Eyewitness Evidence: A Trainer's Manual for Law Enforcement  


Table of Contents

About This Manual

Purpose of the Trainer's Manual

Trainers should carefully read this manual in its entirety before attempting to teach this material.

This manual is written for law enforcement trainers to accompany Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement (hereafter, the Guide). It is presumed that the law enforcement students in the course will each have a copy of (or access to) the Guide. This manual and the linked multimedia presentations are designed to facilitate trainers? teaching of the Guide in two ways.

First, this manual provides much of the context for understanding why the procedures described in the Guide for the collection and preservation of eyewitness evidence may enhance the reliability of this evidence. Although the procedures described in the Guide are relatively easy to follow, it is useful for trainers to understand why procedures are important and to communicate these reasons to the students.

Second, the multimedia presentations include a number of exercises and demonstrations to promote students? understanding of the material and to make the training sessions more interactive and interesting for the students.

Development of the Trainer's Manual

This manual was developed by a panel of law enforcement practitioners, psychology researchers, prosecutors, and defense lawyers who served as members of the Technical Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence (TWGEYEE). The panel used a consensus-building process similar to that employed in developing the Guide to write the instructor?s notes and explanations included in this manual. All material was reviewed by TWGEYEE as well as a network of national organizations, law enforcement agencies, and individuals concerned with the training of investigators. Comments from these reviewers were considered by the panel and incorporated as appropriate.

The sample lesson plans and materials included in this manual were pilot tested by police training instructors in an authentic classroom environment. This pilot testing was completed in September 2000 at the Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Department Training Academy as part of a 2-day training course for law enforcement and legal practitioners and trainers. Instructor and student evaluation forms were completed, and feedback sessions with the authors of the manual were held at the end of each day to assess the utility and effectiveness of the lesson plans and training materials. Further refinements to this manual were accomplished as a result of the pilot testing.

Organization of the Trainer's Manual

The manual is divided into two sections: Interviewing and Identification. These sections provide sample lesson plans that relate directly to the interview and identification procedures contained in the Guide. In these sections, the procedural portion of the Guide is reprinted and supported by explanations for the instructor?s reference, as denoted by the eye (Eye Icon) icon. Instructors should describe the rationale for each procedure at the time each procedure is discussed. Information in the ?notes? column (see right portion of the screen) suggests exercises, demonstrations, and discussion ideas that correspond to the procedures, as well as key points that should be highlighted during classroom discussion. The notes column also includes links to the multimedia files.

The multimedia presentation follows the procedural content of the Guide. Its use is highly recommended because it includes audio/visual aides and exercises that can be effective teaching tools. Instructors are, of course, encouraged to incorporate their own materials as desired.

Use of the Trainer's Manual

The material in this manual is designed either to supplement existing training programs or to be used on its own. Each component of the Interviewing and Identification sections may be taught independently as needed for different audiences (e.g., dispatchers, first responders, investigators, interviewers, lineup administrators).

When conducting a training course using this manual, the instructors? explanations (denoted by the Eye Icon) should be used to clarify for students the reasoning behind each procedure. The instructors? explanations often include practical examples of what can go wrong if procedures are not followed, which help to ?drive home? the importance of each step for students. Key points and clarifications are highlighted in the notes column to draw instructors? attention to critical information. Instructors should use this information to facilitate students? learning, understanding, and skills.

Instructors should keep in mind that students will have access to the Guide itself, rather than this manual. As a practical consideration (particularly in courses operating within strict time limitations), it is more important to emphasize procedural reasoning and examples as included in the instructors? explanations than to read verbatim the text of the Guide. In particular, ?Principle,? ?Policy,? and ?Summary? statements need not be read to the class. A simple summary of each section?s importance can be provided by the instructor.

Instructors may note that some departures have been made from the text of the Guide in certain areas of this manual. These departures reflect that the performance of every procedure may not be feasible or appropriate in all jurisdictions or in all situations. Instructors may choose to mention these caveats to students as appropriate.

Instructors should familiarize themselves thoroughly with this manual before attempting to train law enforcement students on the Guide?s procedures. Instructors are encouraged to direct questions and suggestions regarding both the Guide and this manual to the National Institute of Justice (askost@ojp.usdoj.gov). Such feedback from law enforcement trainers will be valuable for any future updates of these materials.

Notes for Instructors About the Web Version of this Manual:

  • Explanations for procedures are denoted by the eye (Eye Icon) icon.

  • The information in the right margin indicates when instructors should show slides and suggests exercises, demonstrations, and discussion ideas that correspond to the procedures.

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