TULSA - The mugshot of a Tulsa woman arrested on counts of driving under the influence and a traffic violation seems to depict a struggle between booking deputies and the suspect, who apparently doesn't want to hold still for her photo.
The rather unique mugshot led to a discussion with Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Major Shannon Clark about why law enforcement agencies take mug shots, why they release them to the public, and what they do when a person's mugshot doesn't depict their features very accurately.
He tells KRMG that the Oklahoma Attorney General recently issued a ruling that mugshots are part of a person's booking report, which is a public record under state law.
As such, the booking agencies, normally the sheriff's office, have to make those photos available to the public.
There are some exceptions, for example in the case of someone arrested on federal charges, juveniles, or people whose arrest might be due to their status as a material witness -- a situation which recently occurred in Tulsa in connection with a quadruple homicide.
Clark said normally, the greatest difficulty with mugshots comes from intoxicated suspects, especially those with little to no experience in the criminal booking process.
Ironically, he says, felony suspects who face charges of armed robbery, for example, tend to stand and pose for the photo without any problems.
Sometimes the deputies will take a person to a holding cell and let them detox for a while, then take them back in for another, more accurate mug shot.
However, the original mugshot may still get entered on to the public website -- which explains what may have happened in the case of Jamie Blalack, 45, who was arrested Thursday morning.
Clark says mugshots can be used later for photo lineups when investigators are trying to determine if a witness or victim can pick a suspect out from several similar photos.
Moreover, the OSBI and federal authorities can us facial recognition software to determine if a person has been arrested under another identity.