To Prevent False IDs, Police Lineups Get Revamped

NPR:

In a small room at police headquarters in Dallas, a police officer and the eyewitness to a minor crime recently sat down together to consider six photographs in a photo lineup.

Eyewitness identifications like this happen every day in America, and on the surface, it is a straightforward transaction. The witness looks at the pictures. The witness picks a person from the photos. Or the witness doesn’t.

But for decades, psychological scientists have worried that the traditional way police departments have conducted these photo lineups was flawed and was landing many innocent people in jail. There was a better way, they argued, and police departments needed to change.

Last month, the state of Texas joined nine other states and passed a measure that requires police departments across the state to review their eyewitness procedures. The law suggests that departments seriously consider the kinds of research-based reforms that psychological scientists have been talking about for years. This move by Texas — a strong law and order state — suggests the science of the lineup is steadily making its way out of the lab and moving to a police station near you.

Read the whole story: NPR

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