Bill would prevent for-profit publication of mug shots

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Police mugshots could be harder to get in a bid to crack down on scam that Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder says is spreading.

Winder said the county had been posting mugshots online, but stopped doing it when it was discovered that they were being copied from the site and published on Web sites that would charge the individual $500 to have them removed.

Often, he said, even after the individual had paid the money, the picture would not be removed.

"I'm looking at these poor victims saying, I'd love to go and arrest the guy," Winder said. "From a practical sense, I don't know that we can."

The county stopped posting the mugshots, but he said it then began receiving open records requests for all of the mugshots received over a period of time, often hundreds of photos.

HB408, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, would require someone receiving a booking photo to sign an affidavit that the photograph will not be placed on a Web site that requires the individual to pay to have it removed.

"It really sickened me to see those groups putting these photos out there for, well, in this case, extortion," said Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield.

The bill passed out of the House Law Enforcement Subcommittee unanimously and heads to the House for consideration.

— Robert Gehrke