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Monday, December 1, 2003

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

Fingerprint Expert Testifies in Anthrax Case - PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, PA - Nov. 26, 2003 ...a fingerprint expert told a federal jury that she found two fingerprints of documents linked to bogus anthrax threat letters...

’Wrong Man’ Gets $750,000 Police Award - WBBM-Radio, IL  - Nov. 26, 2003 ...the lawsuit claimed no effort was made by city or county authorities to verify fingerprints or photos...

Minister Defends Fingerprint Service - BBC NEWS, UK - Nov. 25, 2003 ...Scotland's Justice Minister has defended the country's fingerprinting service amid calls for an inquiry into its reliability...

Doubt Over Fingerprint System - GLASGOW EVENING TIMES, UK - Nov. 25, 2003 ...the father of a former policewoman wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at crime scene welcomed calls for a parliamentary probe...

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.


I received an e-mail from Perry Sims who is doing a research project for his museum involving Gilbert Thompson, the first American to use fingerprints for personal identification.  Perry is looking for a photograph of Gilbert Thompson.  I have looked through some of my books, to no avail.  He hears there may have been a photograph in a 1938 boy scout handbook on fingerprinting, but these are collectors items and he has not been able to locate one.  He is asking the Detail readers if anyone knows where a copy of this handbook or another photograph of Gilbert Thompson can be obtained; please e-mail him at: vgabndo@earthlink.net with "Gilbert Thompson" in the subject line.  (also post to our CLPEX.com chat board for our own interest...)


Last week, Craig Coppock passed on his thoughts on digital imaging in the latent print field.  This week, Paul Brannon brings us instructions on building a CA fuming chamber on a budget.

There are a number of Latent Fingerprint Examiners and Crime Scene Technicians in today’s criminal justice environment that work for departments with budget dilemmas. These technicians and examiners have the same desire to perform at their best as the departments without such budget hardships. With this in mind, this week’s Detail is dedicated to the professionals with economic challenges!

Cyanoacrylate Ester Fuming Chamber on a budget

You can shop all you want and find a way to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on portable or fixed fuming chambers. Here is an effective way to produce results without the big-ticket costs of many of today’s larger fuming chambers.

Find a used side by side, over-under, upright or chest freezer or refrigerator. Frost-free models are the best. The magnetic seals/strips on the door must be in good condition.

Remove the refrigeration system coils, compressor, etc. I had a friend in the refrigeration business help me perform this due to environmental issues dealing with Freon. It is not recommended that this be performed without the advice or assistance of a trained professional in this area.

The addition of electrical wires for hot plates and the tracing of wires for the lights and the internal fan are essential.  If you are not familiar with electrical work, again it is recommended that the advice or assistance of a trained professional be utilized.  The internal circulation fan that is on all frost-free models is beneficial to air circulation inside the chambers. You will want the lights to come on when you open the doors, and the internal circulation fan should stay running at all times. Remember the motor will be within the fuming chamber.

Add one electrical outlet within each chamber. These outlets should be on a switch outside the chamber. Get a bathroom fan for an air evacuator, and seal the case of the fan with silicone. Cut a hole in the top of one of the chambers and seal the fan system to that hole. This fan should have its own switch.

I used an RV sewer gate for the vent-gate on the opposing chamber. This allows complete hazardous cyanoacrylate contaminated air to be completely purged from the chamber without opening the doors.

You must vent the fan outdoors, preferably 2 feet above the highest point of the structure.

Before you use the chamber, wash the interior with warm water and bleach, air dry, and then apply a layer or two of Rain-X to prevent the build up of Cyanoacrylate residue on the interior chamber and metal racks/shelves.

My cost (less sweat equity) was just under $100.00.

My procedure:

1. turn on hot plates (Illistration.1)
2. set in the hot water
3. Place the items in the chamber, on racks or hanging from racks
4. apply clear packing tape to inside vent of vent-gate, put a control fingerprint on the inside of the tape and close the vent-gate (Illistration.3)
5. put 10 to 20 drops of superglue in each dish
6. close the chamber doors and document the start time
7. monitor the progress of the processing through the vent-gate
8. turn off the hot plates, turn on the air evacuator, open the vent-gate and punch in the tape
9. wait 10 minutes open the chamber and recover your items

So far I have processed marijuana wraps, baggies, shotguns, rifles, small appliances, bottles and paraphernalia. When I process with both chambers I have had good results within 30 minutes.

If you want better close up photos of this project, please contact me and I can e-mail them to you.



To discuss this Weekly Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com
message board: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

More formal latent print discussions are available at onin.com: (http://www.onin.com)



"At this time it is appropriate that the reader take a look at his/her own fingers. It is the patterns that appear on the first flange that we are interested in. They will be composed of one of three basic types of pattern known as either Arch, Loop or Whorl"

From: "A Question of Fingerprints" at http://www.ecoliving.co.nz/nzsecurity/mag/June-July2002/A%20QUESTION%20OF%20FINGERPRINTS.htm  on 11-25-03

Michele Triplett
King County Sheriff's Office


"Do you sabotage your success?"

You have worked hard and paid your dues, but your career just isn't taking off the way you believe it should.  Could you be subtly sabotaging your own efforts?  Here are three of the most common reasons people fail as managers:

1) They avoid conflict.  Do you think that conflict is somehow "bad" for you and your organization?  It's not.  Managing conflict is the very foundation of leadership.  People don't grow without challenges, and challenges don't exist without conflict.  A good manager must confront his employees on their negative behaviors and attitudes.  If a manager tells people only what they want to hear, they lose credibility.

2) They refuse to get involved in their employees' personal lives.  Consider that all business is personal.  In our connected culture, it is difficult to separate personal and professional life.  As a manager, you probably already take work home, and chances are so do many of your employees.  So why is it so difficult to accept the fact that employees' personal lives come to work with them?  The reality is that personal issues affect employees' work - and so it's appropriate for managers to address these issues.

3) They intervene too early.  One of the worst things you can do in business is to jump in and save the day.  If you're constantly rescuing employees, they'll never tap their inner resources.  If you take over, they will know what works for you, but not necessarily what works for them.

-Adapted from
Fifth Wave Leadership: The Internal Frontier, Morrie Shechtman, Facts on Demand Press, via Communication Briefings, September 2003, 800.722.9221, briefings.com.


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Updated the Newzroom

Updated the Detail Archives

Began updating the Bookstore (added a few items, including a first edition Galton and a few others.  I will be adding more books in the weeks to come.

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 e-mail to: theweeklydetail-subscribe@topica.email-publisher.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 kaseywertheim@aol.com and I will try to work things out.

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

Have a GREAT week!