Collinsville Police Department’s Facebook page was filled with critical comments after the arrest of a man at a Collinsville water park who police say was taking photos of girls and women in swimsuits.
Melvin E. Hock, 59, was arrested at the Splash City Waterpark on June 21 on disorderly conduct charges. Employees at the water park called police after they received complaints from two patrons that Hock was allegedly taking photos of women and girls at the park.
Police found 29 images and four videos of girls in swimsuits, ranging from 5-35 years old, according to a news release.
But because taking photos like that isn’t against the law, there was nothing more police could do than charge Hock with disorderly conduct, said Maj. Brett Boem.
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“While we were very concerned, just like any other member of the public, about the nature of the photos ... we knew he hadn’t violated the law specifically due to it being a public place,” Boem said. “But we felt like we needed to do something to address the situation. The most appropriate thing we could come up with was disorderly conduct due to the fact that he was creating a scene and concern among patrons.”
The photos were deleted off Hock’s phone, Boem said. Screenshots of the photos are in the evidence vault, but police will not be releasing or showing the photos to any member of the public.
As for trying to identify the people in the photo, which some commenters had expressed an interest in, Boem said that would be too difficult, with a full water park and around 30 photos on the man’s phone.
Instead, he said, they addressed the situation by posting his photo on Facebook and sending it to news outlets, to make sure the public knew.
“It’s a tough situation,” Boem said. “With the law, there’s nothing we can do. We took it as far as we could.”