New booking photo policy adopted by Elk Grove Police





Effective with the new year, the Elk Grove Police Department has adopted policies changing the release of arrest booking photographs.

In the past, the police department's public information operation would, upon request, release booking photos of suspects arrested in custody. The new policy states:

The Department shall only release photographs and/or booking photos of adults to the news media when: a) it may aid in the investigation; b) it may assist in the apprehension of the suspect; c) it benefits public safety; or d) if release of the photographs does not compromise the investigation (i.e., prior to a photographic or live lineup).

The Department does not arbitrarily release booking photos solely because a subject was arrested. This policy asserts that automatically providing booking photos does not provide any investigative benefit to the department or community.

Although not stated in the EGPD's announcement, other law enforcement agencies such as the San Franciso Police Department stopped releasing booking photos last July. When announcing their change, the SFPD said the practice hurts the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence and perpetuates racial stereotypes. 

“This policy emerges from compelling research suggesting that the widespread publication of police booking photos in the news and on social media creates an illusory correlation for viewers that fosters racial bias and vastly overstates the propensity of black and brown men to engage in criminal behavior,” SFPD Police Chief William Scott said.

Additionally, the states of Georgia and New York stopped releasing booking photos to curtail websites that charge suspects to have their images removed. 

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