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Monday, September 18, 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

Fingerprints Link Man to Murder RICE LAKE CHRONOTYPE, WI - Sep 14, 2006 charged with rape and wanted in Florida for murder....

Prints on Bag 'irrelevant'  SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, AUSTRALIA - Sep 13, 2006 ...prosecutors say there was no need to fingerprint the bag in which marijuana was concealed...

Dead Woman's Print 'found in car' BBC NEWS, UK - Sep 12, 2006 ...a year later police find a print of a woman who fell from a moving car...

McKie Probe Reaches Final Stages BBC NEWS, UK - Sep 12, 2006 ...parliamentary inquiry arising from fingerprint case has reached a watershed with its final evidence-taking session...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist
US House of Rep may need urging to fully fund Coverddell Act
steve ostrowski Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:01 pm

Distortion Question
Charles Parker Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:53 am



A note from David Ashbaugh:

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

My friends and I were riding near The Dalles in Oregon at the time of the motorcycle accident. At this point we feel there was a mechanical problem with the front end of the bike. The bike went down in an instant as I was leaned into a corner. As soon as the bike went on its side I hit my head and was unconscious. This is good as remaining relaxed in a motorcycle crash prevents bones from breaking. It was a slow speed but sudden crash into a deep ditch. Witnesses say I did at least two end over end flips while still in the saddle, but I don't remember anything of the accident.

The original surgery went well and I recovered rapidly. I was taken to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center. My helmet, a full face top end model saved my head from being meloned on the rocks as there were large cuts down the side of the helmet from the impact, my pro-race leather jacket prevented shoulder, upper arm and collar bone damage by absorbing the impact in that area. However, I did have internal abdomen injuries and minor brain damage. Bottom line, my protective gear protected me enough that the surgeons could save my life.

Some one in hospital told me that when I arrived at the emergency room and they opened me up, there was some surprise at the amount of blood and some doubt as to if I would survive. After a pause, someone said that I was in good shape for a 60 year old; as if there was some hope that if they got this mess back together it might even work.

The hospital, surgeons, nurses and staff at The Dalles were first rate and help immensely with the initial recovery. Now that the post-operative meds are wearing off we have found that there was other muscle and nerve damage that was hidden under the original medication. So now I am dealing with another set of issues which require different medication and treatment.

At this point I don't know how this injury will affect me. During the first few days in hospital I expressed concern that I would not be able to present a couple of courses planned this month and how important preparing our science to meet Daubert standards was. I got his point when the surgeon patted my leg and put it all in perspective by saying, "Lets save your life first."

Warmest regards,



Last week

Kathy Saviers brought us information on the IAI Latent Print Certification process.

This week

Frank Fitzpatrick gives us a look at the FQS-I Police Science Accreditation Program.


Accreditation and Latent Prints
by Frank Fitzpatrick
Project Manager
FQS-I Police Science Accreditation Program

Two common measures of demonstrating quality in forensic sciences analysis have been certification and accreditation. IAI has been the leader in establishing certification of latent print examiners.

Accreditation, however, has largely been driven by the crime lab management community with consensus-developed standards. Almost all traditional crime labs in the United States are now accredited. Accreditation programs seem to be trending away from these consensus standards and towards international standards (ISO/IEC 17025). But the 300-400 crime labs are a small portion of total forensic service providers in the country. Identification Bureaus providing latent print and/or crime scene services could number in the thousands, but few are accredited.

With the attacks on the latent print community, it is just as important for the Identification Bureaus to be able to demonstrate, through accreditation, that there is external acceptance of their methods and their standards of performance of testing.  It is a tool that is used throughout the world wherever users need assurance about the acceptability of test results that the user relies upon.

To meet this need, Forensic Quality Services- International (FQS-I), an accrediting body since 1999, has developed a specific ISO accreditation program for the Police Sciences. Some of the details of FQS-I program are:

The programs are all based on ISO/IEC 17025* with Field Specific Criteria from the internationally accepted guidelines for forensic testing published in the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Guide 19 (

Areas such as latent prints and crime scene investigation have their own additional field specific criteria and guidance documents called Forensic Requirements for Accreditation. The Latent Print FRA, for instance, was developed with the help of latent print experts suggested by the IAI. The web site ( has these FRAs available for review.

Identification Bureaus can choose whether to apply for accreditation in all areas in which they do testing, or just a few, or even start with one so that they can introduce the benefit of accreditation in a step-wise manner to their agency.

Each accreditation is accompanied by a Scope of Accreditation that defines the tests and areas of evidence to which they are applied. This benefits agencies and users by making it clear what is covered by the accreditation.

