Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Community News Network

December 31, 2013

Amid technology, police still drawn to the sketch

(Continued)

In some cases, police departments use sketch artists with an updated twist. John Dassoulas has been generating composite sketches for Montgomery County police for more than 20 years. But now he opts for composite-generating software, which allows officers and witnesses to select features from a database and piece together a single face. Dassoulas creates about 20 to 30 composites a year, half the demand from a decade ago.

Montgomery County detective Sgt. Robert Grims, who investigates aggravated assaults, robberies and other violent crimes, said he will keep using composites. Not only does he believe that they help, but he also doesn't want the resource to disappear.

"I don't envision it scaled back," said Grims, who has become a "bigger believer" in composites over his 17 years as a criminal investigator.

But forensic artist Michael Streed thinks more departments will follow the lead of the District, whose agency doesn't have a sketch artist at all, instead training officers to use software. Streed works for Baltimore city police and is a full-time forensic artist, one of only about 100 in the nation.

"The role of the police sketch artist will be greatly diminished over time through the use of an effective software solution and the proliferation of surveillance videos," said Streed, who has also developed the composite-generating software Sketch Cop.

There's no standard way for law enforcement agencies to calculate arrest and conviction rates that come with the help of the sketches. And many local composite artists couldn't say how many of their drawings actually helped close cases.

That's a problem, said John Watson, a journalism professor at American University who studies the ethics and effectiveness of composite sketches in the criminal justice system and the media. Inappropriate use of composites contributes to racial profiling, false arrests and wrongful convictions, critics say.

Text Only
Community News Network
Featured Ads
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Weather Underground Radar
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Must Read
Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide