The Detail Archives    Discuss This Issue    Subscribe to The Detail

Fingerprint News Archive       Search Past Details

G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, April 12, 2004

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.

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

First the Pain and Cruelty, Now Police Go For Broke SUNDAY HERALD, UK  - April 11, 2004 ... the Herald's Susan Flockhart argues there is little justice to be found in the Shirley McKie Case...

Cop Claim Could Ruin Print Woman GLASGOW EVENING TIMES, UK - April 7, 2004 ...former Officer who took her police force to court over a wrong fingerprint ID faces financial ruin over expenses...

Are Fingerprints Really Infallible, Unique ID? REGISTER, UK  - April 6, 2004 ...prints being found at the crime scene are conclusive, but a report published by New Scientist claims that there is little scientific basis…

Fingerprint Expert Wavers in Nichols Case USA TODAY - April 6, 2004 ...An FBI examiner said he mistakenly testified earlier in the week that he had found prints on a piece of evidence in the Oklahoma City bombing case…


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  I'll 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 (  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 vote!  Pick your favorite t-shirt slogan below and e-mail me your favorite at!
(it was 1:00 AM before I gave up on the survey script)

"Who Done It?????"

"Go FINGER!!!!!!!"


(Latent Fingerprint)
"There when the dust settles"

(Whorl pattern)
"Had we but whorls enough and time..."

(Whorl pattern)
"Whorled Peace"

"I didn't see what you did, but I know who you are"

Very light/faint partial LP with a slogan:
"We see the fine prints."

"I was CSI before CSI was cool"

(Fingerprint with vodka bottle in the core)
"Absolute Certainty"


Last week, Joe Polski, Chief Operations Officer for the IAI and Chairperson for the CFSO, related that we (as a discipline) need every bit of data we can possibly gather in order to present an accurate summary of the needs and state of various forensic non-DNA disciplines to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.  If you haven't filled out the survey, it is still available on (home page front and center).  This week, Ernie Hamm lets us know about his Latent Print Reference Index.


The Latent Print Reference Index
by Ernie Hamm

There has been a new service added to the Lightning Powder Company (LPC) website at  It is a ‘Reference Index’ when individuals may want to find information on certain subjects relating to various forensic examinations, primarily in the areas of latent print and track evidence.  The database is one developed by Ernie Hamm over the years.  This is only intended to direct a person to a source for the information, it does not provide the article or paper.  There are other programs that do provide that service, such as the one developed by Ed German for distribution by the IAI to make available the past issues of their publications.

The ‘Reference Index’ contains over 2,300 citations dealing with various aspects of latent print, footwear and tire track, and miscellaneous forensic examinations.  While there are other topics, such as ear prints, the material is primarily latent print and track evidence oriented and most are from the following professional journals:

                Identification news ‑ 1971 to 1987 (when it changed to Journal of Forensic Identification)
                Journal of Forensic Identification ‑ 1988 to present
                Identification Newsletter ‑ 1980 to 1983 (when it changed to Identification Canada)
                Identification Canada ‑ 1984 to present
                Fingerprint Whorld ‑ 1978 to present

Many other articles cited are from other professional publications or sources that have been selected at random.

The article source will be displayed in a four columns:  1) Title  2)  Author  3)  Publication  4)  Comment

The comment section may include a brief explanation of the article's contents or special applications.  It can also have entries that aid in associating the article with a particular topic.  Some entries will have acronyms displayed that relate to the article, NIN for ninhydrin, POW for powder, etc., which were used for an earlier word processing search program and were carried over when converted to the present program.  A list of these is as follows. 

HUM - Techniques for prints on skin

INK - Inked prints

IOD - Iodine fuming

LAS - Laser applications

LEGAL - Legal aspects

LIFT -Lifting methods

MISC - Miscellaneous examinations and articles

NIN - Ninhydrin

PHOTO - Photography

PMI - Post-mortem techniques

POW - Powder

QD - Questioned Documents

R6G - Rhodamine 6G chemical

SAFE - Safety

SN - Silver Nitrate

STECH - Special and other chemical methods

TT - Tiretrack

VOICE - Voice identification

The choice of acronym may seem highly subjective and even questionable, but I took my best shot at the time.

Maintenance on the index was set aside a few years ago and was just recently restarted when it was requested to make it available at the Lightning Powder Company (LPC) website, The file was then converted to a more efficient searchable database.   Also, there will be entries seen that employ an ellipsis  (…) for missing words.  The original search macro used in a WordPerfect format restricted topic entries to a single line in a four line ‘paragraph’ and some imagination had to be used to keep keywords intact while shortening article titles, authors and comments.  The present program can rely more on keywords in title and comment and the use of acronyms is not necessary as it does not have entry restrictions.  The references are still being ‘caught up’ and the index will be periodically updated for new and past information.

The program permits the user to select articles by keyword or author.  Once a keyword is enter, the program will ‘download’ references based up the search word entry. 

For comments, questions and other corrections, please contact Ernie Hamm (  Any suggestions and error notification would be appreciated.  In all the conversions, WP51 to Word to Excel to the present program, there are probably corrections to be made. 

I hope this ‘service’ will be of value to all interested persons.  To paraphrase a commercial, “To accumulate data is knowledge, to share knowledge is professional”.


This is an excellent resource for latent print examiners.  It is commendable that over the years, Ernie has responded to requests by searching his Reference Index and e-mailing the results to interested parties.  It is even more commendable that he has taken the time and effort to see that it was formatted and placed on the internet for use by our community.  I believe I echo the sentiments of the latent print community in saying "thank you" to Ernie for his dedication to this collection of this information and for his continued efforts to maintain this resource.  Hyperlinks to the Reference Index have been placed at the top of the home page and the Reference Grail page of



To discuss this Detail, the message board is always open: (

More formal latent print discussions are available at (



The FFF folder is empty; submit at will!



Stop rumors at their source

You've discovered that someone is spreading nasty gossip around the office.  What should you do?  Meet privately and confront the culprit -- without making accusations.

Example:  "There's a rumor going around that we'll be laying off several staff members.  You know that's not true, and I need your help to make sure it stops."  That approach lets the person know that you're aware of what's being said and you won't tolerate it.

-From the Editors, Communication Briefings, January 2004, 800.722.9221,



Updated the Detail Archives

Updated the Newzroom

Added five new smileys to the SmileyFiles


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:  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 and I will try to work things out.

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

Have a GREAT week!