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Monday, May 22, 2006

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

McKie Fingerprint Four Defend Stance on Identification   HERALD, UK - May 18, 2006 ...each insists they were right to identify a thumbprint left at a murder scene in 1997 as that of Ms McKie...

Asylum Toddlers Get Fingerprinted BBC NEWS, UK- May 15, 2006 ...children under the age of five are being printed amid fears that some families are trying to claim extra benefits...

Suspect's Prints Found on Trooper's Squad Car   NWITIMES.COM - May 13, 2006 FBI fingerprint expert educated jurors on how he identified a palm print found on a squad car...

Man's New Fingerprints Don't Fool Customs, NY - May 6, 2006 ...13 months in prison for man who had his prints altered before entering the US near Nogalez, AZ in 2005.

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

flying monkey Sun May 21, 2006 4:19 pm

Parliamentary enquiry evidence published
Iain McKie Sun May 21, 2006 11:16 am

Processing Wood
II2None59 Sun May 21, 2006 3:49 am

Latent prints on deceased bodies
Danny L. Harness Fri May 19, 2006 8:40 pm

Anonymous Postings
opop Fri May 19, 2006 11:42 am

Processing reports.
Wayne Reutzel Thu May 18, 2006 8:47 pm

alternative methods
idiosync Tue May 16, 2006 7:33 pm

Parliamentary Inquiry in McKie case
sharon cook Tue May 16, 2006 6:15 pm

Daubert Seminar in Las Vegas
Alice Maceo Tue May 16, 2006 4:20 pm

Job Announcement - Photographer
Steve Everist Tue May 16, 2006 12:32 pm

[ Poll ] "Point" Standard
ccpereira Tue May 16, 2006 12:03 pm

Job Announcement - Photographer
Steve Everist Mon May 15, 2006 8:56 pm



Looking for a few more students who desire to be an IAI Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE).  On June 5, the next Ridgeology Science Workshop will occur in Hamilton, New Jersey.  Although similar to past workshops in the quality and quantity of latent print examination work packets, this class will be different... on the Saturday after the 5-day workshop, Glenn Langenburg will be proctoring the IAI CLPE Examination for those students who have completed the pre-certification process.  Those interested in more information can read about the Ridgeology Science Workshop on the Training page, or register by contacting  Don't delay another day because pre-certification activities have to be coordinated with your regional certification representative as well as with the Parent Body IAI Latent Print Certification Board.


Last week

we looked at an updated on the Next Generation Identification System (NGI) and AFIS interoperability from Joe Polski's Monthly Update.

This week

Clifton Bishop gives us a look at the Forensic and Investigative Science Program at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV:
Forensic and Investigative Science Program at WVU
by Clifton Bishop
, Ph.D.
Director, Forensic & Investigative Science Program
West Virginia University

The Forensic & Investigative Science undergraduate program at West Virginia University (WVU) was established in 1999 and graduated its first three students in 2001.  Interest in the program has increased significantly to the point where it is today one of the largest majors on campus.  The program has attracted students from across the country and the world to WVU.  We offer three areas of emphasis: Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Forensic Examiner.  Graduates of the program have been successful obtaining jobs in local, state, and federal crime laboratories.  Equally gratifying is the success our graduates have had in continuing their education.  Roughly one third of our graduates have enrolled in graduate school (in forensic science, biology, or chemistry), dental, or law school.  We have had graduates accepted into medical school as well.  Our program is structured to provide students with a solid foundation in science coupled with practical problem solving skills enabling our graduates to pursue a wide variety of career paths.

Students at WVU are admitted as pre-majors into the area of study they wish to pursue.  The first two years of our program are virtually identical to what students in biology, chemistry, pharmacy, pre-medical, or pre-dental programs take.  At the end of their sophomore year, students apply for acceptance into the major.  Applicants must complete an application form, have obtained at least an overall GPA of 2.75, have completed a minimum of 36 hours in math and science, provide three letters of evaluation, and complete a 15-20 minute interview before they are admitted to the major for their last two years of study.  Courses taken in the last two years of the program are dependent upon the area of emphasis the student selects.

Students selecting the Forensic Examiner track graduate with at least 16 hours in chemistry, 12 hours in biology, 8 hours in physics, 8 hours in calculus, 3 hours in pharmacy, 3 hours in statistics, and 3 hours in biochemistry for a minimum of 53 hours in math and science.  They also complete courses in crime scene investigation (6 hours), fingerprint identification (3 hours), latent fingerprints (3 hours), forensic photography (3 hours), and blood spatter analysis (3 hours).  Forensic Chemistry students take the above minimum of math and science plus an additional 15 hours of chemistry and 3 hours of forensic statistics for a total of at least 71 hours in math and science.  Students in the Forensic Biology track take the above 53 hour minimum plus an additional 17 to 20 hours of biology (depending upon electives selected), 4 hours in chemistry, and 3 hours in forensic statistics bringing their minimum total of math and science to 77 hours.  The majority of students in the Forensic Biology track also obtain a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology, Similarly, students in the Forensic Chemistry track generally graduate with a BS in Chemistry as well as their BS in Forensic & Investigative Science.

