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Eyewitness Evidence: A Trainer's Manual for Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2003
62 pages
Publication Series
This training manual recommends procedures for law enforcement use in investigations involving eyewitness evidence.
Developed by the Technical Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence, this training manual describes the importance of the role of eyewitnesses in the criminal justice system. In order to improve the accuracy, reliability, and availability of information obtained from eyewitnesses, the National Institute of Justice initiated a project in 1998 in order to instruct law enforcement trainers in the ways in which to collect and preserve eyewitness evidence. This training manual contains comprehensive step-by-step lesson plans for schooling law enforcement personnel in the ways in which to conduct interviews with eyewitnesses. The manual is divided into five sections, with sub-sections as noted: (1) Initial Report of the Crime/First Responder (Preliminary Investigator): Answering the 9-1-1/Emergency Call, Investigating the scene, Obtaining information from the witness(es); (2) Mug Books and Composites: Preparing mug books, Developing and using composite images, Instructing the witness, Documenting the procedure; (3) Procedures for Interviewing the Witness by the Follow-up Investigator: Pre-interview procedures and decisions, Initial (pre-interview) contact with the witness, Conducting the interview, Recording witness recollections, Assessing the accuracy of individual elements of a witness's statement, Maintaining contact with the witness; (4) Field Identification Procedure (Show-up): Conducting show-ups, Recording show-up results; and (5) Procedures for Eyewitness Identification of Suspects: Composing photo and live line-ups, Instructing the witness prior to photo and live line-ups, Conducting the identification procedure for simultaneous and sequential photo and live line-ups, Recording identification results. A list of publications geared towards assisting law enforcement trainers and their studies follows the lesson plans. This training manual also contains a CD-ROM presentation that follows the training manual, supplementing it with audio and visual files at appropriate intervals.

Date Published: September 1, 2003