Hello everyone, it’s Michael W. Streed—The SketchCop®. I’m excited to announce the launch of our first monthly newsletter bringing you tips, case reviews, news, and other information related to forensic art.
Starting this year, I decided to expand my training events by offering online distance learning opportunities. Providing this opportunity will allow all of you that are interested in forensic art to take specialized training classes at your own convenience and not miss a chance at taking an on-site training class. You can sign up for the classes AND the newsletter at: https://sketchcop-online-academy.teachable.com/
If that sounds good to you, then let’s get to it…
Did you know that there are very few full-time forensic artists? Today, most forensic artists have primary jobs within a police department, such as: police officer, police service officer, detective, investigative assistant, crime scene investigator, crime analyst and secretary, just to name a few. For most, their assignment as a forensic artist is a collateral duty that they integrate into their everyday assignments.
Many of them already have an educational background in art, or they just enjoy drawing. But, because their role as a forensic artist is ‘part-time’, they must always be ready to use their skills any time they are called upon by detectives. This is where high-quality, relevant training comes in.
There are so many facets when developing a sketch, it’s important that you understand your role in the process. Developing a composite sketch is a collaborative effort between the forensic artist and anyone who is the victim, or an eyewitness to a crime. In some cases, this witness may be a friend yours, or family member. Whoever they may be, our goal is to gently coax them into providing vital information critical to creating a usable sketch.
Over the years I have been involved in many heartbreaking, high-profile cases. Someone asked me the other day how I deal with the weight that comes with them. My answer is simply this – “although I CAN’T help what HAPPENED to the victims and their families, I CAN help with what HAPPENS to them afterwards as they begin the healing process. To play a role in something so positive makes sharing their burden a much lighter load.”
Some say because of new technology, the skills and experience of traditional forensic artists will no longer be needed. I disagree. Instead, I think with new technologies that push digital drawing and software-driven sketches into the mainstream, the skills of forensic artists are needed more than ever. Take for instance the following case I worked on. It involves using a traditional facial reconstruction technique that police hoped would identify a 2001 homicide victim.
I can’t help but think that if I was using technology available today, the victim might be identified and a suspect would be in-custody. But, I might still have a chance to revisit the case.
To learn more, read the article and I’ll keep you posted about what happens.