Friday, 03 February 2023

Lakeport Police Department reports on new rules for posting booking photos on social media

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Lakeport Police Department said it is changing its approach to posting booking photos on social media in response to new state legislation.

In July of this year the California legislature introduced and passed and the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 1475, which shall now prohibit a police department or sheriff’s office from sharing, on social media, booking photos of any individual arrested on suspicion of committing a nonviolent crime unless specified circumstances exist.

With regard to the 23 violent crimes under California law — specifically, Penal Code 667.5 — booking photos can be shared but are subject to later removal under specified circumstances.

The Lakeport Police Department said it will now carefully review all circumstances before deciding to post a booking photo to social media, even if allowed under this law, due to the complexities of removal if it is later so required.

To cite one major complexity, removal of photos from social media may cause other content to be inadvertently removed and that content may be protected first amendment free speech of others who have commented on posts of photos.

Regardless of this law, booking photos can still be placed on a law enforcement agency internet website.

Booking photos for arrests in Lakeport, if available, are posted on the Lakeport Police Department’s website at this link for a period of 30 days after arrest.

This law does not prohibit the posting of surveillance or other photos if public assistance is needed to help identify those unknown suspects and we shall continue those postings.

“As with the many other law changes and criminal justice reforms in California over the past few years, our goal remains to work as hard as we can to hold criminal suspects accountable and protect our community,” the department said in a Friday statement.

Text of the full law and legislative findings regarding its passage can be found here.

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