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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, February 28, 2005

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

Fingerprinting Technology for Law Enforcement KZTV10, TX - Feb 25, 2005 ...high-tech tool to find criminals is now literally at the fingertips of some local law enforcement agencies...

Fugitive For 17-Years Identified After Death KWQC-TV, IA - Feb 25, 2005 ...a man who died in a New Hampshire hospital has been identified as a wanted fugitive...

Driver's License Fingerprints Debated   WXIA-TV, GA - Feb 23, 2005 ...bipartisan group of state lawmakers say the fingerprint requirement should be removed...

Police Sift Through Prints In Search Of Robber  - FEB 21, 2005  ...tedious process of lifting and identifying fingerprints became the focal point in the search for ATM robber...


Last week, we looked at a recent ASCLD/LAB concept of latent print Examination Documentation.  Further clarification is anticipated, and as soon as it is available it will be distributed via the Detail.

This week, latent print examiners submitting latent searches to the FBI's IAFIS system can expect to see a temporary increase in Unsolved Latent Match (ULM) responses back to their agencies.  The FBI's Unsolved Latent File (ULF) is intended to consist of latent prints which have been searched through IAFIS with no identification effected.  However, many of those impressions have not been deleted as they should be when they are identified.  Therefore, it is unknown how many of the 50,000 registered latent prints actually represent "unsolved" cases.  Nonetheless, every time the fingerprints of a new criminal are added or updated to the Criminal Master File of IAFIS, those known prints are searched against the entire ULF to determine if they can be associated with prior criminal activity.

Recently, some results from IAFIS testing seemed to reveal an issue with IAFIS algorithms leading up to ULM generation.  Through the development and examination of a thorough test set, the issue was confirmed to exist and the IAFIS software engineers implemented an enhancement to the algorithm processes.  A recent letter was sent from Deputy Director Jerome Pender of the FBI CJIS Division to all agencies submitting latent prints to IAFIS:


January 14, 2005

To: All Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) Remote Latent Users

IAFIS remote latent users are provided with the option of entering unsolved latent fingerprint submissions into the Unsolved Latent File (ULF) for automatic searches of newly-added or updated fingerprint images within the IAFIS criminal master file.  Unsolved Latent Match (ULM) responses are forwarded to contributing agencies if viable candidates are located through this process.  Recently, FBI CJIS Division technical staff identified a concern regarding the IAFIS ULF search process.  The FBI CJIS Division determined that a software enhancement was needed to improve the ULF filtering and candidate selectivity in order to enhance IAFIS latent operations.

The FBI's CJIS Division will begin resubmitting all previously-entered ULF records for advanced searches of the IAFIS criminal master file on January 24, 2005.  Remote latent users that have provided past IAFIS ULF entries should expect possible increases in ULM responses as a result of this effort.  Agencies are requested to contact their Criminal Information and Transition Unit (CITU) Regional Representative to provide feedback on identifications resulting from the ULF search process.  Remote latent users are reminded to continue forwarding IAFIS Unsolved Latent Delete Requests upon the identification of ULF entries in order to ensure their timely removal from this file.

Please contact your CITU Regional Representative, listed below, if you require further assistance regarding this matter.

Federal: Nicky J. Megna, 304-625-2767,
Northeast: Allen Wayne Nash, 304-625-2738,
Western: Dean R. Manson, 304-625-2756,
Southern: Cynthia Johnston, 304-625-3061,
North Central: Michelle Vecchio, 304-625-2614,

Sincerely yours,
Jerome Pender
Acting Assistant Director
(CJIS Division FBI)


The result of this enhancement will be that "cascaded" or "reverse" searches of new criminal submissions against the ULF will be more accurate.  However, the enhancement is day-one forward, meaning that it doesn't address those criminal submissions that have already entered IAFIS and been searched against the ULF.  To insure that the most effective and comprehensive results were achieved with this enhancement, CJIS Division of the FBI took the bold and necessary step of re-searching each and every ULF transaction against the entire CMF.  This resource-intensive project has naturally taken weeks of computer processing resources and has resulted in thousands of ULM responses being generated.  These responses will be returned to agencies beginning today, February 28.  A recent sample of these transactions indicate that approximately 500 new, previously undiscovered criminal identifications will occur from this re-run of the Unsolved Latent File, which mostly consists of latent prints developed from evidence in crimes against persons. 

Naturally, the benefits of this massive project will not be realized if the ULM's are not routed to the correct place, or if they are not taken seriously by agencies or examiners who receive them.  In the past, relatively few ULM's may have been generated, so agencies or examiners may not be used to completing these examinations on a regular basis.  In addition, many agencies or examiners may find that all matching ULM's they receive from this re-run are from cases they have already solved, or on impressions that have already been identified.  If this is the case, it is emphasized that these latent impressions need to be deleted from the IAFIS ULF.  In addition, examiners who receive a large number of previously identified ULM responses should not disregard remaining ULM's as unimportant, but should instead treat every one as if it could solve a major cold case.  The improvements made to the IAFIS algorithms are real and they work, and new identifications will definitely be effected as a result of this project.

Your Regional Representatives have expressed interest in knowing about previously undiscovered identifications.  I personally would also be very interested in knowing about some of the cases solved as a result of this project, and I'm sure other CLPEX members would also enjoy hearing about them.  So if you have a case story to share I am always available at or you can share the story publicly on the message board.

If you know of other latent print examiners who regularly submit and register latent prints to the IAFIS ULF, it may be a good idea to make sure they are aware of this issue so that a potentially large number of ULM's over the next week are not a surprise.


Remember, the message board is always open: (  For more formal latent print discussions, visit (



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

Have a GREAT week!