BA Woman Uneasy When TPD Officer Takes Photo During Traffic Stop

Wednesday, January 28th 2015, 7:09 pm
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow woman said she was handed a ticket, and a Tulsa police officer snapped a picture of her, which made her uncomfortable and very uneasy.

Brenda Pritchard said she was driving on the Broken Arrow expressway near Garnett Road. She admits she was speeding and didn't think anything about the traffic stop was too unusual. That is, until the officer took a picture of her.

According to police, it's normal protocol.

Pritchard said she loves taking pictures to capture big moments, but she didn't think a traffic stop on the Broken Arrow Expressway was one of them.

"That really invaded my space,” she said. “He didn't ask to take a picture. He just took it."

When Pritchard saw flashing lights, she knew she had been caught speeding. She said after the officer went through the normal steps, getting her driver's license and proof of insurance, he used a small device, to take a picture of her.

"Why would he want to take a profile picture?” she said. “Why -- when he has all my insurance, tag number, my license?"

Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley said an officer has the right to snap a photo during any traffic stop.

"It is up to each officer's discretion to snap a picture when they issue an e-citation,” Ashley said. “The officer doesn't even get to see the photo, the photo is attached to the citation that is forwarded to the city prosecutor's office."

It's essentially another piece of evidence gathered from the scene.

Ashley said it's a fast way to gather all the necessary information, and it does much more than just take a picture. It provides vehicle description, what the location is, and what the violation is.

Ashley said it's most useful when someone attempts to mislead an officer by giving them a fake ID.

"We have had individuals in the past who give us a license and maybe it's not them. Maybe it's a relative who bears a close resemblance.

But Pritchard said she was nothing but truthful and admitted to speeding and she didn't like the feeling or worry it caused her.

"It scared me,” Pritchard said. “It really was horrible and I was just sitting there thinking, ‘What is he going to do with that picture?"

Police said they've had the ability to take pictures during traffic stops for about five years, but there's no department-wide policy about when to take a picture.

Pritchard just hopes to raise awareness, so another person isn't left feeling uncomfortable when they are pulled over by an officer.