by Charles T. Jackson
In my last several posts I discussed some of the reasons that I limit my training to those in Law Enforcement. In this post, I’ll start discussing why you should get your training from Westwood Forensic Imaging if you are in Law Enforcement (Regardless of position ie. court clerk, dispatcher, parking enforcement, etc.), and your are interested in getting started in the field of composite imaging.
Back when I was in the Police Academy, one of our invited instructors was teaching a class on the importance of note taking, and happened to be a Composite Artist for his department. He laid some of his composites out on the back table in the class room, and talked to us about them for a few minutes at the end of the lecture evening. I stopped him before he left and asked him if he would be willing to show me how to do a composite image. I showed him several of the drawings that I had doodled in my notebook and he consented to give me a basic lesson. In the Fall of 1989, I went to meet with him at his department, and so began my training in the field of composite imaging.
After this initial training, I concentrated all my efforts into getting additional training in not only the field of composite imaging, but facial reconstruction, and age progression as well. I was very fortunate to have been trained by many pioneers in the field of Forensic Art, but my roots remained with composite imaging, and in that initial training I received locally.
When I first got started in the field of composite image making in critical cases, I had developed a process that helped me to keep my drawings in a very precise size range, (for photocopying purposes) and also assisted in gauging the balance of the image as it developed. I based this process on a guide that was taught to me in that initial training while at the academy along with improvements that I developed on my own. I introduced this process to “students” at a conference in Dallas, TX in 2005, and published it in the International Association for Identification’s Journal of Forensic Identification (JFI) in the July/August edition in 2006. All feedback from the publication was positive, and it was at this time that I was encouraged to get started training others. My process eliminates many of the concerns a new composite artist might experience, and allows them to relax and concentrate on interviewing the victim, and assembling the composite image.
Another reason to get your training with Westwood Forensic imaging is the “bang for your buck” ratio involved. In the first 40 hour training session with Westwood, you learn how to sketch out individual features while working toward a “base face”, as well as how to assemble a face from reference images. At the end of this training, participants have drawn as many as 17* full faces in one 40 hour training week. Students would have to take at least two, or as many as FIVE of Westwood Forensic Imaging’s competitors classes to match that!! Thank you very much for your interest in the field of composite imaging.
*Number of full faces depends on the ability and speed of the student artist. The lowest number of composites completed in the 40 hour Intro. Class is 11 and is still more than three times as many as a student might complete in a competitors 40 hour course work.