The concept of composite assembly systems is nothing new. SketchCop FACETTE just made it better. The first manual composite assembly system, Smith & Wesson’s Identi-Kit debuted in the mid 1950’s. Since then, others have been busy trying to create better systems using computer software. None of them have quite caught on with law enforcement officers who continually bemoan the poor image quality and lack of product support and training. None of that mattered though. Because like them or not, police must choose something when left with nothing but an eyewitness account. I knew from being a police officer myself that if investigators thought a kid with a crayon could help, they would have put him or her to work.
I believe composite assembly systems fell short was because few, if any, companies first consulted with a forensic artist before taking their product to market. The failure of these composite assembly systems left forensic artists feeling pretty confident that technology would never rival or surpass their work. I on the other hand always believed a solution was out there and I was determined to find it.
Since the day I began training as a forensic artist, I had one eye on technology. I soon figured out that it was only a matter of time before software caught up with artists. Early in my career I worked as a paid consultant for many companies trying to help them improve their software. I even used their software on real cases. While I had some success, the results were still less than satisfying. It wasn’t long before I came to the conclusion that the technology would best be driven and developed by a forensic artist.
During my journey to create a better system I was thankful to have met and trained under three veteran forensic artists who shaped my view of the discipline and influenced me to push the envelope. I will be forever grateful to them for embracing technology during a time when the field was first developing and trying to establish its place among other long-recognized forensic disciplines. Their entrepreneurial spirit remains with me to this day.