Illinois police recruits now required to complete course on how to avoid wrongful convictions

Illinois police training
Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) - You can’t write the story of wrongful convictions without at least one chapter about Illinois. And, the police officers of tomorrow will perhaps erase the state’s shameful legacy.

The director of the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mike Schlosser, said many wrongful convictions result from something other than bad cops knowing they have the wrong guy.

“A lot of officers have a tendency to get what we call ‘tunnel vision,’” said Schlosser. “A lot of times there’s information coming in to build that case (of the person the officer believes is the suspect), but, a lot of times there’s other evidence coming in that sometimes don’t get as much attention as they should, because we’ve kind of almost convinced ourselves that this is the person that did it.

“That’s just kind of how your mind works,” Schlosser added.

He suggested suspects at a crime scene have been at times told they’re on video and urged to sign paperwork with the potential of getting a lighter sentence. Schlosser said that’s why some innocent men and women falsely confess.

It’s now state law that aspiring police officers receive this training. Starting this year, all police recruits in Illinois must complete the Wrongful Conviction Awareness and Avoidance course during their training.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images