California Police Asked to Cease Using Lego Heads on Mugshots

California Police Asked to Cease Using Lego Heads on Mugshots


In a quirky turn of events, the Murrieta police department in Southern California found itself entangled in a curious request from none other than the famous toy company, Lego. The department had been using Lego heads to obscure the faces of suspects in their social media posts, as a way to comply with a new state law aimed at safeguarding individuals' privacy rights. But it seems Lego wasn't too thrilled about having their iconic bricks used in this manner.

The saga began when the Murrieta police department posted an image on Instagram on March 18th, featuring a lineup of five individuals with their faces covered by Lego heads sporting various expressions. The department explained in the caption that they were adhering to a California law that restricts the sharing of mugshots on social media platforms. The law, which came into effect on January 1st, aims to protect the rights of individuals, even those suspected of crimes.

The use of Lego heads and emojis to conceal faces had been a practice of the Murrieta police department since early 2023. However, it wasn't until this particular post went viral that Lego took notice and decided to step in. Lt. Jeremy Durrant of the Murrieta police department revealed that the toy company had "respectfully asked" them to refrain from using their intellectual property in social media content.

The department promptly agreed to comply with Lego's request, acknowledging their understanding of the matter. But this left them facing a dilemma: how to continue sharing engaging content with their followers while adhering to the law and respecting Lego's wishes. Lt. Durrant assured the public that they were exploring alternative methods to achieve this goal.

The California law in question, sponsored by Assemblymember Corey Jackson, seeks to balance transparency in law enforcement with the protection of individuals' rights. Jackson expressed curiosity about how the residents of Murrieta perceive the use of Lego heads in police posts. Do they want their tax dollars being spent on creating Lego-faced suspects for social media? It's a question that raises eyebrows and invites contemplation.

While the Murrieta police department's use of Lego heads may have been an attempt to comply with the law in a creative manner, it also raises broader questions about the role of law enforcement in the digital age. Are there better ways for police departments to engage with the community while respecting individuals' rights and privacy?

Assemblymember Corey Jackson hinted at potential loopholes being exploited by other agencies, such as posting images of suspects in police cruisers or at crime scenes, arguing that these aren't the same as booking photos. This highlights the ongoing challenge of balancing law enforcement objectives with legal and ethical considerations.

Jackson's concerns reflect a broader conversation about the public's trust in law enforcement and their expectations of transparency and accountability. How can police departments build and maintain trust with the communities they serve, especially in an era where social media plays an increasingly significant role in shaping public perception?

The use of Lego heads by the Murrieta police department may have been well-intentioned, but it ultimately raises questions about the boundaries between creativity, compliance, and corporate interests. It serves as a reminder that even in the digital age, the principles of privacy and accountability remain paramount.

As the Murrieta police department explores alternative methods for sharing content with their followers, it will be interesting to see how they navigate this new chapter in their social media engagement. Will they find a solution that satisfies both legal requirements and community expectations? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the curious case of the Lego heads on mugshots serves as a quirky footnote in the ongoing evolution of law enforcement practices and the intersection of technology, privacy, and public perception.


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