Breaking NEWz you can
compiled by Jon Stimac
Man Once in Texas Prison
Pleads Guilty to '82 Murder -
RALEIGH NEWS, NC - Jan. 16,
2004. ...A man who admitted while in a Texas
prison to killing a farmer has been sentenced to 40 more years in
Bus Crash: Fingerprints
Apology - THE BBC NEWS,
UK - Jan. 16, 2004 ...A policeman has
apologized to an inquest after it was revealed that fingerprints had not
Man Mistakenly a Murder
Suspect - CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER TIMES,
TX - Jan. 16, 2004
...fingerprints confirm that an illegal immigrant was
masquerading under the suspect's name...
Robber Left Fingerprint On
Note - INDYCHANNEL.COM, IN
- Jan. 13, 2004 ...after months of database
searching, police say they have linked a fingerprint to a suspect in a
The Georgia Division of the IAI would like me to announce
their upcoming (next month) Ridgeology course taught by David Ashbaugh.
They have only 6 slots left and would like to fill them if at all possible.
More information is available at
I need your help! Over the last year, I have spoken with several examiners
who have HUGE smiley files! I have been thinking for a while about
creating a "Smiley Archives" page on CLPEX where you can upload your favorite
smiley-face fingerprints to the website itself, and also save a smiley or two
back to your computer for a presentation, wallpaper, etc. Let me know your
thoughts on the message board... How many prints would you scan and submit?
Do you like the idea? I also need to speak with someone who knows of a CGI
script or some other interface to make this work. Ideally, the script
could deal with images of any size, resolution and common image format, re-size
them to a given dimension and resolution, and display the converted image with
the contributor name and agency in very small font below. Automatic
re-sizing as opposed to simple thumbnail display would be ideal because it could
save hundreds of megabytes of website storage space over time (for those who
upload 1X1 inch 1200ppi files!!). Another option would be to have a
"Smiley Coordinator" who solicits and accepts submissions of any format, size
and resolution, re-sizes them for the Smiley Archives, and posts or has me post
to the site. I have several leads that might provide a few hundred
submissions within a matter of months. If anyone knows of additional
Smiley Files in existence, please send me a brief note. If you are
interested in the very cool and slightly technical position of "Smiley
Coordinator" with the website, let me know!... I'll set you up a page that may
make history as the largest smiley collection in the world!
IAI Monthly Update (January)
by Joe Polski
It’s hard to believe that another
year has come and gone. We’ve had another successful year for the association
and I’m happy to report, for the sixth year in a row, that membership stands at
another all time high. As of December 31, 2003, we have 5,693 members. Thanks
to each and every one of you for your support of the association during the past
year and we look for big things during 2004.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Grant Applications
The DHS offers many, many grant programs to first responders and others who
might be involved with homeland security threats. If you are not already
familiar with it, you might want to check the following website for useful
information about grants. This is the DHS link to grants but has links to
other useful sites as well.
Crime Scene Certification Announcement
The November/December JFI
contained an erroneous announcement that the Crime Scene Certification test and
study materials would change after January 1, 2004. That is not correct and
that change will not happen. The Crime Scene Certification Board is working on
a new test for all levels of certification but that won’t be completed until
sometime after the 2004 Conference. At that time it is likely the study
materials will also change but that change did not happen on January 1, 2004.
Division editors, please include this notice in your newsletters if you have
Thanks for your assistance.
FBI Latent Fingerprint Capabilities
The FBI’s Criminal Justice
Information Services (CJIS) Division publishes a semi-annual newsletter
containing information of interest about their division. The following is an
excerpt from an article by CJIS Director Michael Kirkpatrick that was published
in the fall, 2003 CJIS Link newsletter:
“Law enforcement must become more accustomed to using these modern technologies
[IAFIS & other AFIS systems]. Without a doubt, the most underused service of
the CJIS Division is the remote latent search capability. State and federal
agencies have been able to initiate latent searches of the IAFIS through the
CJIS Wide Area Network since November, 1999. During that time, we have also
encouraged local law enforcement to use the service, with the concurrence of the
appropriate state official, by providing free remote latent software to agencies
interested in processing latent prints directly through the IAFIS. In addition,
this newsletter has carried numerous articles describing the IAFIS’ latent
capability, as well as stories of crimes solved using this terrific new tool.
