“We’re just like y’all and we try to make sure we’re holding our releases to a higher standard and not sensationalism or politics.”

The quote above came from a conversation I had with Amory Police Department Investigator Andy Long last week in response to a column I wrote about posting mugshots a few weeks ago.

The mugshots column started as a response to being accused of favoritism when we didn’t post the mugshot of someone who was arrested in Lee County. Quick recap: We only post Monroe County arrests, and only then when the press release is sent to us from a law enforcement agency.

Another catalyst for the column was the sheer volume of mugshots, which I now call gratuitous mugshotting, we were receiving from an agency that were sent to us with the perceived intention of promoting political propaganda, even if the arrests weren’t always valid or were clearly not going to lead to a conviction.

After that conversation with Officer Long, we decided it would be a good idea to undertake a series of articles on our law enforcement agencies and things they do which may be misunderstood by residents.

In this week’s Monroe Journal, we shed some light on information sharing from the law enforcement standpoint. We are also pleased to learn from Monroe County Interim Sheriff Curtis Knight, as well as sheriff-elect Kevin Crook, that gratuitous mugshotting is a thing of the past. That’s not to say there won’t be any at all, but there will be more discretion used going forward.

It’s not always obvious why people, businesses or agencies do certain things to someone outside the loop. I’ve learned that from how people think we operate here at the paper. Here’s hoping this series can clear up a few things.

Emily Paul is the general manager of the Monroe Journal. She can be reached at emily.tubb@journalinc.com.

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