The KCPD now has a new policy in regard to eyewitness identification procedures. This policy is to help prevent misidentifications when it comes to identifying and convicting suspects of crimes. At the direction of the department, Captain Everett Babcock spearheaded this project to make the new policy a reality. During the process, Captain Babcock consulted with the Midwest Innocence Project, which was founded in 2001 through UMKC’s School of Law. The Midwest Innocence Project is a part of the National Innocence Network and they partner with law firms, law schools, and undergraduate student volunteers to bring awareness to misidentifications and other potential wrongful convictions.
28 out of the 50 states already have some level of mandated eyewitness identification procedures in place. According to the Innocence Project, mistaken eyewitness identifications contributed to approximately 69% of the more than 375 identified wrongful convictions in the United States which were overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence. Prior to these new changes, KCPD had no policy which specifically addressed the procedures to be used during eyewitness identifications. KCPD recognized that possible changes to past procedures might be in order to ensure that the department was doing everything possible to remove the risk of mistaken identifications of suspects by victims and witnesses. Captain Babcock was tasked with looking into this matter. After a lengthy review of much of the available research on this subject, and using information Captain Babcock had learned during his graduate classes at the University of Central Missouri, Captain Babcock recommended that the Department needed to have a policy in place which recognized and addressed the issues which have been identified in recent research that relate to eyewitness identification. Captain Babcock reached out to the Innocence Project for information and feedback throughout the creation of the new policy.
Now, the next steps will be to train all KCPD Detectives on the new policy. Captain Babcock stated that he has invited The Midwest Innocence Project to attend this training to observe how the new procedures will be implemented through the Department. The Kansas City Missouri Police Department always wants to make sure that justice is served in criminal cases and this new policy is going to help ensure just that.
Click here to view the new policy in its entirety.