On top of these math science courses, all of our students take courses in: introduction to forensic science, public speaking, laboratory quality assurance, scientific and technical writing, forensic journal club, law and evidence, court testimony, forensic science capstone, and a summer internship.  Most students complete their internships between their junior and senior years.  We start the process of placing our students into internships earlier in the fall semester of their junior year.  The vast majority are placed in crime laboratories or law enforcement agencies but a few have also conducted their internships in commercial laboratories that provide various biological and/or chemical testing of samples.  We have a full time employee, Dianna Griffin, dedicated to helping the students secure an internship and ensuring that the experience is rewarding for both our students and the host agency.  We are very grateful to the forensic community for their support in hosting our students.  We consider it to be one of the most important parts of the curriculum.  We are always looking for additional internship sites for our students and hope that members of ASCLD can help us provide these opportunities.

Just to illustrate the types of equipment available to our students and the level of support our program has received from WVU, students within the Forensic Biology option will be trained on an ABI 3100 Avant Genetic Analyzer, those in the Forensic Chemistry track can use a new Agilent GC/MS, while those in the Forensic Examiner track have a SAGEM Morpho AFIS machine for their studies.

The Forensic & Investigative Science academic program, housed within the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences at WVU, includes two crime scene houses and, as of November 2004, a new multi-purpose building that will enable two cars to be parked head to tail for instruction in vehicular investigations.  When cars are not inside the new facility, it can be used as a 50 seat lecture area.  Plans are under way for the renovation of another building on campus, two floors of which will be dedicated to forensic activities.  This 15,000 - 18,000 square foot area will be shared with the Forensic Science Initiative, directed by Max Houck.  The Forensic Science Initiative is administered out of the West Virginia University Research Foundation.  The Forensic & Investigative Science academic program and the Forensic Science Initiative work closely together with faculty within the academic program conducting research for the Initiative while employees of the Initiative teach classes for the academic program.

Re-printed from the Chesapeake Examiner Vol. 43 No. 1

Related items:

From the WVU Website:
Forensic Science Initiative

The Forensic Science Initiative is the research and resource effort at West Virginia University. The FSI provides research and resources to the nation's forensic science laboratories. The FSI at WVU currently has 15 faculty performing research in the forensic sciences and over 25 active projects. It is arguably the largest and broadest research effort to date in the forensic sciences.

The FSI involves nearly every academic unit at WVU, including 5 College or Divisions and over a dozen Departments.

Working closely with WVU's nationally-recognized Forensic and Investigative Sciences program, the FSI exposes students to cutting-edge research experiences and up-to-the-minute technologies to help fight crime.

WVU's FSI partners with the FBI, ATF, WV State Police Laboratory and other forensic agencies to improve the science behind modern crime investigations.

Selected Current Research

A method for estimating how long a blood stain has been at a crime scene--currently, this method can time a tiny blood speck out to 150 days.
Working with the FBI's CJIS in Clarksburg, WV, WVU researchers are developing software to automatically search dental x-rays to improve sorting in missing persons and mass disasters

Personal Digital Assistants with specialized evidence processing software to increase efficiency and reduce backlogs at West Virginia State Police Laboratory's DNA Unit
Using fractals to improve the algorithms that search databases for evidence, such as fingerprints and DNA
Digitally watermarking fingerprint files to include images, text, and other information that is secure and visible only to those with the proper clearance--without affecting the file's integrity

Current FSI Resources

A meeting of the Certification Committees for the International Association for Identification, which certifies 6 specialists, such as fingerprints and blood spatter analysis, to help standardize their process
Meetings for the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Board of Directors and Training Committee
Continuing development courses, like the Forensic Analysis of Textile Fibers, to dozens of forensic scientists from the U.S. and abroad
The Technical Working Group on Education and Training in Forensic Science (TWGED), which produced voluntary consensus guidelines for forensic educational programs. TWGED was the basis for the American Academy of Forensic Science

From the WVU website:
Forensic & Investigative Science

The Forensic and Investigative Science (FIS) major is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between academic disciplines relevant to forensic science. Officials at the nearby Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) facility located in Clarksburg, West Virginia, contacted West Virginia University (WVU) expressing an interest in the development of this program. This led to a Memorandum of Understanding between the FBI and WVU whereby the FBI agreed to provide support for the program.

Based upon curriculum recommendations published by the National Institute of Justice in their publication “Education and Training in Forensic Science: A Guide for Forensic Science Laboratories, Educational Institutions, and Students” the American Academy of Forensic Sciences initiated an accreditation process for forensic science programs. WVU’s program is now one of only nine nationally accredited undergraduate programs in the country (see American Academy of Forensic Sciences 2004 Accreditation Awards).


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

Have a GREAT week!