Yet, on average, we are processing about 110 latent prints each day; we could
easily be running 1,000 (emphasis added is mine)”. And continues, “As more
law enforcement investigators process latent prints through the national
database, I’m convinced there will be a corresponding increase in the number of
criminals we put behind bars”.
I would encourage those fingerprint examiners and departments who have not taken
full advantage of the remote access capabilities of IAFIS to look into obtaining
that equipment. It wasn’t too many years ago that the FBI was rationing latent
searches due to what was believed to be a huge amount latent searches.
Technology has now provided the capacity to handle a much larger number.
FBI Laboratory Manual
Handbook of Forensic Services (2003)
has been revised.
The purpose of the
Handbook is to provide guidance and procedures for safe and efficient
methods of collecting, preserving, packaging, and shipping evidence and to
describe the forensic examinations performed by the FBI's Laboratory Division
and Investigative Technology Division.
You may view the revised
Last week we looked at a study that makes a link between propensity for heart
disease and higher percentages of whorl patterns. This week, we look at a
post to the public ONIN message board and the webmasters reply regarding the
future of AFIS and processing.
When Will Automation Replace Manual Fingerprinting Methods?
Lynn Henry on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 04:28 pm:
How long do you think
before manual finger printing becomes obsolete in favor of laser, or other
Webservant on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 05:19 pm:
Your question could be interpreted as asking about the
Automated comparison and identification versus human
Electronic detection techniques versus dusting with
powder and similar non-electronic methods;
Regarding automated comparison and
identification - the answer is never and the answer
is also maybe soon (for some prints).
Humans will never be completely replaced because the
quantity and quality of ridge detail information always varies between two
impressions being compared. Existing computer automation can make some
no-human-involved (called lights-out) reliable identifications when both the
questioned and the known comparisons involves multiple adjacent (known
position) fingerprints and when both the questioned and known impressions meet
a minimum level of ridge detail quality to permit automated feature detection,
extraction and comparison.
Before reliable automated decisions involving one fingerprint against one
fingerprint can begin, advancements in ridge feature detection and extraction
need to be commercially introduced. After that, government agencies will begin
to migrate to such technology as their existing systems require upgrading.
Such systems will need to incorporate the same types of Level 3 detail used by
fingerprint experts to make identification decisions. Such research has been
ongoing for years (by Lockheed Martin, NSA and other entities). The image
resolution required for Level 3 detail is greater than the current 500 pixel
per inch (ppi) live scan images captured by most systems (although a few can
already capture at 1000 ppi). Such systems will probably operate by comparing
only a relatively small area of the center of the ridge detail present in the
right index finger.
Regarding electronic detection
techniques - the answer is never.
Every year there are improvements in technology and in user
friendly equipment to apply that technology at crime scenes and in the
laboratory. However, the infinite variables involved in what may compose
latent print residue (what was stuck to the finger and deposited when that
finger touched a surface), and the infinite variables insofar as the nature of
the surface touched, mean that no recipe book or computer program can cover
all possibilities. Each situation must be approached by the human expert
trying to make best guesses about what is best for the situation.
It is possible (though not necessarily practical) to develop a start-to-finish
specialized device that would, for example, process checks somewhat like a
film processing machine at a one-hour photo shop. The device could image the
checks, then apply various chemical and development procedures in sequence,
and spit out the processed checks at the other end. The result could produce
high-resolution images captured using various lighting and filtration, at
various stages of the process. Such a device could be useful for large-scale
operations where thousands of checks are routinely processed and where it is
okay for the machine to ignore the potential that some fingerprints will have
been deposited in contaminants that could be better developed using other
I was also considering a similar apparatus for processing non-porous
evidence; a series of dishwasher-looking appliances that performed CA Fuming
followed by dye-staining. Technicians could capture high-resolution and
high-bit depth digital images of ridge detail on the processed evidence.