All accreditation decisions are made after an on-site review (“assessment”) of the Identification Bureau and its policies, procedures and practices.

Costs for an on-site accreditation assessment are based upon the number of staff and the proposed scope of accreditation, and start at $5,000, inclusive of assessor travel costs. An on-site assessment is completed every two years to insure that the Identification Bureau maintains compliance with the standards. Contact information is on the web site.

Even if you never apply for accreditation, the information on the FQS-I web site can be a road map for increasing the quality of your operation.

*“ISO” is the international standards organization and “17025” is the series identification for its international standard on testing competency.  The standard consists of two parts - the first deals with quality management systems and the second deals with technical aspects.   The ISO/IEC 17025 Requirements document is copy-righted and available for a fee from many publishing houses; however, an ISO 17025 checklist is available at

FRA 4 Version 2006/1
Authorized by Manager of Accreditations 03/06/2006


These requirements supplement those of ISO/IEC 17025 and FQS-I’s FRA-1 in regard to assessment of latent print testing.

They were developed by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) consisting of four (4) subject matter experts nominated by the International Association for Identification (IAI) and three (3) representatives of FQS-I.

The TAC developed the requirements in the context of:

• The program is primarily directed to law enforcement agencies whose personnel conduct latent fingerprint development and/or comparisons either as their sole responsibility or as part of broader duties (such as crime scene investigation)

• “Fingerprint” is as defined in ILAC Guide 19

• The fingerprint officers are using ACE-V, which is the standard approach in the United States

• The recommended case record review procedures in the FRA-4 have been arrived at on the basis that examiners are implementing the verification phase of ACE-V correctly

1. Control of records

Practices vary regarding what is included in a case record. However, at a minimum, there must be sufficient information available such that in the absence of the analyst/examiner, another competent analyst/examiner could evaluate the history of the evidence while in the custody of the examining section or unit, and the examinations conducted.

Case records must contain either (1) a reproduction of the prints of a quality suitable for comparison or (2) the original evidence. If this is not possible, the record must contain sufficient information to guide the reviewer in retrieving the original evidence. In this way a suitably qualified examiner would be able to evaluate the original work and verify that the procedures and conclusions arrived at are reasonable. If the case record contains the original evidence then it must be stored in a secure environment to ensure that the evidence is not damaged or lost.

Note: In the case of chemical development processes where the original latent print may degrade and the comparison is made on the basis of photographs or other records of the developed image, the recorded images will be regarded as equivalent to the original.

There must be a procedure that describes how to deal with situations where the verifying examiner does not agree with the conclusions of the original examiner. The resolution of the discrepancy must be recorded in the case record. The annual Management Review must include all records that required a resolution to ensure that any appropriate preventative or corrective action is implemented.

At least 10% of all case records must be reviewed for technical correctness. The technical review is an evaluation of the case record to ensure that there is an appropriate and sufficient basis for the scientific conclusions. All individuals who perform technical reviews on case records must have been previously qualified in the areas that the review is encompassing. The agency must demonstrate that the technical reviewer has a basis of knowledge that will allow him/her to ensure that the conclusions and supporting data are reasonable and within the constraints of scientific acceptance. The agency must describe the method used for demonstrating completion of each review, for example, by
completion of a checklist.

2. Access control and evidence integrity

Much of the work in latent print examination can be conducted at the examiner’s desk. Some functions must be conducted in a laboratory environment. Any area where there is evidence being actively worked or where evidence is kept to permit ready access for examination is considered to be an operational area. Access to the area or to the evidence must be controlled such that evidence cannot be lost or compromised. This may be achieved by restricted access to the whole area – for example, the laboratory; or by providing secure local storage with restricted access - for example, locked filing cabinets at the examiner’s desk.

3. Critical reagents

A list of critical reagents must be maintained. The correct functioning of each reagent on the list must be confirmed with a control prior to its use on evidence. Critical reagents are those whose use can result in damage to evidence in normal use.

The correct sequence of application of reagents in development of latent prints is essential. There must be a procedure that specifies the correct application sequence.

4. Proficiency testing

Each examiner trained to competency must successfully complete annually at least one suitable proficiency test.

A suitable proficiency test is one that meets the requirements of ISO Guide 43 or is approved by FQS-I.

Assessors shall evaluate the adequacy of the proficiency test performance of a laboratory in the light of its overall quality assurance procedures and performance. These shall include internal procedures for competency monitoring and the effectiveness of
corrective action policies and procedures.

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

Have a GREAT week!