TO SKETCH A THIEF

CRIME Unlike the gangster movies of old, wherein artistic cops whip out a sketch of a suspect after talking with victims, Dallas police have lately relied on the old Identikit showing overlays of characteristic chins, mouths, noses, etc. But the results weren’t very accurate, and identifying scars and asymmetrical faces couldn’t be shown.

So this spring, Detective Cheryl Wright became the city’s first police composite artist. To test her skills, D sent writer Jeff Posey to describe executive editor Chris Tucker. Though Posey has seen Tucker almost every day for four years, the process took about three hours and was a grueling test of Posey’s memory and Wright’s patience. She says her sketches will provide police with justification to question a suspect, as well as give a psychological lift to victims, making them feel they’ve done something constructive to help the investigation.

Tucker reported a different reaction to seeing himself as a wanted man. “Just to see my picture like this,” he says, “makes me feel funny, like I’m guilty of something,” There’s no accounting for troubled consciences in this process.

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