Horry County sketch artist tries to erase criminals from the street

Horry County Deputy Sheriff Scotty Jordan works on a sketch. A typical drawing takes around four hours (WPDE).

Deputy Sheriff Scotty Jordan hunches over the piece of paper in front of him, lowering his electric eraser to a drawing of a man in his 20's.

With a low whirring sound filling the room, the man's lower eyelids disappear.

"We don't keep these," Jordan said, explaining that lower eyelids don't have a definite line on a person's face. He'll fill in the area with shadows later.

Jordan has been employed with the Horry County Sheriff's Office for years, but just began his official sketch artist career this month.

"When I was in the third grade, I won my first art contest. I won another one in the fifth grade. I always loved drawing," Jordan said. "My brother was a fingerprint examiner and crime scene investigator, and he mentioned to me one day... he says you need to try and get into this [class]."

So, while employed with the department in the county jail in 2013, Jordan began to draw faces.

He first got his certification two years later, but it lapsed in 2016 because of Hurricane Matthew. The department helped him renew it this year, and decided to put his skills to use.

"Just having this asset locally and for the surrounding agencies is huge," Sergeant Timmy Tyner said.

The Sheriff's Office reached out to police and sheriff's departments in the area. Georgetown Police were the first to call back.

A typical sketch takes around four hours to complete. Jordan has a crime victim look over a book with different mug shots compiled by the FBI. Each is marked with a number.

Victims are asked to browse the book and write the number corresponding to a face that matches particular characteristics of the suspect, from eyes, to noses, to the shape of the person's face.

Slowly, Jordan takes each characteristic and sketches them together, periodically stopping to ask the victim if changes need to be made.

"It's going to make me feel good that I could use a skill set to assist another agency in catching a suspect," Jordan said.

He's hoping departments will ask for his services as often as they need to so he can get more practice, and says he'd like to continue sketching suspects to retirement, and then after as a freelancer.

For all the effort that goes into each sketch, which isn't considered strong enough evidence to convict someone in court, Jordan doesn't get attached.

"It's not there as a piece of artwork. It's there as a tool," he stated.

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