Guidelines for Reporting Arrests

Our policy:

Embarcadero Media will generally not publish the names of individuals arrested by police or their mugshots until charges are actually filed by the District Attorney's Office.

There are some exceptions, all of which are subject to our editorial judgment: the arrestee is a public figure, a public safety or school employee; the arrest was for a major "violent" crime; the arrest was the result of an extended police or FBI investigation; or, as decided by the editor, the crime is of broad public interest or concern.

We will continue to publish in our articles a hyperlink to law-enforcement agency press releases that name the arrestees and, occasionally, include their booking photos.

The reasons for our policy:

The use of internet search engines by employers and others to investigate the backgrounds of individuals has exposed those arrested for crimes to lasting negative publicity due to archived online news stories on their arrests. This becomes problematic when arrests do not result in charges being filed by the District Attorney's Office or when arrestees are charged by the DA with less serious crimes than those for which they were initially booked by police.

Unlike in the past, when editions of print newspapers were not easily retrievable or searchable, any story we publish online now remains easily available to search engines on the internet. In an even more unfair twist, a person with an unusual name will suffer disproportionately compared to an arrestee with a common name, as an article with his/her name will likely appear at the top of a list of search results.