Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Fingerprint evidence leads police to arrest
(subscription), OK - Apr 3, 2004
Norman Police Department latent fingerprint
examiner Frank Pasierb entered his garage to retrieve some
cat food on a recent morning. ...
State crime labs work to meet accreditation standards
(subscription), OK - Mar 23, 2004
... The state medical examiner's
office is seeking accreditation in toxicology from ... have
been tested by an accredited lab, and latent fingerprint
Matching Fingerprints for 20 Years
Newspapers, VA - Apr 15, 2004
... THE FINGERPRINTS that come in from a
crime scene, known as latent prints, are scanned and
run through the database to see whether they match those of a known
A MURDER UNCOVERED
Monterey County Herald, CA - 16
... For me as a latent print examiner
it was very exciting," Zephro said. "These were prints that
were in the ground for 15 years.". ...
The 2004 IAI conference schedule
in St. Louis, MO is posted! Check out the program by discipline, choose
fingerprints, and see the great topics in store at the conference. Go to
let everyone know when the online registration form is available.
2004 St. Louis Conference
From the IAI office
Plans are well underway for the conference. The
conference program is now available on the IAI’s website (www.theiai.org).
Congratulations to Educational Program Planner Jim Gettemy for a superb job of
assembling a first class educational offering. Jim has been working for months
behind the scenes arranging speakers, workshops, room assignments and the
million other details it takes to put the program together. Please note the
program is now available but registration will not be open until sometime around
May 15th. By that time the conference registration booklets will
have been printed and mailed so those who do not have Internet access have an
equal opportunity to register for conference offerings.
Conference Planner Ann Punter along with other conference planning staff
recently visited St. Louis to make final arrangements for the upcoming event.
Please see the conference program on the Web for complete information on the
educational as well as social program for the conference.
It's time to reveal the results! The top three CLPEX.com t-shirt slogans
"I was CSI before CSI was cool"
"I didn't see what you did, but I know who you are"
(Fingerprint with vodka bottle in the core)
I'll have "I was CIS before CSI was cool" printed up on t-shirts within the next
couple of months. GREAT JOB!!
The winner contributed the slogan last
year, and I didn't record who the contributor was. So if you submitted the
slogan "I was CSI before CSI was cool," congratulations!! I owe you two
free t-shirts, so please let me know who you are! :)
Last week, we heard form Ernie Hamm
about the Latent Print Reference Index. This week we explore a practical
side of identification. Craig Coppock brings us this week's Detail.
Individualization Of Whom?
The relativity of fingerprint identification information.
identification of individuals is becoming increasingly important in modern
society. Kindergarten through 12 grade schools are now checking criminal
histories on teachers. Special permits may also require a background check via
fingerprint identification. Government and business security interests want to
know who you are. What exactly is taking place when we make a fingerprint
identification? Is it really as simple as making a comparison? The juries may
believe just that. However, our responsibilities go far beyond offering an
One of the main benefits of fingerprint identification is to help solve crime.
The fingerprint of a residential burglar found on a ‘point of entry’ window can
be a great help in the prosecution of a criminal. Subsequently, investigators,
prosecutors, judges, and juries base their decisions on our evaluation of the
evidence. Fingerprint identification is information. Information about people
that helps carry investigations forward. In order to offer the most accurate
information possible we must be aware of all the variables.
First we should look at what it takes to make a latent print comparison.
“BASIC CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR A PRINT COMPARISON”
A. Developed and/or photographed latent print of sufficient quality.
B. Available exemplar prints of sufficient quality.
C. A qualified latent print examiner.
D. A second qualified latent print examiner.
(Only verification can uncover errors of misidentification and
Assuming an identification is made and subsequently verified, we now must turn
our attention to the latent print itself. We may or may not know the true origin
of the latent print used in our comparison. A crime scene latent print
impression may arrive into our possession in a number of different ways. In most
cases we simply do not know how the latent print originated. We can only surmise
the details of its deposition.
