LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are taking photographs of people cited for traffic violations and minor crimes in an effort to prevent mistaken identity arrests later. The photos are attached to outstanding arrest warrants if a person fails to show up for court. They will allow judges to quickly realize when innocent people have been picked up on warrants not meant for them.
The Los Angeles Times says nearly 1,500 people were jailed during a five-year period after they were mistaken for wanted criminals. Some spent weeks in jail before the errors were realized. Through August this year, sheriff’s officials say there have been 120 people wrongly jailed.
A handful of deputies are now carrying point-and-shoot cameras as part of the pilot program to avoid wrongful arrests.