T H E
T A I L
Monday, November 19, 2001
Welcome to the fifteenth "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. 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.
This week, we learn of an interesting tale from Scott Spjut, West Valley Utah Police Crime Laboratory:
Unusual Inked Fingerprinting Situation
Most latent print examiners or crime scene technicians have the opportunity to take inked fingerprints from a large variety of individuals and different physical situations. Many of these would include individuals who have digits which have been amputated, or possibly an extra digit. There have been situations where the digits have webbing between one another, or the flexibility of the individual digits does not allow standard inking applications. Once employed in the field for a long period of time, the examiners tend to see many if not all of these individuals and must adapt the proper recording of inked fingerprints accordingly.
During the month of October 2001, I encountered a female individual with such unusual physical characteristics that standard inked fingerprinting method would not suffice. The individual was obeying a court order to be fingerprinted for a misdemeanor charge. This candidate arrived, and I could not believe what I witnessed. She had fingernails on all ten digits with an average length of three feet each.
Due to the curvature of her fingernails, conventional rolling of each finger on an ink slab would not be successful. After attempting to ink her digit tips with a portable postmortem style ink pad, I was unable to roll her fingers in a conventional process via a card holder. I finally implemented the "spoon" tool in conjunction with the postmortem ink pad. The fingerprint sections were manually cut into strips, and each tip was carefully placed into the appropriate box without rolling the fingers. In addition, the plain impressions were taken simultaneously by cutting that section of the fingerprint cards, folding each hand area individually, and recording the fingerprints accordingly.
Two full sets of inked fingerprints were recorded from this candidate and were submitted into both our local and State AFIS systems.
(Details and photographs in the original story have been removed as a result of a request to the webmaster.)
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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.