Police lineups no longer standard procedure - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Police lineups no longer standard procedure

What once was standard police procedure has gone the way the typewriter or the cassette tape, they are around but just not used much anymore. The in-person lineups are fading away. Chicago Police announced it's reducing its use. But for departments around here the tool is usually only seen in Hollywood.

It was easy to find videos of lineups when you watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. It's the perfect plot twist, the audience holds its breath waiting to see if the victim can identify the suspect. But in real life, the physical line-up has been replaced with photos.

"We started in 1971 and at that time we would routinely do in person, standup lineups. The tradition was at that point was to use other prisoners who were in the county jail as fill-ins for the lineup," says Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro, Winnebago County Sheriff's Department.

That's when Iasparro was still working for the Rockford Police Department. He says in its been years since that procedure has been used. In Belvidere, Chief Jan Noble says in 40 years on the job he's never used it.

"It would be a burden not only upon the department but the investigating officer to go out and find 5 other individuals in addition to the suspect," says Noble.

Now law enforcement has a computer system where they can type in a description of their suspect and get mug shots that look similar.

"There's a great deal of scrutiny on lineups, photo lineups. That law enforcement has to be very careful that you are not suggestive in any manner, giving the witness a head ups as to who the person might be and then also to continue the investigation and don't base it solely on identification because it's been proven inaccurate," says Iasparro.

Rockford Police say its been years since they have used in person line-ups. Both Rockford and Winnebago County say there is something called a "show-up" which allows they to let a victim look at a suspect if police catch them shortly after a crime has been committed nearby.

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