Mug Shots

Hi SD,

Question about mug shots. How do police officers ensure that arrested and booked persons look directly at the camera? Though I know there are exceptions, it seems that the majority of detained individuals look at the camera with a neutral expression.

Why would anyone in this situation want to cooperate with officers’ demands? After all, they are about to brand you for all the world to see as a criminal. They caught you and now they want to show you off. So why are most detained persons compliant with requests to look at the camera? Shouldn’t they be more resistant, especially as it is a case where the detained person has some freedom of movement (no officers in the shot?)

If a belligerent detainee refuses to cooperate, are they threatened until they comply?

My question extends to include all aspects of the arresting process starting from entrance into a precinct or police station. It seems to me that, fresh from an arrest, the LAST thing the person would want to do is follow any orders. Are they physically or verbally threatened, or, conversely, enticed with offers of food or lenient treatment? What exactly are the officers allowed to do in situations like these?

I ask because shows and movies typically depict the arrest but not the aftermath. Arrested persons are shoved into a police car and that’s the end of their story. See the ending of Home Alone, Ready Player One, etc.

So what happens when they get to the police station?

Thanks for any input!


I seem to recall that some mug shots on The Smoking Gun have had a hand in the photo holding the alleged miscreant’s head in position.

Here’s one

And another

One more

Your mugshot WILL get taken, this I promise you.

Continued resistance can result in additional charges. Obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct, and battery to a peace officer/corrections staff are a few that happen routinely.

You could have been tagged with something as benign as first offense DUI (not even a crime in my state) and find yourself facing a couple of years for your behavior in the booking room or county jail facility.

pkbites has the inside story but just think about it. You are under the control of lots of big guys with Tasers, guns, clubs and plenty of restraints that are at the very least, uncomfortable. I would think the last thing you want to do is act like an asshole.


And yet most do act that way.

And no guns in the booking area. Your entire duty belt get’s put into a locker before the subject is even removed from the squad or wagon.

When you get arrested, the main thing on your mind is getting the hell out of jail. You want to finish getting processed so that you can arrange bail and get the fuck out of there. That’s not going to happen until your intake is finished. If you’re being uncooperative, they will just throw you back in a concrete cell for a couple hours. Then, when they feel you’re ready, they will take you back out to see if you want to be cooperative. If not, it’s back in the cell! While you’re in there, you get to watch all the other inmates hanging out on the chairs, eating their balogna sandwiches, generally getting to walk about the booking area, freely making phone calls to family, friends and bondsmen. And you’re in that quiet cell, all by your onesies. Eventually you’re going to willingly get your picture taken. You’re going to beg them to take it.

[quote=“GaryM, post:2, topic:829223”]

I seem to recall that some mug shots on The Smoking Gun have had a hand in the photo holding the alleged miscreant’s head in position.

Here’s one
In that case, it looks to me that he’s having trouble standing straight.

Skokie Officer Charged After Shoving Woman Into Jail Cell

Here’s my question: why would you WANT to be an uncooperative asshole? It’s a stupid battle you’re not going to win, and it won’t gain you anything unless you think irritating people is “winning,” in which case, Charlie Sheen may have a few pointers for you.

On second thought, even he cooperated.

This guy looks like he enjoyed being uncooperative.

That may need to be my new avatar!!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess alcohol plays a big part.

I don’t even understand why these mug shots are seen by anybody apart from the police. I can’t think of a single good reason to make them public.

Public records are, well, public. My Sheriff’s Department even posts arrest reports on Facebook.

This is exactly how it goes. Hung over and uncoorperative? Good luck on that drink of water until the next shift arrives, or any thing else that requires effort on their part. Just wait in that little room till whenever rolls around. A little too combative? Your gonna find yourself strapped to a chair.

Best practice is not to be a dick once you’ve arrived.

They do the same around here. These particular public records are freely given out but if you wanna see traffic surveys you need to file under the FIA.

Mug shots and arrest reports gets posted publicly well before guilt has been established but I’d bet officer disciplinary reports are a real bitch to get ahold of.

There are different levels of public record I guess. I don’t understand it.

If having a public record of people arrested is of the upmost importance (to protect people who could otherwise be unlawfully and secretly arrested, of course, what other plausibly valid reason could there be for this?), can you give me a good reason why the picture (and especially the mugshot) of the person should be available for public consumption and general entertainment? What purpose exactly does it serves apart from satisfying some people’s morbid curiosity at the expense of a person who is innocent, hence should be protected as much as possible from unjustified suspicions or rumors and, very obviously, any kind of public shame?