Flashback: How police measured-up the arrested

SEATTLE METROPOLITAN POLICE MUSEUM -- You know if you get arrested now police will take your mug shots and fingerprint you, but back in the old days they did things a little differently and strangely. Seattle police Ofc. Jim Ritter has more in “Flashback.”

"Catching crooks is a tough job,” he says. “Prior to modern police technology, social media and cool shows like Washington's Most Wanted, police over the past 130 years have had to rely on basic tools to catch the elusive criminal. One of those tools is a Bertillon measuring device. It was used by the Seattle Police Department from the 1880's through the early 1900's. In addition to wanted posters and fingerprints, when a prisoner was arrested, he would be subject to having his body measured by this device. The device would measure the height of your head, the width of your head and other body parts. These recordings would be placed in the ‘Mugbook’. Most people’s measurements were fairly accurate. The only problem with this was though as people got older, their bodies grew so the measuring device grew increasingly ineffective as time went on. This practice was abandoned about 1914 and was replaced by more scientific methods like fingerprints.” “You know it's really amazing that even though police in the old days had very little technology, they were still able to catch as many criminals as they did and put them in jail where they belong.”