“POSSIBILITIES FOR THE ORIGIN OF A CRIME SCENE LATENT PRINT”
A. The latent print was deposited on the item at time of manufacture.
B. The latent print was deposited on the item before its arrival at the scene.
C. The latent print was deposited on the item before the crime, yet after the
items arrival at the crime scene.
D. The latent print was deposited on the item during the crime.
E. The latent print was deposited on the item after the crime.
F. The latent print was deposited after a specific date, such as a time of
cleaning or availability.
G. The latent print was deposited at a known time due to limited access or
recording of the event.
H. There is an error with the associated information related to the latent
I. The latent print is a lateral transfer. The original source may not be known.
J. The wrong latent was used in the comparisons.
K. The latent print is fabricated.
L. The information associated with the latent print is fabricated.
M. The crime itself is fabricated.
It is important to be aware of these possibilities when analyzing a latent print
impression. The more accurate the evidence is, the more valuable the information
derived from a fingerprint comparison becomes. This illustrates the need for
detailed information about the latent print and its source.
Next in the ‘basic conditions required for a comparison’ is the need for
exemplar prints. The exemplar prints must be of sufficient quality and they
should have accurate associated information. Exemplar prints arrive in our
possession in several different ways and can be made by several different
mediums. This may be ink, 300 dpi or 500 dpi live-scan, photographs, etc...
“ACQUISITION SOURCES OF EXEMPLAR PRINTS FOR COMPARISON USE”
A. Jail booking.
B. Permit applications.
C. Alien registration.
D. Military files.
E. Voluntary submissions.
F. Indirect acquisitions. (Other agencies or historical records.)
G. Other legal documents.
H. Duplication of existing exemplars via computer, xerographic, or photographic
I. Photographs of friction skin.
J. Developed latents as purposeful exemplars.
K. Covert acquisition. (Latents as exemplars)
L. Incorrect exemplars due to error.
M. Autopsy exemplars
When these sources are reviewed for the ‘value’ of the information they may
contain, we see that there is room for various types of errors to enter the
equation. Jail bookings may generate many different names and associated
information for a single individual, at least until such a time that the
fingerprints are compared and the records consolidated. The same is true for
some of the other types of exemplars. With voluntary submissions we may not
always know if the person that submitted the prints is the same persons who may
be suspected of a crime or needed for elimination purposes. Is the correct
information on the exemplar cards? Did someone insert the right card into the
live-scan printer at the wrong time only to have the wrong fingers printed? Did
some agency six states away send you the right “John Smith”? How good is that
information typed fifty years ago on your only exemplar card? Did that person
lie the first and only time they were arrested?
Fingerprint identification is great for record consolidation and identifying
individual print impressions, however it is ultimately ineffective at telling us
who is whom and of what value the associated information may be. We should
remain keenly aware of the variables that accompany our print identifications.
This is our responsibility. Examiners must help maintain the integrity of all
the information associated with our identifications as we are often the best
persons to recognizing inconsistencies that lower the value of the information
we provide. This especially important within agencies that have a separation
between the latent print examiners and the crime scene and evidence processing.
Good communication is essential to an accurate analysis of related information.
Craig A. Coppock
To discuss this Detail,
message board is always open: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)
More formal latent print discussions are available at
FUNNY FINGERPRINT FIND
"Next to DNA
samples the fingerprint is still the most reliable identifiable thing that a
suspect leaves behind at a crime scene."
King County Sheriff's Office
How to build personal trust
Research shows that humility helps build trust with colleagues.
By admitting doubt or error and acknowledging mistakes, managers are seen as
competent. Co-workers think, "I can trust you. You won't try to
Other findings: Colleagues rated highly trustworthy were also rated highly
competent. Also: To build trust, you must be seen as a collaborator, not a
-From Leaders, by Allstate Insurance Co. via Communication Briefings,
January 2004, 800.722.9221, briefings.com.
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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.
Have a GREAT week!