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University of Southern Mississippi Professor Collaborates with Houston Police for Eyewitness Research Study
Date:12/4/2012

Hattiesburg, MS (PRWEB) December 04, 2012

Dr. Thomas Payne, associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice at The University of Southern Mississippi, has teamed up with the Houston (Texas) Police Department to collect data for groundbreaking research into the best methods for conducting eyewitness lineups.

Payne has worked closely with Sgt. Stephen Morrison of the HPD to collect data that accurately portrays the effectiveness of methods utilized by police detectives to gather eyewitness evidence. Most U.S. law enforcement agencies use the simultaneous lineup, in which the eyewitness views a lineup of individuals at the same time. However, some research has indicated that a sequential lineup, in which photographs are presented to the witness one at a time, produces fewer false identifications.

“No one wants to see any person wrongfully convicted,” said Morrison. “Over the past years there has been an effort to create public policy on how police investigators collect eyewitness evidence, with the belief that some of the error occurs in the method of collecting eyewitness evidence. The Houston Police is seeking to find a ‘best practice’ solution from this research.”

More than 1,000 surveys were conducted and analyzed during the study and no mock lineups were used as part of the project. The objective is to ensure that the Houston Police Department employs the most impartial lineup procedure possible for eyewitness identification.

“That is the beauty and value of field research,” Payne said. “We used actual cases of robbery and the victims or other eyewitnesses. In Houston the robbery division investigates over 700 armed robberies a month. So we had plenty of opportunities to gather real world data in real time. Gathering data on the run, and those results, gives us a better bar
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