These images (and ones from the above porous processing device) could
automatically be uploaded via encrypted broadband file transfer to a server/job
queue with a complete image chain of custody.
Of course, the server could be in the same room or agency, or it could be across
the country. The case images (which could also include captures of known
print images) could then be examined by any examiner with access to the server
at any time of the night or day, and a report could be generated back to the
original submitting agency or officer, along with the image containing a
further-completed chain of custody and reports detailing what was found.
For the national approach, new partnerships between AFIS, comparison software,
integrated database systems, and capture technologies may make this emerging
field of tele-forensics a reality before you know it!
With regards to AFIS, eventually we will probably have search capability of
the city where the crime occurred, followed by the county, surrounding radius,
then the state, the surrounding states, and finally a national search.
With level 3 AFIS, examiners are going to need specialized imaging software to
view all detail available to make identifications. If we haven't seen it
already, it won't be long before AFIS returns "hits" that some examiners may be
uncomfortable identifying. This scenario further drives home the need for
the tele-forensic model, so that examiner can simply push a "service" button
when viewing a pair of images. One scenario could achieve independent
verification from multiple external certified latent print examiners within a
matter of a day, or even hours. This is an area that I feel will evolve
The future of our discipline is certainly exciting to think about. It
is great to be alive during this incredible time of change at a rate that seems
faster than ever before. Why don't we do a Detail containing YOUR thoughts
on the future of our discipline? Submit your ideas to
firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll
compile them into a Detail for next week. It doesn't have to be long...
just a paragraph or two. You can expand on a thought above, or you can
bring up something totally different. Include your name and agency, or
"anonymous" if you don't wish your information to be included in the Detail and
on the website next week.
If you are someone who does not feel the discipline should undergo changes
in these areas, submit a few paragraphs with your thoughts. I would like
to include the feedback of everyone who has specific ideas in the Detail next
I thought I would pick a Management Circle that complimented this week's
Detail subject matter...
To discuss this Weekly Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com message
More formal latent print discussions are available at
Are you getting the best ideas?
New insights and fresh thinking can mean better performance and improved morale.
If you find that you're not harvesting as many ideas as you should from your
staff, take these steps:
1) Give credit. Even if the original idea has been completely
reshaped, give the person credit for getting the ball rolling
2) Explain vetos. When you don't adopt an idea, take time to
explain why. The effort will gain you goodwill. And your discussion
may spur the employee to come up with a better approach.
3) Turn down clinkers painlessly. If an idea is unrealistic, take
special caution and tact in turning it down. If you're diplomatic in your
rejection, the employee will keep trying to come up with new ideas. Next
time, the person may hand you a winner!
4) Keep ideas on file. Today's unusable design could turn out to be
a great idea in the future. So review old ideas to see if new conditions -
perhaps an upswing in the economy - make a concept worth reviving.
-From the editors, Communication Briefings, November 2003, briefings.com.
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Updated the Bookstore with sold items; I
will be adding a few new items this week for posting next Monday.
Updated the Newzroom
Updated the Detail Archives
Feel free to pass The Detail along to other examiners. This is a free
newsletter FOR latent print examiners, BY latent print examiners. There are no
copyrights on The Detail, and the website is open for all to visit.
If you have not yet signed up to receive the Weekly Detail in YOUR e-mail inbox,
go ahead and join the list now
so you don't miss out! (To join this free e-mail newsletter, send a blank
email@example.com ) Members may
unsubscribe at any time. If you have difficulties with the sign-up process
or have been inadvertently removed from the list, e-mail me personally at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try
to work things out.
Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!