When it comes to identifying the right suspects, Austin police officers are changing the way they do lineups.
It's no longer the way we see it in the movies with a handful of suspects lined up against the wall and a witness picking out the right bad guy.
It turns out, seeing all of the suspects at once might not work, and it might cause more eyewitness errors.
APD participated in a study by the American Judicature Society, the results found that when investigators show witnesses individual pictures of suspects the chances of a wrongful conviction are reduced.
Studies show that an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people per year are incorrectly identified in criminal line-ups, slowing down investigations. The study also found that photo lineups on computers are more effective.
"Sequential lineups, which is one photo at a time is the way to go in terms of limiting the potential of mistaken identify," said Police Chief Art Acevedo.
The new procedure took effect on Jan. 6, and Acevedo says his officers have all undergone new training.
The department will also conduct sequential lineups in a "double blind" format, which means neither the witness or the presenting detective knows who the suspect is. APD says their goal is to make sure they catch the right criminal the first time.
"When someone is wrongfully convicted and charged, it has a negative impact on the trust between the community and the police department, and more importantly it means the real criminal is running around preying on our families, and preying on our neighbors, and friends," said Acevedo.
APD says the only exceptions to using the new procedure will be when it involves witnesses who are children in special circumstances.