AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Community News Network

December 31, 2013

Amid technology, police still drawn to the sketch

(Continued)

They're keeping the practice alive because, they say, the sketches still pay off.

For sure, surveillance video and cameras become even more powerful when combined with the skills of a police artist, said Sgt. Jerry Manley of Prince George's police.

In one recent case, officers had video of a man suspected of beating and robbing a 71-year-old man who ended up in a coma. Conlon produced a sketch with the 71-year-old when he awoke, and detectives peppered the area where the crime occurred looking for leads.

Investigators received several calls saying the person in the sketch looked like an employee of a local Taco Bell. When police investigated, the Taco Bell employee's face was similar, but the body type was nothing like the 220-pound person they caught on camera. Combining the two investigative tools allowed detectives to eliminate a suspect and redirect their resources.

Detectives kept the composites up and got more calls that eventually turned into a solid lead.

"That picture isn't why we locked the guy up, but it generated the phone calls," Manley said.

Suzanne Lowe Birdwell, chair of the Forensic Art Subcommittee for the International Association for Identification, said although cameras often capture grainy or blurry images, they provide details on a suspect's clothing and body frame. Camera images matched with facial features offered up in composites make the two investigative tools even more powerful.

"The videos help prove up the crime, but they don't identify," said Birdwell, a forensic artist for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Other local police detectives say composite artists' familiarity with the anatomy of a face and their gentle interviewing touch make them invaluable.

"Technology and machinery is cold," said Wayne Promisel, a detective at the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and former Fairfax County police detective. "It is also missing the ability to ask the questions in a certain way in an interview while having a sense of compassion" for victims.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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