The Importance Of Accessing Mugshots For The Common Public
Mugshots are the booking photographs that are taken of a person when he is arrested and booked into jail. Such photographs are taken by the police for identifying the person. Mugshots consist of two photos among which one is full face and the other profile photograph of a person. In the mugshots, booking number issued to the person along with his name is included.
Mugshots are recorded in the file maintained by the jail authorities. Law enforcement agencies like Police or Sheriff Department can obtain them from the jail authorities for putting them on their website for public viewing and knowledge.
Mugshots are public records and are available for public viewing as per The Freedom of Information Act. A public record is a kind of information that is recorded by the law enforcement agencies or other relevant government agencies, so it can be retrieved later in usable form for future reference. There are various kinds of public records like arrest records, criminal records, traffic ticket records besides others. Like them, mugshots are also public records. For providing information about identification of people with a criminal history, mugshots are recorded and retrieved later for reference just like other public records.
Apart from website of the law enforcement agencies, mugshots are also available on various third party websites. For finding mugshots of a person on such a website, people need to type in a person’s first name and second name as well as his last location. Accessing such information is either free or might cost people some fee.
The purpose behind making mugshots public is to make common people aware of the criminal past of persons charged with grave offences. So people can take required measures for safeguarding themselves from the nefarious designs of such offenders. The offenders can hurt people around them who do not know much about them by manipulating their personal information and hiding their criminal history.
Publishing mugshots help to avoid confusion and misidentification of persons who have been arrested for some criminal activity and alerts residents about other people living in their community. This also enables law enforcement agencies to keep people safe and helps to hold the government accountable. So mugshots are definitely in the interest of public.
The police may not take mugshots of every person that gets arrested. Some persons are simply cited and then released. Information about mugshots may or may not be available on a law enforcement agency’s website. If it is not available on the website, the concerned agency’s office needs to be visited in-person for obtaining information about mugshots.
Not all mugshots are accessible to public, law enforcement agencies may decide to restrict access to some mugshots due to various reasons. While accessing the mugshots, people should keep in mind that as per the law a person remains innocent till he is proved guilty. Sometimes press publishes the mugshots in newspapers to make it easy for law enforcement agencies to find persons who were witness to the criminal activity performed by a person and get assistance for them for investigating the crime and for gathering strong evidence that can be used for nailing the crime suspect.