Growing up on the west side of Chicago, I was no stranger to street gangs, drugs and violence. I attended school in Chicago and it was during these early childhood years that I developed a deep passion for drawing.
As an adult, I joined the Cook County Sheriff's Department where I started working as a correctional officer. Less than 2 years later, I was promoted to the police department. In November of 1999, I became a detective and soon after, attended the Chicago Police Detective Academy.
Through all this, my art skills were always a part of my life. As a detective, I would draw caricatures of colleagues just for laughs. One day a supervisor told me to think about becoming a sketch artist. This realization was like a light bulb over my head.
I attended the Mastering Forensic Art Techniques class at Northwestern University taught by renowned sketch artist, Lois Gibson. After becoming state certified, I attended the FBI's Forensic Facial Imaging course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. There I learned the dynamics of the FBI's methodologies in producing forensic composites as well as age progression and reconstructing faces on skulls using clay, and in 2D. I also learned to sharpen my skills in interviewing victims and witnesses of crimes, to produce a good composite.
While attending the academy, the mother and husband of Honorable Judge Joan Lefkow were murdered in her home. I was contacted by the Chicago Police requesting to produce a sketch of the suspect. I had the honor of producing the sketch that helped bring closure to the family.
My work was then recognized nationally, including being featured on America's Most Wanted. This lead me to become Chicago's go-to forensic artist for years to come which includes state and federal law enforcement agencies.
With over 22 years of experience as a police officer and detective, as well as over 13 years as a forensic artist, I’m excited to introduce the Luis Santoyo Academy of Forensic Art.