May 25, 1998
Father feels mug shot policy by police needs review
On Friday night, May 8, my son, a Woodinville senior, attended a school dance. After it was over, he and a friend went to Shari's in Woodinville and ordered a meal. While eating, they observed a large group of youths outside. By the time they finished eating, most of the youths outside had dispersed. When they left the restaurant, they were stopped (walking to their car) by a police officer who told them he was there because there had been some kids loitering, and Shari's had complained. My son explained they had been inside eating and would be happy to go back inside so the officer could talk to their waitress.
He declined and at this point informed them he was going to have to take their photographs. What I question about this is why he needed to do this. I am certain he was not stopping every patron who left the restaurant to take their photos. The officer even made the statement that he could see they had not been drinking and looked to be a couple of OK kids.
My son is on the honor roll at school and, in fact, had received an award the night before at the school. If this is the type of youth we feel we must frighten and intimidate by taking his photo, then we all need to look at what we are doing by starting this next generation out on a road of fear. For those who may recall, this also was the same tactic employed by the Nazis (taking photos of Jewish sympathizers) during WWII.
Over the past two weeks I have made calls to Sgt. Olson at the Woodinville Police Dept. only to be put to his voice mail. I only ask that they return my son's photo, and apologize. I also feel they really should review this "mug shot" policy as well. I hope this letter will gain some kind of explanation from them at the very least.
Terry D. Smith, Woodinville