7.110 - Recorded Statements

Effective Date: 11/01/21

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 may 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 will be tagged with case information and uploaded to Evidence.com. See 7.110 TSK–2.

Audio statements recorded with digital audio recorders will be tagged with case information and uploaded to Evidence.com via Axon Upload XT or the import feature in Evidence.com. See 7.110 TSK-3

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, 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.

4. Employees May Accept Audio Evidence in Digital or Physical Form

Employees may accept audio from outside the department in the following ways:

- Employees may use Axon Citizen to send a link to upload audio files directly to Evidence.com. See 7.110-TSK-5

- Employees may upload audio clips received via link or email attachment into Evidence.com.

- Employees may receive audio files on physical media such as a USB drive, CD/DVD, etc. In this case, employees may use the import features of Evidence.com or Axon Upload XT to upload the files. Once the files are uploaded, employees will submit the physical media, containing the original files, into evidence.

5. 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.

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.

6. 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.

7. 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

8. 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)

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

10. The Photo/Video Units Control Restriction, Retention, and Disposition of Audio Statements

To restrict access to audio evidence, the lead investigator or a supervisor from the investigating unit will email a Photo/Video Unit supervisor to provide the report number and a list of employees who may access the restricted digital evidence.

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.

Photo or Video Unit

3. Transfers the audio recordings captured on the device to Evidence.com.

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

4. Assigns appropriate crime offense category to the statement.

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

6. Documents in the report that audio recordings were taken with Axon Capture and uploaded into 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 digital media clips must be complete before leaving the page.

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

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

14. Notifies the Photo or 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

When Axon Capture fails to upload audio recordings to Evidence.com the employee:

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

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

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

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

7.110-TSK-5 Sending Axon Citizen Upload Submission Links Via Axon Capture

When collecting digital photos and videos evidence from outside the department, the employee:

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

2. Clicks on Citizen.

3. Enters the report number using YYYY-###### format in the ID section.

4. Assigns appropriate category.

5. Obtains the community member’s cellular phone or email address.

6. Enters the cellular phone or email address into Citizen.

7. Enters the first and last name of the community member.

8. Clicks Send to generate and send the upload link.

9. Documents in the report that an Axon Citizen upload submission link was sent to the community member.