Salamanca police want to continue releasing mugshots despite new state restriction

A provision in the recently passed New York state budget may complicate matters for Salamanca police and other law enforcement agencies that release mugshots via social media or to news organizations.

The bill, which will go into effect once signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, aims to prohibit police from routinely releasing mugshots, which are photos of those charged with a crime during their booking procedure.

The legislation changes the state’s Freedom of Information Law, which says documents created by public agencies can only be withheld from the public if they violate a person’s privacy. The bill declares a mugshot, also known as a booking photograph, as “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

While many have called the bill a “mugshot ban,” it more so gives police the power to withhold the photos if they choose. Agencies will still be able to release the photos when they deem it appropriate, as the bill states police can release the images if doing so “will serve a specific law enforcement purpose.”

That could mean asking the public’s help in locating a wanted suspect, finding additional witnesses or victims or developing new leads in an investigation, said Beau Duffy, spokesperson for New York State Police.

However, the vagueness of

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