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Mug-Shot Imaging Systems

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 61 Issue: 8 Dated: (August 1992) Pages: 20-22
J J Pavlis
Date Published
3 pages
The mug shot imaging system, developed in Orange County, Florida, to identify suspects, is a new investigative weapon for law enforcement.
Until 1988, mug shots were taken of each prisoner in Orange County and the film was sent to the photo lab for processing. When the color negative was returned, it was microfilmed in black and white, and the color negative was placed in the defendant's criminal jacket. The black and white microfilm often prevented detectives and witnesses from making positive identification during lineups. Therefore, it was necessary for identification personnel to send the color negatives of certain suspects out to be processed into color prints. Because of the delays, county law enforcement officials considered several options to streamline the mug shot photographic process, including imaging technology. Mug shot imaging is a system of digitizing a picture and storing that image on a computer so that it can be retrieved at a later time. The picture is taken with a video camera and then transferred to a color video monitor where it appears as an electronic image. Identifying data, along with the image's location on the optical disk, are recorded on an index file. The mug shot imaging system is menu-driven, and all sheriff's office employees have been trained to use the system. In addition to suspect identification, other possible uses of mug shot imaging systems include photos of missing persons, photos of police employees, and digitized photos of wanted persons. 3 endnotes