It's nothing new for police to take photos with personal cameras. Some veteran officers keep scrapbooks, and some detectives used to carry cameras to snap pictures of scenes before the Crime Scene Unit arrived, just to ensure that nothing got moved.

What has changed is the technology and the way people exchange information. Camera phones make it easier than ever to distribute images, and officers can instantly forward pictures to colleagues, friends, or family. Sending a photo via cell phone means the sender loses control of it and, from that point, has no way of knowing where it will end up. In one case, family members received a photo of a relative's dead body, and according to law experts, a photo landing on the Internet or in the wrong hands could have legal ramifications.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey condemned the taking of personal photos at crime scenes, calling it unprofessional and immature.

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