TEST Mug Shot Newspaper Meeting Resistance From Law Enforcement

November 6, 2013 Updated Nov 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM EDT

By KREX News Room
By Hilary Martin

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November 6, 2013 Updated Nov 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM EDT

Grand Junction - A new newspaper aimed at keeping the public safe is meeting some resistance from local law enforcement. It's called Who's Busted, and it publishes mug shots before the suspects have been convicted.

The man publishing the newspaper, "Mr. Johnson," says it could be a large help to law enforcement.

"This guy here was arrested for DUI, and once again, this guy was arrested for DUI," said Mr. Johnson while pointing out the suspect's two mugs within two weeks.

Other areas of the country have magazines like this, but Johnson says that the aim of those publications has been to embarrass people or show humorous mug shots. He says that's not his motive.

"It's everyone that's been arrested and booked, whether it be a DUI, trespassing, breaking and entering," said Johnson.

He wants to conceal his identity for his friends' and family's safety.

"Look who I'm highlighting: they're hard criminals and they're soft criminals," he explained.

So far, he's getting mugs from the Garfield and Delta County Sheriff's Offices, but he's getting resistance from Mesa and Montrose Counties.

"The only thing is the personnel time. They don't have the personnel time to help me out with my requests," explained Johnson. A letter sent by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office to Johnson confirms that concern.

Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee told NewsChannel 5 Johnson is paying the department $5 a week for the mugs, and he couldn't find any reason why Johnson wasn't entitled to them.

"We're not a rag, we're a newspaper," said Johnson. "We're not trying to defame anyone or have anyone lose their employment."

Mr. Johnson plans on having a "not guilty" section intended to clear suspects with mugs published that aren't convicted of any crime.

"Overall, the outcome is that the good outweighs the bad. We're simply trying to report and make the public more aware," said Johnson.

The newspaper goes on sale at convenience stores across the Western Slope on Friday for $1.

Johnson also plans on having a "wanted suspects" section, trying to catch criminals that law enforcement can't find.

No one from the Mesa County Sheriff's Office would go on camera to talk about the newspaper.

Johnson adds that his business is registered with the state and that State Attorney General John Suthers hasn't found anything illegal about it.