In an effort to curb employee workloads and to satisfy community curiosity, J. Reuben Long Detention Center has begun posting all inmate mug shots on its web site.
"I just think people like to put a face with a name. And everybody likes to see what they look like in orange," said the jail's director, Tom Fox.
Fox said officers in the booking and photo ID departments field around 1,000 calls every day with people wanting to know something about the recently-incarcerated.
"Somebody sees a police officer in the neighborhood take somebody out of a house or complex in handcuffs. They want to call and find out what's going."
Fox calls it the "nosy neighbor syndrome," but says it's not all bad, as nosy neighbors play an important role in not only neighborhood crime watch organizations but as an added layer of security.
"If (John Doe) comes in and says his name is Tom Fox, and he doesn't have any i.d. on him, and it gets posted on the web site, somebody pulls up Tom Fox (then) they're going to call us and say that's not Tom Fox, that's John Doe."
An estimated 16,000 inmates annually are booked into the detention center, and under the old protocol, someone would have to call and request a mug shot. Now, anyone will be able to pull it up, and the period from which the mug shot is taken to when it's posted is almost instantaneous.
"Now everybody has access to the news. The sooner they can have access to the photograph, the better is satisfies their curiosity."
The mug shots and most inmate information (i.e. charges, ages, bail amounts) will stay online for one year before being removed.
To browse them, click on the link below.