ALBANY – Because of a new state law, New York State Police will no longer release mug shots to the media or in current press releases.
“Effective immediately, NYSP will NOT include mug shots in press releases, and they will not be provided to media when requested,” Trooper James O’Callaghan, a NYSP spokesman, said in a released statement. “This is due to the new State Law that effectively bans the release of booking photos. NYSP will be able to release mug shots for specific law enforcement purposes only. One example would be if we were searching for a wanted or missing person, of which we have a booking photo from a previous arrest.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for the law, saying posting of mug shots and certain arrest information is an “unwanted invasion of personal privacy.”
“Historically, it’s been public. I’ve suggested many times, we don’t have secret arrests in this country,” says Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee On Open Government.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone told WNYNewsNow he is examing the legalities and ramifications of the new law, to determine what his office’s policy will be regarding mug shots. He noted there is a fine line between protecting the rights of the accused and protecting the public.
In a previous WNYNewsNow report, Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano said that he couldn’t specifically address Cuomo’s position as he hasn’t completely researched the topic.
Ortolano, however, said that he believes that people have the right to observe mug shots and obtain booking information.
“In my opinion, depending on the crime, I do believe the residents of the community do have the right to know who’s committing those crimes,” Ortolano. “It’s good for them to know who the people are that are committing these crimes in their community and recognize who’s committing crimes that are affecting quality of life in their neighborhoods.”