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Ask The Answer Person: Why do some of your news stories have mug shots, while many don't?

Posted: Tue, Oct 6, 2020 10:53 AM

Adam e-mails: "I was wondering about the reasoning behind some articles relating to criminal activity in Decorah containing police booking photographs (mug shots) while others don't."

The Answer Person says: "Most stories about arrests do not include mug shots.  That's certainly the case for something that's routine, like traffic charges or misdemeanors.  The Decorah Police Department and the Winneshiek County Sheriff's Office very rarely release mug shots unless requested by the news media.  The most recent mug shot photo released by local law enforcement officers was in a case in which the public was being asked to help locate someone who was at large and wanted on a warrant.

In short, it's far more likely you won't see a mug shot photo than you will, since those photos tend to be used in the most serious cases."