Roswell police posting daily mug shots on Facebook

January 9, 2013 • State News

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The Roswell Police Department is using Facebook to post photos of all those arrested each day and allowing users to share those images across the social media world.

The mug shots are of people arrested for drug, shoplifting, drunken driving and assault, Roswell Deputy Chief Brad McFadin [auth] said Wednesday. Roswell police have long used social media as a tool for investigations but McFadin said the department lately has been posting mug shots as a deterrent.

“We’re trying to be more open with the community and be as transparent as possible about what we do,” he said.

Other law enforcement agencies in New Mexico also use social media but those pages typically focus on pending investigations and requests from the public for information on wanted suspects.

On Wednesday, Roswell police posted 10 mug shots of suspects arrested Tuesday for alleged crimes ranging from shoplifting to failure to appear in court for sentencing. Photos posted on other days were shared on users’ personal Facebook pages with comments.

The department has to monitor the Facebook page since some users post inappropriate comments under arrestees’ photos, McFadin said.

Police also post photos of wanted suspects and “persons of interest” linked to pending investigations, he said.

The Facebook page doesn’t appear to violate any privacy issues since the mug shots are public records, said Micah McCoy, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

“A lot of departments post mug shots on their websites anyway,” he said.

The department hasn’t received any complaints about the postings, McFadin said.

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