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State Police say they won’t release mugshots; local police waiting for details from state

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 April 2019 at 10:22 am

The State Police announced on Wednesday the agency would no longer release mugshots of people who have been arrested unless it’s “for specific law enforcement purposes only,” such as searching for a wanted or missing person, said Trooper James O’Callaghan, public information officer for Troop A of the State Police, which is based in Batavia.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for the mugshot ban, saying predatory people and businesses often put mugshots on websites and then demand payment to have the images removed.

The mugshot ban was approved as part of the state budget. The Legislature and governor have given law enforcement agencies discretion for releasing the photos.

Local law enforcement agencies are waiting for more details about the ban.

Roland Nenni, the police chief for the Albion and Holley police departments, said he hasn’t received any guidelines about the mugshot ban from the State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force released a mugshot on Wednesday of a person facing drug and grand larceny charges. The Task Force also hasn’t received any guidelines about releasing mugshots, said Joe Sacco, the supervising investigative officer for the Task Force.

Chad Kenward, the Medina police chief, said he doesn’t tend to release mugshots unless it is a major arrest, a missing person and a warrant suspect. He said he hasn’t received any information about the details of the mugshot ban from the state.

In Genesee County, Le Roy Police Chief Christopher Hayward said he checked with the Committee on Open Government and local police agencies aren’t prohibited from releasing mugshots. He temporarily stopped providing mugshots to the media, but has resumed releasing those photos.

“We are allowed to use our discretion when releasing mugshots and therefore going forward we will resume the policy of providing mugshots to the media,” Hayward said in a message to news organizations and the community.

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