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The Art of a Mugshot

November 2, 2013 18 comments
mushot 1

Maybe this is a good day for her.

This is a short post but I’ve been feeling neglectful in my blogging duties and thought I would share something I found this morning. The mugshots you are looking at are typical of today’s county jail booking photos.

These mugshots are a great tool and I’ve used countless prisoner photos for identifying criminals. If I think I know the identity of a suspect, and I know they’ve been arrested in the past, it’s easy to show a grouping of pictures to a witness and ask him or her to identify the guilty party. This is called a six-pack.

Like many other techniques in fighting crime, I’ve trained to use these photos so the identification process cannot be thrown out in court.

I call the jail giving them similar physical characteristics of who I’m looking for and request a booking photo of my suspect along with five to ten others that match my description. I include height, weight, hair color, etc.

I choose five to go with my suspected bad guy, and lay the pictures face down on a table. I bring my victim/witness in and have them pick up the pictures in any order and look at them. By having them choose which picture to look at first, it takes the defense theory of “stacking the deck” out of the equation.

Notice the t-shirt!

Notice the t-shirt!

I would love to say this technique always works but in real life, it doesn’t. But when someone is looking at six similar photos and shows you the correct one with no doubt and identifies your bad guy, it’s a great feeling.

This morning I ran across the website below and became fascinated with the pictures of criminal booking photos from the twenties. I don’t know if it’s the black and white, standing photos or just the suits but seriously some of these are a work of art and nothing like we see today.

Police Mugshots in the 1920’s

I loved the guy who wouldn’t open his eyes. Enjoy!

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