Police Composite Sketches & COVID-19
With many of us sidelined due to COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus; you can bet that criminals are still finding ways to scam, rob and steal from us. Although crime is reportedly down across the board, violent crime remains prevalent and is likely to rise post COVID-19.
As a Certified Forensic Artist with 40 years of experience; I have experience assisting law enforcement with investigations that have drawn international interest, along with many that barely made a whisper.
For me, every case is important. The common denominator being the relationship I develop with my eyewitness and law enforcement investigators.
The ability to sit close to the eyewitness to provide strength and comfort is an element of the police composite sketch interview that helps lead to success. Equally important is the professional relationships I'm able to build with investigators.
Before COVID-19 we were all together in close quarters, often less than 6 feet apart. Tears were shed, handshakes were exchanged and sometimes eyewitnesses were so thankful that it wasn’t uncommon to receive an occasional hug.
Today that's all changed. Social distancing, wearing masks, no physical contact and other stringent guidelines have made connecting with people on a personal level much more challenging. Coupled with police departments closing their lobbies to public access, it makes it even more difficult to schedule and complete a police composite sketch appointment with an eyewitness.
Five years ago, long before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, I was already providing remote, online police composite sketch interviews using online meeting software. Leveraging communication technology allowed me to quickly and easily connect with eyewitnesses, minus the physical presence. In a majority of these cases I'm thousands of miles away.
Despite the distance, I'm able to create successful police composite sketches and provide the same services as if I was there onsite.
Investigators readily embrace the concept because they can request a police composite sketch and conduct their investigations while they wait for me to make the appointment and later e-mail them the completed sketch. Often times within the same day.
Busy eyewitnesses enjoy the safety and convenience, often times logging into a remote police composite interview session from their smartphones. Or if they prefer, from the safety and comfort of their home or office.
For years there's been the belief that the police sketch artist needs to be in the same room as an eyewitness to judge their veracity and gauge their emotion. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In addition to providing law enforcement agencies with remote police composite sketches, I've been able to train police departments and students from around the globe without having to step foot in their country.
I've also been able to upload 3-D files and create skull models of homicide victims for facial reconstructions without compromising evidence. Age progressions, postmortem images, 1-to-1 facial comparisons and analysis, image enhancement, photo-lineups and any other forensic facial imaging can be done remotely simply by uploading and downloading files and photos.
Our investment in technology makes this an effective, affordable solution for law enforcement without having to make the investment themselves. As a matter of fact, my company, SketchCop® Solutions provides contract forensic facial imaging services with two of the nation's largest and most historically significant police departments.
COVID-19 will change the way we interact socially. How we move forward to effectively fight crime depends on how we use our imagination; including how far we allow ourselves to think outside the box or how far we're willing to wander outside our comfort zones.
Since we won't be going back, it's time to move forward. I'm not waiting. I hope you aren't either.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about our products and training. So until next month, be safe, stay well and as always - KEEP ON SKETCHING!