digital audio recorders will be tagged with case information and uploaded to Evidence.com. See 7.110 TSK - 2

Exception: Sworn employees who have been issued a body-worn camera and who have completed body-worn video training may utilize body-worn video to record statements in exigent circumstances when Axon Capture and digital audio recorders are unavailable. The exigency will be documented in the report.  

Exception: Sworn employees who have completed in-car video training may use the system to take recorded video statements of people placed in the rear passenger seat. Employees will not use the in-car video system to record statements outside of the vehicle.  

If statements are collected via one of the above exceptions, officers will tag the video with the related report number, document in the report that the statement was collected via in-car or body-worn camera and bookmark the time within the video when the recorded statement began.

3. Once Audio Files Have Been Uploaded to Evidence.Com or DEMS, Employees May Temporarily Store Working Copies on a Department Computer

Once the recorded statement is entered into the appropriate storage system, it may be temporarily stored on a Department computer to meet an operational need. Once the statement is no longer needed, the employee must remove the statement from the Department computer.

Third-party audio recorded evidence collected during an investigation may be uploaded to the appropriate unit-specific shared drive folder or detective case file. All original media or devices will be submitted to the Evidence Unit.

4. Employees Will Not Create or Store Audio Recorded Evidence on Personally Owned Devices

Use of personal devices to record audio statements or sensitive material is strictly prohibited.

Exception: In case of exigent circumstances, an employee may use a privately-owned device to capture a recorded statement. See 7.090-PRO-1.

Employees are reminded that public disclosure laws may apply to personally owned devices when utilized for official Department business and correspondence. See Manual Section 12.040 – Department-Owner Computers, Devices and Software.

All evidence captured on employee personal devices must follow evidentiary guidelines set forth in this policy.

If a recorded statement is captured by an employee on a privately-owned device the employee will not download the media card onto a Department computer or other device. See 7.110-PRO 1.

5. Employees Will Include Specific Information in the Recorded Statement

Statutes and best practices require officers to include certain elements in recorded statements. Refer to 7.110-TSK-1 for specific language that officers must include in the recording.

6. Employees Will Upload Audio Recorded Statements to Evidence.com.

Exception: If Axon Capture is not functioning or rejects the audio recorded statement. See 7.110-TSK-4

Exception: If the recorded statement is captured using a privately-owned device. See 7.110-PRO-1

7. Employees Document in the Appropriate Report that an Audio Statement Was Created and Indicate the Device Used to Create the Statement (e.g., Axon Capture, Digital Recorder, Body Worn, In-Car Video)

8. Employees Will Make Reasonable Efforts to Avoid Inadvertently Capturing Conversations and Utterances Unrelated to the Specific Investigation on Audio Recordings

9. The Video Unit is Responsible for the Restriction, Retention and Disposition of Video and Audio Statements

The lead investigator may call or email the Video Unit providing the report number and a list of employees granted access to restricted digital evidence.

Investigative units may request access to restricted video by contacting the Video Unit at SPD_Video@seattle.gov.

10. Employees Use Axon Capture to Upload Audio Recorded Evidence Taken on Department-Issued Smartphones to Evidence.com via Secure Cellular Network or City of Seattle Wi-Fi Connection

7.110-PRO-1 Submitting Audio Recorded Evidence when Captured by a Department Employee Using a Non-Department Owned Device

Employee

1. Documents in the report that a non-Department device was used and the reason for the use and exigent circumstances in a report, statement or supplement.

2. Responds to the Video Unit in person with the device.

Video Unit

3. Transfers the audio recordings captured on the device to DEMS.

4. Returns the device to the submitting employee.

7.110-TSK-1 Taking an Audio Recorded Statement

When taking an audio recorded statement, the officer/detective:

1. States at the beginning of the recording:

- Officer’s name and includes, “of the Seattle Police Department”

- Incident number or report number

- Date and time of the recording

- The name of the interviewee

- The name of all persons present during the interview

2. Asks the person to respond to the question, “Do I have permission to record this statement?”

3. Gives Miranda warning when required. Ends questioning if attorney is requested.

4. Asks the person to state their full name.

5. Conducts the interview.

6. After the interview, if the person is a victim, witness or complainant, asks the person:

- “Do you declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington what you have stated in this statement is true and correct?”

and

- “Do you wish to have your personal information Disclosed or Not Disclosed?”

7. Announces the end of the recording with the date and time.

8. Uploads the audio statement to Evidence.com. See 7.110 -TSK-2 and TSK-3

9. Documents the recorded statement in the appropriate report.

7.110-TSK-2 Submitting Audio Recorded Evidence Via Axon Capture on Evidence.com

When submitting audio recordings to Evidence.com an employee:

1. Opens the Axon Capture mobile application on a Department-issued smartphone.

2. Captures the audio recording.

3. Selects the digital audio recording.

4. Uses Axon Capture to tag and associate the case number using YYYY-123456 format (no padded zeros).

5. Assigns appropriate crime offense category to the statement.

6. Verifies audio recordings are successfully uploaded to Evidence.com via Axon Capture. 

7. Documents in the report that audio recordings were taken with Axon Capture and uploaded into Evidence.com.

8. Notifies the Video Unit by phone or email if audio recordings cannot be uploaded to Evidence.com.

7.110-TSK-3 Submitting Audio Recorded Evidence Via Handheld Digital Recorder on Evidence.com

When submitting audio recordings to Evidence.com via a handheld digital recorder an employee:

1. Connects the handheld digital audio recorder to the USB port of a computer.

2. Logs in to Evidence.com.

3. Clicks on ‘Evidence’ in the upper left-hand corner.

4. Clicks on ‘Import Evidence’.

5. Clicks on ‘Drag and Drop’ and chooses files to upload.

6. Adds Case Number information (if case number is unknown use NOCASENUMBER).

7. Clicks on ‘Edit all IDs’ and adds the case number using YYYY-123456 format (no padded zeros). If no case number exists, adds ‘NOCASENUMBER’ as the ID.

8. Clicks ‘Edit all Categories’ and selects the appropriate category from the drop-down menu.

9. Ensures that the Title, ID, and Category have been selected for all files.

10 Clicks Upload.

11. Confirms that each file says ‘UPLOAD COMPLETE’ in the status column. Note: All images must be complete before leaving the page.

12. Returns to Evidence Page once the files have completed uploading.

13. Reviews uploaded content to ensure completion.

14. Clicks on the ’Edit Icon’ or ‘pencil icon’ and add a description to the uploaded content.

15. Adds any pertinent keyword tags in right-hand column to assist with searching.

16. Documents in the report that audio recordings were taken with a handheld audio recorder and uploaded into Evidence.com.

17. Notifies the Video Unit by phone or email if audio recordings cannot be uploaded to Evidence.com.

7.110-TSK-4 Employees Handling Audio Recorded Evidence When Axon Capture Fails to Upload Audio Recordings

1. Checks smartphone and ensures device has a cellular signal or is connected to secure Wi-Fi.

2. Attempts to increase cellular signal by changing locations or moving away from obstructions.

3. Ensures Axon Capture is logged into seattlepd.evidence.com.

4. Uses City email address (e.g., john.doe@seattle.gov) and password to log in.

5. Follows 7.110-TSK-2 upload procedures.

6. Notifies the Video Unit by phone or email at SPD_Video@seattle.govif the Axon Capture upload process continues to fail.