Council, Sheriff discuss interrogation room

CAMBRIDGE — Maybe it’s not a done deal, after all.

Two weeks ago, the County Council voted 3-2 to deny Sheriff James W. Phillips Jr.’s request to use an office in the 911 Center for interrogations, instead giving the space to Emergency Services for a break room — but they are now in talks to resolve the issue.
The law requires a separate room be designated for interviews of suspects.

Jay Newcomb (District 1), Libby Nagel (District 5) and William Nichols (District 2) voted to deny the request. Lenny Pfeffer (District 4) and Ricky Travers (District 3) were in favor.

The move was made in spite of the sheriff and the director of Emergency Services having agreed to the arrangement — the sheriff would get the sound-conditioned office, and emergency services would use parking spaces to recharge their equipment in return. The request said the area now being used for interviews is a converted storage room, which lets in enough noise that recordings made cannot be used in court.

At the end of the Jan. 21 meeting, Mr. Pfeffer made a motion to discuss the request once again at the following meeting. On Tuesday evening, it was on the agenda, but removed by unanimous vote as the meeting got underway.

A reporter for the Banner asked for details. Mr. Newcomb said, “I looked at the room, I met with the sheriff. We got some discussion going on. We got an opportunity to use some other rooms at the center. It’s just a work in process with the sheriff.”