Latent Print Comparison

The procedure for associating latent prints and known prints involves four phases known as Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification. Analysis refers to the initial information gathering process in which the analyst assesses the quality and quantity of discriminating detail present in the latent print. If the latent print has sufficient information, the analyst compares the detail in the latent print to known fingerprints and palm prints. In the evaluation phase, the analyst assesses the level of agreement or disagreement between the latent print and the known prints and renders a conclusion. Verification is the review of the analyst's conclusion by another qualified analyst.

Latent Print Development

Items of evidence submitted to the laboratory may be examined in order to recover latent prints. The chemical components of latent print residue allow an analyst to visually enhance latent print detail using chemical or physical processing. There are many techniques available for latent print development. These techniques depend on the nature of item, the condition of the item, the component of the latent print residue targeted, and the potential for sequential processing techniques. Method selection is determined by the analyst once the evidence is received and evaluated.

Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)

The Forensic Laboratory receives all latent print packets arriving from the field. The latent prints are automatically screened for AFIS eligible prints for the following crime types if there are no arrests in the case: assault and battery, robbery, burglaries, sexual assault, and kidnapping.

Latent prints recovered from homicides, Officer Involved Shootings, attempt homicides, and dead bodies are not automatically screened. For these cases, the primary assigned officer is contacted by the laboratory to determine if AFIS screening is needed.

For all other crime types, the assigned officer must request AFIS screening via a Forensic Laboratory Examination Request.

Sample Limitations Policy

In order to ensure analysis of the most probative evidence, to meet casework demands and to provide for responsible use of resources, the Forensic Laboratory has implemented sample limitations in the Latent Print Detail for the analysis of firearms, ammunition, and small drug packaging. For details regarding the sample limitation policy, please contact the Forensic Laboratory prior to submitting a Forensic Laboratory request that includes firearms, ammunition, and small drug packaging.