North Miami Beach police will stop using mug shots for target practice

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
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The North Miami Beach Police Department said it will no longer use mug shots as targets for sniper training

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL -- For years, the North Miami Beach Police department has been using targets on the gun range featuring suspects from its own stockpile of mug shots.

Now, the police agency is vowing to end the practice.

The change in police comes after Valerie Deant was at a gun range for her National Guard weapons training. She noticed one of the targets had a familiar face.

It was a mugshot of her brother, Woody Deant, from when he was arrested nearly 15 years ago. His picture was full of holes.

"I've had to live and relive seeing a bullet through my forehead and a bullet through my eye at the hands of the North Miami Beach Police Department," Woody Deant said at a news conference Monday morning outside City Hall.

Deant's family was outraged and contacted the police department and local news media. ABC affiliate WPLG then discovered police officers had been using a photo lineup of half-a-dozen men arrested over the years as target practice. Many of the men still lived in the area.

"I am not a mug shot," Deant said. "I do not deserve to be a target for sport as a training exercise."

Chief Scott Dennis said the mug shots were being used in facial recognition exercises for sniper training. He says the department will now purchase mug shots from a commercial vendor.

"This sort of mug shot drill has been suspended indefinitely and ceases to exist as part of our training," Dennis said. "A policy change has been initiated and the new procedure will be that no one will be shooting photographic images in the future."