Utica Police will no longer release mugshots following passage of new bill

The Utica Police Department and State Police will no longer release mugshots to the public or news media outlets, after state lawmakers voted to ban the photos during the executive budget.

Posted: Apr 4, 2019 7:41 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2019 7:45 PM

UTICA, N.Y.-- The Utica Police Department and State Police will no longer release mugshots to the public or news media outlets, after state lawmakers voted to ban the photos during the executive budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told WAMC in January that the goal of the ban is to prevent companies from publishing the photos online and charging a fee to have the photo removed. The Utica Police Department has been releasing mugshots through Facebook for years, but will not continue to do so.

"We had an internal discussions about it" said Mark Williams, police chief of the Utica Police Department. "The reason why we're going to start to practice now is that based on the intent of the law and the fact that there's going to be signed into law very shortly it's good that we started out and get ready for it rather than enact later on."

But Williams said the department will still release mugshots for specific cases.

"It will be done on a case-by-case basis as long as it's investigative in nature," he said. "I think will be all right releasing that booking photograph in those instances."

Leland McCormac, Oneida County public defender, said everyone has their right to privacy.

"A person's privacy needs to be protected and especially when there's not been a conviction," he said. "Remember there is a presumption of innocence that attaches to every single defendant, that's accused of a crime. We want to make sure that our clients rights are protected at all stages in proceeding, not only at the beginning, during the preceding itself, but also and how that might affect the individual after the proceedings concluded."

But the New York State Broadcasters Association released a statement concerning transparency.

"We are concerned the proposal will have a chilling effect on the release of information that is essential to the public interest. This information involves police activity and is a matter of public record. Communities have a right to know about those who have been accused of criminal activity. To avoid "secret arrests," families and friends of those arrested should have access to this information."

The association said that other states, such as California, have addressed the the issue of companies exploitating people by enacting laws that make it a crime to demand money in exchange for removing a mugshot.

The bill must still be signed by Cuomo before it can go into effect.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1619924

Reported Deaths: 47264
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2073098698
Kings2060299023
Suffolk1602923054
Nassau1459852896
Bronx1411745821
Westchester1061292081
New York1012503863
Erie644141594
Richmond561741564
Monroe52122980
Rockland38138886
Orange36334720
Onondaga32151622
Dutchess21968406
Albany20620328
Oneida19583475
Niagara15156313
Broome14521335
Saratoga11796145
Schenectady10740177
Ulster9898227
Rensselaer8902131
Putnam824486
Chautauqua7257122
Chemung6408130
Oswego595689
Ontario573188
Steuben5463137
St. Lawrence538381
Cayuga533388
Jefferson472463
Sullivan468959
Herkimer4534106
Wayne442564
Genesee4372118
Cattaraugus435176
Madison380684
Clinton350726
Livingston348455
Tompkins342742
Columbia336094
Fulton327281
Montgomery3137105
Cortland311260
Allegany286981
Warren280755
Wyoming278549
Tioga277956
Greene260970
Orleans243380
Chenango239769
Otsego230743
Washington229552
Lewis204630
Franklin200812
Seneca157453
Delaware147833
Essex132826
Schoharie118312
Yates101126
Schuyler85712
Hamilton2792
Unassigned219119
Out of NY0191
Rome
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 37°
Binghamton
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 35°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 37°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 37°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2021 Golfer's Paradise Card - 21 Courses for only $99.99
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve