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via THE WEEKLY DETAIL
 
Monday, September 26, 2005

 
The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
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Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Raise The Bar: Editorial   LOWELL SUN, MA  - Sept 23, 2005 ...the difficulty lies in the fact that there are no set standards...

Prints Match, Detectives Testify ASBURY PARK PRESS, NY - Sept 23, 2005 ...prints on trash bags containing body part linked suspects...

Fingerprints Link Suspect to Murder INDEPENDENT ONLINE, So AFRICA  - Sept 20, 2005 ...fingerprints found on a waybill accompanied a fake parcel the suspects were pretending to deliver...

Fingerprints Aren't Foolproof   NEWSDAY, NY - Sept 19, 2005 Why are everyone's fingerprints different? Asks a New York student...

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Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's CLPEX.com Message Board postings

Need Help Answering Question
BuckeyeGary Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:47 pm

Evid. Admisibility Hearing
Paul R Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:27 pm

Confirmation Bias Study on Experienced Examiners
L.J.Steele Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:21 am

Use of Cyanoacrylate on Vehicles
Bob, Holly, Barbara (DPD) Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:00 pm

Downdraft Table Choices
Steve Everist Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:02 pm

(http://clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

UPDATES ON CLPEX.com

No major updates on the site this week.

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Last week

Pat Wertheim brought us an update on a recent Daubert-style challenge in San Diego County, California.

This week

we turn our attention toward the concept of DNA identification from latent print residue.  In 2003, there were a number of news articles related to research in Canada on this topic.  A google search of "DNA from fingerprints" or "DNA extractable from fingerprints" will turn up many of these articles.  DNA has been used on many occasions to tie a perpetrator to a vehicle through swabbing of the steering wheel. Two examples can be found in news stories from Cape Cod and San Bernardino, CA.

So what percentage of potential evidence is being exploited in major crimes versus property crimes?  How many departments have procedures in place for the exploitation of DNA evidence from latent print residue?  How many agencies actually practice this technique, or at least preserve DNA evidence for a later time?

Kerrie Cathcart, a Forensic Science Masters student at Marshall University, is conducting a survey on the current state of latent print DNA extraction in the forensic community.
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Latent Print DNA Extraction
Status and Survey
by Kerrie Cathcart

I am currently working on an aspect of the DNA Expansion Demonstration Program for the Marshall University Forensic Science Center.  I brought a survey to the IAI this year in Dallas and collected a lot of data, but need more information to not only produce a simple random sample, but obtain data from those agencies not able to attend this year's conference and those I did not hunt down to fill out a survey.

This survey is intended to gather data from various law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, crime scene investigators and latent print examiners pertaining to their current touch sample and/or saliva sample collection protocols with regard to DNA processing in both crimes against persons and property crimes.

For the purposes of this study, touch samples shall be defined as any sample in which a person has come into physical contact with an item resulting in the potential transfer of skin cells or perspiration from the individual to the item. 
Saliva DNA is DNA that is left by a person by means of saliva.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether agencies are collecting possible touch and saliva DNA at property crimes and, if not, why they are not collecting such evidence.  From the data already collected, a majority of agencies stated it was due to a high volume of backlogged cases and budget constraints.  This appears to be a recurrent problem throughout the nation. 

If the results are such that agencies are not collecting potential contact and saliva DNA due to DNA backlogs and budget constraints, our hope is that funding will become available to alleviate this ever-growing problem. 


This survey will take approximately five minutes of your time and is completely confidential.  Please fill it out and e-mail it back to me at kerrie_cathcart@hotmail.com.  (You can also forward the Weekly Detail e-mail back to me and fill in the blanks before you hit send)  I hope to have this project completed by the end of October.  Thank you to those who participated in the survey in Dallas, and thank you to those of you who will participate in this survey.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or at 304-690-4363, ext. 206.

Sincerely,

Kerrie Cathcart
Marshall University Forensic Science Center
1401 Forensic Science Drive
Huntington, WV 25701

****For a print-friendly version, you may download a MS Word Document from CLPEX.com****

Collection of DNA at Property Crimes Survey

Sponsored by the Marshall University Forensic Science Center and the National Institute of Justice, under the DNA Expansion Demonstration Program (2001-RC-CX-K002)
 

This survey is intended to gather data regarding the collection of possible touch (or contact) DNA and saliva DNA associated with property crimes.  Crime scene investigators as well as latent print examiners will be assessed in this study in an attempt to gather data on current protocols and procedures.

For the purposes of this study, touch (or contact) DNA is DNA that is left by a person by means of perspiration or skin cells.  Saliva DNA is DNA that is left by a person by means of saliva.
 

  1. What type of agency do you work for?  Please check one.


___ State Agency Lab               ___ Federal Agency Lab

___ Local Agency Lab               ___ Private Agency Lab

___ Other (explain)                                                                                                         

 

  1. What state do you work in?                                                                                                       

 

  1. What agency do you work for?                                                                                                  
     
  1. How many law enforcement officers does your overall department employ (not specific to crime lab employees)?

___ <25 Officers           ___ 50-100 Officers       ___ 25-50 Officers         ___ >100 Officers
 

  1. What is your current job title and/or duties?  Please check all that apply.

___ Latent Print Examiner                     

___ Crime Scene Investigator    

___ Sworn Law Enforcement Officer

___ Criminalist/Forensic Scientist (please list discipline(s))                                                          

___ Other (please explain)                                                                                                         
 

  1. How many years have you worked in the forensic science field?                                                             
     
  1. Of the following items, which do you think is a possible source of either touch or saliva DNA?

Please check all that apply.
 

