GOODYEAR, AZ - Police sketches are often used to catch criminals or locate missing people. But have you ever thought of who draws them, and the extensive work that goes behind it?
Detective James Wegee, with the Goodyear Police Department, has been pulling double duty as the department’s forensic artist for the past five years.
Wegee has always been interested in art as a child, and always wanted to find a way to incorporate it into his work. In 2008, he was offered the chance to go to a school run by the FBI that specializes in forensic art.
It is not common for a detective to be able to also draw the sketches for their own cases. However, over the last five years, Wegee has successfully matched several criminals to the descriptions that he was given.
However, Wegee explains, it’s not always as easy as it seems, “It’s hard most of the time for people to think of that image. You’re drawing a human face from scratch, from something they saw most of the time for just seconds.”
If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, some important things to look for to help characterize the suspect are: height, weight, and ethnicity.
Some other things to look for are distinguishable facial features that cannot easily be changed, such as scars or tattoos.
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