The complainants object to this, but I think the rest of us can agree that this is police work at its finest. These cops know that lawbreaking abounds in the naked dancing field, not the least of which is unlicensed nudity. For non-San Diegans, I should explain that San Diego requires each naked dancer under its jurisdiction to have an "adult entertainer" license. This sets the stripper back a couple hundred bucks, and it comes straight out of her garter. This fee covers a background check, among other things. What could be more important to a strip bar customer in the throes of getting a lap dance than knowing that the creamy derriere being ground against the rayon of his trousers is not guilty of any felony convictions? Other than worrying about a potential dry-cleaning bill, that is.
Cynics claim that the purpose of the adult entertainer license is merely to generate income for the city and give the cops an excuse to hang out in strip club dressing rooms instead of taco shops and it is true that San Diego is unique in requiring them. In California, the most regulated state in the country outside of New York, you are required to have a license to do almost anything, from building a skyscraper to painting an outhouse, but only San Diego protects its strip bar customers by making sure their eyes, glazed by alcohol and lust, are not falling on outlaw boobies. Only unclothed entertainers need be licensed here; you can mime, or paint yourself gold and pretend to be a statue, or play the tuba at a subway stop, if you can find a subway stop, without any special permit at all.
And photographing naked girls with tattoos is certainly a legitimate police interest. The San Diego police lieutenant who defended the practice stated that the strippers could easily disguise themselves by changing their hair color or wearing wigs and the police could lose track of which stripper was which as they went about their nude business if they didn't have the photo gallery of intimate tattoos ("Sure, she's blonde this week, but she's still got that tattoo of Jimmy Kimmel riding a unicorn on her rump. Book her!")and it also helps keep the average cop's Instagram account a lot more interesting.
One thing the SD cops aren't interested in is tattoos on male strippers. Professionally naked guys are trusted to go about town wagging their genitals without any police supervision. These hulking oiled men pose no threat to their customers in the judgement of local lawmen, at least not compared to girls with criminally taut tummies and temptingly tattooed behinds. It's Tawny, Amber, Desiree and the rest of their crew that the San Diego cops want to target in their panty raids, not Brock, Logan or Dirk.
So don't give us a lost of personal liberties bosh here in SD. If girls here want to have civil rights, they can keep their clothes on. We're old school that way.