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Taking Pictures of Suspects/Detainees


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  • Taking Pictures of Suspects/Detainees

    I can't seem to find anything on the net or at least in our policies, but if someone is legally stopped, whether it be a suspect, traffic stop, whatever, are we allowed to photograph them for ID/documenting purposes?

  • #2
    Its commonly done on my job for intel purposes. Its not disseminated to anyone without a need to know so I can't see why it would be an issue from a legal stand point. They are not used in court.
    Last edited by SHU; 09-24-2019, 10:54 AM.


    • #3
      Due to a fairly recent appellate court decision I wouldn't delay a traffic stop for anything unrelated to the traffic violation. But like everything there are exceptions to the rule.

      If you have a body camera, you can get still pictures from it later at the office. If they match the description of a BOLO or suspect etc I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't be allowed to photograph them.
      We can detain people to do show ups so wouldn't a photograph be less intrusive or shorten the detention in some cases? Subjects are photographed at the jail if arrested why can't you also photograph them? If they are wearing or have a piece of evidence on them it would certainly be a great idea to photograph them.

      So the biggest issue is, can YOU justify it?
      Last edited by westside popo; 09-25-2019, 12:01 AM.


      • #4
        You shouldn't delay the stop, and you can't compel them to comply. It sounds like you are going to make trouble for yourself. What does your dept. say? Can't you get a DMV picture? As a citizen, what is your compelling purpose? I find it intrusive.


        • #5
          Generally speaking, you may take a photograph of anything or anyone you see in any place that you have a lawful right to be. There is no right to privacy in a public venue.

          The problem that may arise is if you utilize your position as a LEO to detain someone for the specific purpose of obtaining a photograph or otherwise compel someone to submit to photography. So long as you do not cross those boundaries there should be no problem with you photographing anyone or anything on any public street, sidewalk, or within a public park or place of public accommodation.


          • #6
            The gang enforcement unit at the big town next door specifically takes pictures of biker gang members during stops... and they will delay the stop as long as necessary to get the picture. I don't know what justification they use, if any.
            "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

            "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


            • #7
              Before you start putting them in a book, you better get guidance from Gang/Admin and the DAO. You can’t self create a gang book. Anyone you place in there, or suggest or imply is a criminal, is a violation of Civil Rights unless it’s been documented per law and regulation/policy.

              Now go home and get your shine box!


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