MAYVILLE – In the face of a new state law that has State Police no longer releasing booking photos (mugshots), Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says his department will continue to release mugshots.
“At this point, the Sheriff’s Office is going to continue releasing the shots just like we have in the previous years,” Quattrone said. “We are still, and will continue to evaluate the pros and cons, but at this point we have no intention of changing.”
“I think it’s always a critical thing. It’s like a balancing act between public safety and the right to privacy. We want to make sure we’re taking all things into consideration,” Quattrone said.
Quattrone said his understanding of the law is that his department has the option to release or not release mugshots, but that the New York State Police do not have that option.
Several times during his interview, the Sheriff said there is a balance that must be maintained.
“We have to balance that public safety and I think when we have a warrant for somebody in that case that we should be able to release that.”
Not everyone will avoid releasing mug shots, Quattrone noted.
“There’s some sheriffs’ offices, at least across the western part of the state, that are saying ‘We’re going to keep releasing them. The District Attorney (Patrick Swanson) I know was looking into this further,” he said.
Quattrone said he favors transparency.
“I get torn on some of them because there is a balance. My goal is really to see a reduction of recidivism and my fear is sometimes those mug shots can be used against some of those people who are getting out,” Quattrone said. “Are we ruining people’s chances for employment? But yet we have to protect the public safety.”