South Dakota Attorney General: Make mug shots public record

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley last week announced a list of measures he is asking the Legislature to pass this session. While all are important, there was one that stood out to us: making criminal booking photographs part of the public record.

You know them as “mug shots.”

Whenever anybody is arrested for a crime, law enforcement agencies take a photograph of the accused.

Arrest records are public information. You, as a citizen, have a right to know who is being arrested by law enforcement agencies in your state, city or neighborhood. There is no question about that. You have every right to know what crimes are being committed, and by whom.

Apparently, however, you do not have the right to know what the perpetrators look like.

Mug shots currently are not considered part of the public record, so police can – and do – keep them secret. Jackley wants to change that, and we support him in that endeavor. Continue…