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Virginia Looks To Standardize Police Lineups

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Virginia police officers are moving toward a uniform approach when using lineups to identify suspects.
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Virginia police officers are moving toward a uniform approach when using lineups to identify suspects.

The Virginia State Crime Commission wants police officers to implement a more uniform approach when using lineups to identify suspects.

A number of factors impact how effective police lineups are for catching and prosecuting criminals. A witness must be able to accurately identify a suspect without manipulation. Depending on whether it's a photographic or live lineup, photos must be clear enough for witnesses to distinguish specific characteristics, or the pool of possible perpetrators must be chosen without profiling.

But only 74 percent of law enforcement agencies have uniform policies. Department of Criminal Justice Division Director Teresa Gooch says one challenge is making sure that new officers know the policies from the outset.

"It's training and our ability to reach out to work with the training academies because that's where the foundation of all training starts," says Gooch.

She says there is training but it must take place at all agencies.

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