Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bad police sketches

Here is a police sketch from British Columbia. A home was broken into and a victim stabbed in the leg. You may be shocked by the strangeness of this sketch - he does look a bit like an owl, doesn't he?

Police sketches don't have to be great works of art. It would of course help – but what a lot of people don’t know is that the police sketch artist is not allowed to draw anything without the witness/victim present. The artist cannot draw it partially and take it home to finish the rest of it.

The police sketch is part of the evidence, because it comes from victim/eyewitness testimony. So, perhaps in this case, the victim could not stay longer. Perhaps the victim broke down emotionally. Maybe the victim even described the man as looking like an owl.

Once the sketch artist has confirmed with the victim that the image is a good representation of the perpetrator, that’s good enough. The victim is helping the police – volunteering their time, the police aren’t going to keep the victim in the police department and further traumatize the victim. Or, in this case, the female victim is in the hospital, so that probably figured into it somehow.

You can see from the sketch that the man had a low forehead and widow’s peak hairline. He had very round eyes. That may be enough for an identification to be made by someone who knows that individual. The perp is dangerous, and speed is of the essence.

This sketch has enough to identify the man to people who know him, and even if it's considered a "bad" sketch, it gets people talking, and when you get enough people talking, you get leads. When the leads bring capture of a dangerous criminal, then what does it matter if the drawing makes him look like an owl?

Here is the news story about this case, from CTV British Columbia

No comments:

Post a Comment