Arrest records in Kenosha just got a little more transparent. Most counties throughout the country have a jail roster, or inmate search available. People can look up loved ones who have been arrested and find out how much their bond is, and victims of crime or curious citizens can use these resources to keep tabs on defendants. Kenosha has had such a roster for many years. In 2017, the county upgraded to a software program called New World.
At the Kenosha County Eye, we noticed that other counties who use the same software would have booking photos, commonly known as “mugshots” displayed for all inmates. This helped us to learn that Kenosha could do the same thing with minimal work.
We reached out to Kenosha County board member Zach Rodriguez. He has been an advocate for transparent government for several years now. Notably he reduced the cost of public records from $.25 cents to $.10 per black and white page.
He liked the idea we gave him and he would soon put it into motion. Rodriguez contacted the county’s IT Department who in turn contacted Kenosha Joint Services Assistant Director Joshua Nielsen.
Nielsen consulted with the Sheriff’s department and after a few months the booking photos are now available to the public.
This will help people who are looking for someone who may have been arrested and they don’t know someone’s name but only what they look like. This will help media outlets like the Kenosha County Eye use a suspect’s photo for a story without having to bother the Sheriff’s Department or if it’s after-hours. A sheriff’s department spokesman said that the department gets daily requests for mugshots. Although the resolution on the jail roster is not quite the quality you can get from the Sheriff’s department directly, but it is great to have.
Hopefully this will result in a few less requests to the Kenosha Sheriff public information office.
On Tuesday we told you about a Kenosha black lives matter activist who continued to defy a judge’s orders. After our story was published, Judge Wagner issued a warrant for Bennett’s arrest. Today he turned himself in at the court house. Judge Wagner sentenced him to 60 days in jail and the deputies took him straight to booking and processed him. Above is the picture that the corrections officers took of Bennett. We got this photo from the website without having to contact the Sheriff’s Department.
Supervisor Rodriguez, the county’s IT department, Joint Services, and the Sheriff’s Department did a great thing here. Information is power. The more information we have as citizens the more power we have to protect ourselves and our families.