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Monday, April 21, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Gadgets that Warm to the Real You - THE NEW YORK TIMES, - April 17, 2003 ...An excellent article containing the basics of different products from today's leading biometric companies...

Decade-Old Case Turns Hot - THE OMAHA WORLD HERALD - April 18, 2003 ...Nearly a decade after an elderly woman was raped and smothered in Omaha, a fingerprint led to a suspect...

Arizona's CSI analysts fight crime much like their TV counterparts - CASA GRANDE VALLEY NEWSPAPER - April 15, 2003 ...crime scene analysts for the Arizona Department of Public Safety regional crime lab in Lake Havasu City are putting felons away in the real world - not in the fictitious realms of Las Vegas or Miami...

Good morning via the "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.

Last week we looked at the Robert L. Johnson Foundation of the International Association for Identification.  This week we look at some proposed definitions from Craig Coppock, Forensic Specialist in Spokane, Washington.


   According to all relevant Daubert hearing information, ACE-V is the standard fingerprint identification methodology.  ACE-V is analogous to the scientific method and has been presented in many court hearings as evidence that fingerprint identification is a science.  

     While the concept of ACE-V is not new, this acronym for Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification is relatively modern.  This new language in conjunction with recent Daubert hearings has highlight the need for other language revisions for words used in fingerprint identification.  In reality, we must rethink how we classify and define identifications and errors according to ACE-V.  We must also recognize when shortcuts are presented as the "scientifically acceptable" ACE-V methodology. In effect, we must standardize terminology and methodology, and then practice within those standards.

      ACE-V is a complete methodology that requires all the steps (A, C, E, and V) to be completed prior to any formal conclusions being drawn.  Obviously, this includes the verification step.  The lone exception may be standard records maintenance such as A.F.I.S..  Even "on-the spot" field checks with portable A.F.I.S. should require a timely verification if a subject is arrested based on the automated fingerprint ID.  Accordingly, two revision that should be address are as follows:

     A.  Any "identification" must include verification.  Likewise, any unverified fingerprint identification is not valid and is not technically an "identification."  Respectfully, a unverified identification should be addressed as a "provisional identification."  See definition below.

     B.  In regard to the testing of error rate in the science of fingerprint identification’s ACE-V methodology, error calculations of erroneous identifications should only include fingerprint identification and not provisional fingerprint identification.  Any error rate calculation without considering the entire methodology would not be relevant to the methodology itself.  See definitions below.

The following definitions are proposed for consideration:

Dactylography / Dactyloscopy
The science of fingerprint (friction ridge) identification.  “Daktulos” is Greek for finger.
(Note:  The term “ridgeology” may not be in line with traditional terminology.  If we really want to be considered a science by all, we need to use standardized terms when ever possible.  Science is in a constant state of change.  However that does not mean that the field needs a name change with each discovery or advance.)

The term "Fingerprint" is most accurately used to denote an impression made by the finger itself at the exclusion of other friction skin.  However, it can also be used as a general term for friction skin found on the palmar surface of the hand and plantar surface of the feet, as well as resulting impressions made by any area of friction ridge skin.  

10-Print Fingerprint Examiner:
A person who is limited to 10-print / exemplar comparisons. (When exemplars are purposefully generated as exemplar standards.)
Note:  There is a fundamental difference between 10-print fingerprint examiners and latent print examiners.)

Fingerprint Identification:
A conclusion of individualization based on a comparative analysis of two or more fingerprint impressions utilizing standard ACE-V methodology.

Latent Fingerprint Examiner:
A person who compares all types of friction skin and resulting impressions for purposes of identification.

Provisional Fingerprint Identification:
A unverified fingerprint identification.   (Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation of the ACE-V methodology without verification.)
(Note:  What nobody talks about.)

Re-application of fingerprint identification methodology to ensure accuracy.  A verification is the final step of the ACE-V methodology.
(Note:  It takes two examiners to error in fingerprint identification.  In the situation of a provisional identification, naturally only one examiner would err.) 

Craig A. Coppock


Craig is looking for your feedback, so feel free to post on the message board, or e-mail him personally.  

I would like to devote an upcoming Detail to the terms "Identification" versus "Individualization".  If you have any strong feelings on the two terms, or if you would like to clarify or expand on the definitions of each word, contact me and we'll get something together.  I have already spoken with a couple of people, but I think it would be appropriate to include as many viewpoints as possible.



"Fingerprints are also a key way to determine identity. [Henry] Lee said that even after months in the water, if there is any remnant of skin on the victim's fingers, a fingerprint can be reconstructed. An examiner would remove skin cells from the fingers and place them in a petri dish, adding glycerine to let them slowly rehydrate. Eventually, the print would be recreated."

From Beyond the Bay Newspaper,
Publication date: 04/16/2003
"Many tests available to discover identities"
Associated Press

Submit YOUR Funny Fingerprint Finds as you find them.  (Anonymous entries are OK too.)


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Updated the Detail Archives

Updated the Newzroom

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!