If this is the first time you or a close family member have dealt with arrest, then the only knowledge you may have on how arrests and the booking process work may be from movies and tv. And while this depiction can get some things right, it is usually less scary or dramatic than what you may have seen. To ease fears and help you know what to expect, here is an overview.
Taking down the suspects basic information
When you first arrive at the detention center and the booking process starts, the first thing that will be done is creating a record of the name of the suspect as well as what charge is being made and details into what occurred. This information will be stored in a database for reference in case future incidents occur.
The mug shot
This is probably the most infamous part of the booking process. This is where a defendant will be placed against a wall with their arrest information to have physical proof of the person detained. This is done for two reasons, the protection of the defendant and the protection of law enforcement. It protects a defendant from being mistaken for someone with the same name and it protects law enforcement by having physical proof of the inmate so that excessive force or improper handling cannot be accused while detained.
Obtaining clothing and personal possessions – When you are being booked as an inmate, you will have to temporarily forfeit all your personal items including clothes. However, once released, those personal belongings (minus anything stolen or illegal substances) will be returned.
At this point, an inmates fingers will be pressed in ink and then on paper to record their fingerprints. They do this so that a record can be put in a database that again, can be used as reference in helping solve other investigations if need be.
Full body search
After fingerprints have been recorded, the next step in the process is a full body search. To be as thorough as possible, the officers will request that all clothing is removed so that the body can be fully searched for any and all types of weapons or drugs.
Consulting the database for prior offenses
At this time, an officer will do a check to see if the person being detained is in the database for any previous infractions which could range from unpaid tickets to various types of felonies, even murder. If something is found, then bail might not be an option and more severe charges could be brought forth.
To keep the overall inmate population safe, a health search will be done to make sure that there isn’t any type of infectious diseases that could put others at risk.
Asking about potential issues with other inmates
Most likely to discuss any type of gang affiliations. This is done to see if any trouble will be had among the other inmates. Officers will usually try and separate rival gang members in order to avoid any overt confrontations.
And finally, the last step is just a simple DNA sample. This is usually just a cotton swab in the cheek and its done to submit into the database along with the other information obtained for reference on future cases.