The latent print section performs the following duties:
1. Process physical evidence for the presence of ridge detail and preserve ridge detail for further analysis.
• Latent print processing consists of developing and recovering latent prints from items of evidence.
2. Compare ridge detail to known ridge skin from individuals associated with the case.
• Any recovered latent prints will be reviewed by an analyst. The analyst then decides if the prints contain enough information for identification through the comparison process. Many areas of ridge detail preserved during evidentiary processing will not contain enough characteristics to establish identity.
3. Any unidentified ridge detail may be entered and searched through the automated search process.
• Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), which is a computer system that searches prints against databases of known fingerprints.
4. At a minimum, routine analysis will be performed on items submitted where Latent Prints is the only service requested. The laboratory will seek to identify the individual(s) of interest at a minimum of once per submission, the processing and comparison for that case may cease at the analyst’s discretion. If after analysis has been completed it becomes apparent that items not tested will require testing then, upon re-submission, these items will receive top priority at the laboratory.
Physical evidence is anything collected at the scene of a reported crime. Various items can be conducive to latent print recovery.
Such items include, but are not limited to:
• Glass (bottles, pipes, windshields, mirrors, etc.)
• Plastic (scales, bags, baggies, plastic wrap, bottles, etc.)
• Paper (receipts, notes, etc.)
• Smooth metallic items (spoons, knives, weighing trays, firearms, etc.)
• Tape (smooth and sticky sides)
Considerations should be made regarding evidence that needs to be analyzed in other sections.
• Controlled Substance:
Faster results will occur when separating the items needed for analysis in each section (controlled substances and latent print examinations). At a minimum on Items submitted for both Controlled Substances and Latents Prints; latent print processing will only be performed on items tested for controlled substances where the results were positive.
Latent print examinations will occur prior to any firearms analysis. Due to normal handling during firearms analysis, latent print recovery cannot be done after this occurs
When an item requires both latent print and DNA analysis, biological screening is typically done prior to latent print examinations. Typically, smoother items (blades, slides of guns, etc.) are better for latent print recovery and textured surfaces (grips, handles, etc.) are better for contact DNA recovery. Some items are better suited for one examination or the other and will not have both types of processing performed, even when requested. The following items will not routinely have both contact DNA and latent exams conducted:
- Casings/bullets – only latent print examination will occur
- Condom wrapper – only latent print examination will occur
- Unopened beverage containers – only latent print examination will occur
- Beverage containers likely drank directly from – both exams are possible. If probative findings are obtained from either latent prints or DNA, the other analysis will generally not be performed
- Cigarette packages – only latent print examination will occur
- Cigarette butts (smoked) – only DNA analysis will occur