In 2008, a Philadelphia police officer took a personal photo of an accident victim whose head had been severed from his body. The Philadelphia Inquirer says the photo traveled to people who have no connection to the accident, or to the man who died. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey condemned the taking of personal photos at crime scenes, calling it unprofessional and immature.
“I think it’s pretty sick to take pictures of crime scenes when it’s not part of your job,” Ramsey said. “It’s ghoulish. And I can’t figure out why you would want to remember some of that stuff. It’s bad enough that you have to see it in the first place.” Department guidelines forbid officers from using personal camera phones to document scenes or evidence. Whether due to a morbid fascination, a genuine interest in crime-scene photography, or a desire to keep souvenirs from on-the-job experiences, some officers say, it happens all the time. Ramsey said any officer caught doing it would be disciplined.