___ Cigarette butts                    ___ Bottles/can                         ___ Door handles

___ Steering wheels                   ___ Latex gloves                       ___ Gum

___ Firearms                             ___ Hats
                       

  1. Do you or does your agency routinely swab items for possible touch DNA for crimes

against persons?  Please check all that apply.
 

___ Yes – at the crime scene

___ Yes – in the latent print section

___ Yes – in another section (please explain)                                                                             

___ No
 

  1. Do you or does your agency routinely swab items for possible saliva DNA for crimes

against persons?  Please check all that apply.
 

___ Yes – at the crime scene

___ Yes – in the latent print section

___ Yes – in another section (please explain)                                                                             

___ No

 

  1. Do you or your agency routinely swab items for possible touch DNA for property crimes (burglaries, breaking and entering, stolen vehicles, etc.)?
     

___ Yes – at the crime scene

___ Yes – in the latent section

___ Yes – in another section (please explain)                                                                             

___ No
 

  1. Do you or your agency routinely swab items for possible saliva DNA for property crimes (burglaries, breaking and entering, stolen vehicles, etc.)?  If no, please go to question # 12.
     

___ Yes – at the crime scene

___ Yes – in the latent section

___ Yes – in another section (please explain)                                                                             

___ No
 

  1. If you answered ‘no’ to Questions #10 & #11, please select the possible reasons for not swabbing items.  Please check all that apply.  If you answered ‘yes’ to Questions #10 & #11, please continue to Question #13.
     

____ Not enough time to swab items

____ DNA section not accepting swabs due to backlog

____ Not aware of potential DNA

____ Not encouraged to swab items

____ No suspect has been identified

____ DNA is not requested

____ Other (please explain)                                                                                                       
 

  1. Do you have a written protocol for swabbing either touch and/or saliva DNA?


Yes                              No
 

  1. Are you notified of any subsequent DNA results?  (i.e. profile was generated, included/excluded suspect, CODIS hit, etc.)
     

___ Always

___ Occasionally

___ Seldom

___ Never
 

  1. Do you think it is or would be beneficial to swabs items for possible touch or saliva DNA for

property crimes?
 

Yes                              No

 

Please answer the following if you are a latent print examiner
 

  1. If an item comes into the lab for latent processing and is also a good candidate for touch and/or

saliva DNA, but DNA analysis is not requested, what is your lab’s current protocol for processing?
 

___ Latent Examiner swabs the item for contact and/or saliva DNA.

___ DNA analyst swabs the item for contact and/or saliva DNA and then the Latent Examiner processes the item for latent prints.

___ Lab currently does not process items for contact and/or saliva DNA unless requested.

___ Lab currently does not process items for contact and/or saliva DNA.

___Other (please explain)                                                                                                          

 

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Latent Print DNA Extraction
Forensic Science Services (FSS, UK)
From the Forensic Bulletin, May 2003, Issue 5, archived at:
http://www.forensic.gov.uk/forensic_t/scenesafe/miscellaneous/Forensic_bulletins/pdfs/Forensic_Bulletin_5.pdf


Recent work carried out by the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) and the Forensic Science Service® (FSS®) has shown that there is potential to recover useful DNA profiles from items that have been subjected to fingerprint examination. This has significant investigative benefits, particularly in serious crime cases. Work in this area is continuing; however it is clear that in order to recover both DNA and fingerprints the following considerations are paramount:

All practical steps must be taken to prevent contamination.

Careful selection of fingerprint enhancement techniques is necessary to maximise the potential for the subsequent retrieval of DNA.

DNA extraction and profiling needs to be carried out as soon as possible after chemical enhancement.

The recovery of DNA from latent marks must be considered separately to that of blood marks. Recovery from latent marks should be carried out using the Low Copy Number (DNA LCN) technique.

The SLR teams are able to devise and carry out bespoke fingerprint and DNA recovery based on an in depth scientific examination of the items concerned.

The SLR Teams are uniquely placed to maximise the potential for recovery of both useful DNA profiles and comparable fingerprints through:

Strict anti-contamination protocols reducing the opportunity for cross contamination of DNA through examiners activities, contaminated equipment and reagents etc.

Contemporaneous examination by both DNA and fingerprint specialists developing a joint examination strategy.

Design of bespoke sequential fingerprint examinations, incorporating DNA recovery, based on an examination of the items’ composition, condition, history etc.

Utilisation of a full range of chemical, physical and optical techniques that assist in identifying areas for DNA recovery as well as maximising mark recovery.

Recovered DNA can be profiled rapidly and compared or loaded onto The National DNA database®. Fingerprints are imaged using a full range of techniques and the images supplied to fingerprint bureaux as required. Alternatively specialists within the SLR teams may carry out comparison of the marks.

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!